Shingles and Pregnant Women

Understanding Shingles and its Effect on Pregnant Women

Shingles is a painful skin disorder that may have very harsh effects on the pregnant women, though it is not contagious but still it may lead to certain complications and health problems in the pregnant women. Understanding shingles and its effect on pregnant women can thus prevent the disease from assuming serious proportions.

Shingles is a painful skin disorder which is caused by the same virus which causes chicken pox also- varicella zoster is responsible for both the skin problems. This can cause serious problems if it occurs to the pregnant women. This virus does not go away easily, rather it stays for the rest of the life and can trigger anytime. Shingles basically affect the older people especially those who suffer from a weak immune system. Shingles however is not contagious like chickenpox. People who have had chicken pox earlier too can get shingles. Shingles appear as painful rashes of tiny blisters on the legs, arms or any other part of the body.

Many pregnant women are afraid of developing shingles during the pregnancy and passing it on to the unborn child since some infections can pass to the foetus. Whether shingles can affect the child or not depends upon the stage of your pregnancy. If you get the disease before you are 30 weeks pregnant then your baby may be born with a defect. He may develop congenital defects syndrome, but this may occur in rarest of the rare case. The mother should be treated for shingles so that she doesn’t suffer from any other health problem. Since if it is not treated there is a fear of developing a very dangerous disease called varicella pneumonitis which may be life threatening not just for the mother but child as well. If shingles appears on the face it may even affect the eyes and ears and lead to a permanent loss of vision and sight.

Symptoms of Shingles

Symptoms of shingles in pregnant women are the same as it would affect other people. The pregnant women will also develop painful blisters on the skin, there may be a burning sensation and pain on the affected parts of the body. You may also have fever, chills, nausea, difficulty in urine and diarrhoea. Shingles during pregnancy can be dangerous since the immune system becomes weak so there is a fear of getting inflicted with other diseases.

Treatment of Shingles

Pregnant women who may develop shingles are treated with various anti viral drugs like valacyclovir, famiciclovir, and acyclovir. These medicines are category B medicines which imply that they can are safe to be taken in by the pregnant women. There are a few plain medicines as well which can be used for treating shingles. Your doctor will decide which medicine will work for you depending upon the month of your pregnancy.

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