Zona (Zona Zoster) is a viral skin disease also known as shingles and is characterized by painful, water-filled blisters that often develop at an advanced age. The virus that causes zona is actually the varicella virus. Once the patient recovers from varicella infection, the virus remains hidden in the nerve roots throughout the spinal cord for many years and often causes a new infection after the age of 50 with the weakening of the immune system. However, zona can also be seen at a much earlier age.
The first finding is usually in the form of unilateral erythema at a specific area. Burning, stinging and pain are the accompanying symptoms. Water-filled blisters develop over the erythema over time and develop into a rash with encrustation. The duration is approximately 2-3 weeks. It can very rarely progress with burning, stinging and pain without a rash. It is quite difficult to make the diagnosis in zona cases without a rash.
Zona often occurs in stressful periods, in the elderly, and in patients suffering from diseases or using medication weakening the immune system. The disease can be transmitted to subjects who have not experienced varicella previously after close contact with varicella patients.
Topical and systemic antiviral drugs are used in the treatment. Starting these drugs within the first 3 days increases the effectiveness of the treatment and shortens the duration of the disease. A severe pain called postherpetic neuralgia that can continue for 6 months to a year can be seen after zona, especially in subjects over the age of 60. Various neurological drugs and antidepressants are recommended in these cases.