Is It Shingles or a Bug Bite?

Is It Shingles or a Bug Bite? | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

Is It Shingles or a Bug Bite?

It’s the season of bug bites, which makes it even tougher than usual to tell if those itchy bumps are a minor annoyance or something much more serious. Spectrum Dermatology often sees clients who can’t figure out why their bug bites don’t get better when in actuality it’s shingles. Recently, a first-person account in the Washington Post by Christine Lehmann helped to spread some light on shingles, especially in the summer months when bites and rashes seem par for the course.

Lehmann recalls spraying what she thought was a bug bite with calamine, only to feel like she was being attacked by a throng of invisible insects a few hours later. It didn’t take long for medical professionals to diagnose her. If you’ve had chickenpox before, the shingles virus is already dormant inside of you.

Shingles Can Stay Dormant Forever

For some people, the shingles virus can stay dormant forever. For others, it can appear at any time as a painful nerve infection that can mimic a bug attack. Shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The condition is kind of like chickenpox reactivated.

You may have heard about the newly FDA-approved shingles vaccine. It’s been called more effective than the older Zostavax. It can be the right choice for some patients, but most people don’t opt for vaccination. Nobody is sure what exactly causes shingles to appear, but it has been linked to stress. Stress management can be part of your shingles prevention plan, but if you’ve had chickenpox and you’re worried about shingles, you also may want to talk about vaccinations with your doctor.

If Shingles Prevention Is Too Late

If prevention is too late, it’s important to treat shingles quickly. Oral antiviral medications are often prescribed, as well as pain medication. Not itching is critical since the blisters can easily scab and scar. If you do scratch and have lingering signs of shingles, don’t worry. There are many esthetic treatments for shingle scars, such as microneedling, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation.

Visit Spectrum Dermatology To Ease Your Discomfort Today

As summer comes to a close, remember we’re not quite out of the woods yet (some of us literally). Bug bites are common this time of year, but shingles can happen any time of the year. If you have any type of rash or bump, call Spectrum Dermatology right away at 480-948-8400 for fast relief.