Preventing and Treating Herpes Zoster (Raw Snake): High-Risk Factors and Effective Solutions

2023-08-10 09:40:35

Many people will change their colors when they hear the “raw snake”, and there are even people who say that “raw snake” will die if surrounded by it. Dr. Au Chi-sum, a specialist in dermatology, shared his case with Sky Post. He pointed out that a 70-year-old man had developed small red blisters on one side of his forehead and upper scalp, upper eyelid, bridge of nose, and tip of his nose. He also sought medical attention. Later, he was diagnosed with herpes zoster, commonly known as “raw snake”. Fortunately, his condition improved after taking the medicine. In this regard, Dr. Au reminded the public that there are 4 types of people who are at high risk of “raw snakes”. They should take proper rest, take adequate nutrition and do more exercise in order to improve their immunity.

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Au Chi-sum, a specialist in dermatology, pointed out that the 70-year-old man developed a red rash and itching on his forehead and scalp. At first he thought it was eczema. He bought ointments but did not improve, so he consulted the doctor 3 days later. Dr. Au recalled that at that time, the old man had rashes and small blisters on his forehead, upper scalp, and eyelids, as well as red eyeballs. He was diagnosed as a “raw snake”. He prescribed antiviral drugs and referred him to an ophthalmologist for follow-up. Fortunately, the old man took medication in time, and his condition was alleviated without further deterioration.

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‘Raw snake’ caused by reactivation of chickenpox virus

Doctor Au pointed out that the correct scientific name of “raw snake” is herpes zoster, which is caused by the activation of the chickenpox virus hidden in the body. Chickenpox mostly occurs in young people. After the chickenpox is cured, the virus will remain dormant in the nerve cells for many years. Once the person is old or the immune system is weakened, the virus may become active again and cause raw snakes.

“Raw snake” usually recovers in 2 to 4 weeks

Once the “snake” occurs, multiple red papules and small blisters will appear in the affected area, which usually appear on the trunk, such as the back, chest, waist and abdomen, and are distributed in a band shape. The affected area will be painful and itchy, and the small blisters will dry up and scab after 7 to 10 days, and the skin surface will usually recover after 2 to 4 weeks.

According to Dr. Au, 10 to 20 percent of patients will suffer from postherpetic neuralgia, which can last for months to years. Some people will experience pain such as needle pricks or burning, causing great distress. Dr. Au pointed out that there had been severe cases that had to be referred to the pain department and treated with morphine painkillers. As the age increases, the chance of patients with persistent neuralgia increases.

High-risk risk factors for raw snakes

According to Dr. Au, the following factors will increase the risk of “snake birth”, including being over 50 years old and having low immunity:

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Surrounded by a living snake, will it die?

As for the rumors that “a raw snake will die if surrounded by a circle”, Dr. Ou said that there is no basis for it. Generally, a “raw snake” is only limited to one side of the body, or occasionally two connected nerve areas; but in special cases, immune Patients with insufficient or suppressed abilities, such as AIDS, blood cancer, recipients of organ transplants, long-term steroids, etc., raw snakes can appear in many different parts of the body at the same time,

“Actually, “surrounding a circle with live snakes will kill you” is a fallacy. It is not because of both sides of the snake and it is fatal. There is a chance that the patient’s immunity is very low, and complications occur at the same time and lead to death.”

“Raw snakes in the eyes” will not only cause inflammation on the surface of the eyeball, but also cause scarring after the inflammation subsides, and even increase the possibility of glaucoma, cataract, and retinal detachment, seriously affecting vision, so it must not be ignored.

Taking medicine within 72 hours after onset can effectively reduce symptoms

Doctor Au suggested that patients take antiviral drugs within 72 hours after the onset of the disease, which can effectively relieve symptoms and shorten the course of the disease, and also reduce neuralgia after raw snakes. If the patient seeks medical attention for more than 72 hours, but the symptoms continue to increase and become more pronounced, depending on individual circumstances, the doctor may still prescribe antiviral drugs, but the effectiveness will decrease over time.

Since “Raw Snake” is a filter virus, people who have never had chickenpox and who come into contact with “Raw Snake” may be infected and cause chickenpox. Therefore, Dr. Au pointed out that the most effective way to prevent “raw snake” is to get shingles vaccine. On the other hand, high-risk individuals should take proper rest, take adequate nutrition and do more exercise to enhance their immunity.

Vaccination is effective in preventing “raw snake”

Kong Fanyi, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and clinical professor of the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, once pointed out that studies have shown that more than 90% of patients with potential immune diseases, after receiving a new generation of recombinant herpes zoster vaccine, the protection rate reached 90.5% within a follow-up period of about 4 years. He said that common side effects such as fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever may occur after vaccination, and generally subside within 2 to 3 days.

At present, many European and American countries have incorporated the herpes zoster vaccine into government funding. Kong suggested that the relevant authorities refer to it and implement the vaccination program in stages. The first stage can be started by people aged 65 or above and those with weak immunity over the age of 18. In addition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, quitting smoking and drinking, can prevent snakes.

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Written by: Pan Jiaqing

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