Glossary of terms


Allodynia (al-ə-‘din-ē-ə/)
A condition that can be caused by the Shingles rash in which anything that touches the skin, like clothing or even a slight breeze, can cause pain. back to top
Antihistamines (an-ti-his-tuh-meen-s)
A chemical compound used in medicines to treat allergic reactions like hay fever and cold symptoms. back to top
Anti-inflammatory (an-tee-in-flam-uh-tawr-ee)
A term that describes a medication used to treat inflammation (pain and swelling). back to top
Antiviral (pills) (an-ti-vahy-ruh l)
A group of drugs used to combat viral infections. back to top
Blister (blis-ter)
A fluid-filled bubble that appears on the skin. back to top
Calamine lotion (kal-uh-mahyn loh-shuh n)
A lotion containing zinc that can help relieve itching and discomfort. back to top
Chickenpox (chik-uh n-poks)
A contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus that usually occurs in children. back to top
Chronic Condition(kron-ik kuh n-dish-uh n)
A persistent medical condition that won't go away. back to top
Dermatome (dur-muh-tohm)
The area where one of the nerves from the spinal cord connects with the skin. back to top
Dormant (dawr-muh nt)
Inactive or hidden. back to top
Encephalitis (en-sef-uh-lahy-tis)
Inflammation of the brain tissue. back to top
Fever (fee-ver)
Any body temperature above the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. back to top
Headache (hed-eyk)
Sharp, throbbing, or dull pain that occurs anywhere in the head. back to top
Herpes Zoster (hur-peez zos-ter)
Another name for Shingles — a painful, blistering rash. Herpes Zoster is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. back to top
Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (hur-peez zos-ter op-thal-mi-kus)
Shingles that occurs at or near the eye. In rare cases, this type of Shingles can cause impaired vision. Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus is also called Ophthalmic Shingles. back to top
Immune system (ih-myoon sis-tuh m)
A network of cells, tissues, and organs that protect you from bacteria, parasites, and other potentially harmful organisms that can invade your body and cause illness. It's your body's natural defense system. back to top
Meningitis (men-in-jahy-tis)
Inflammation of the tissues or the fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord. back to top
Nervous System (nur-vuh s sis-tuh m)
The organ system that coordinates actions and transmits signals between different parts of the body. back to top
Ophthalmic Shingles (op-thal-mik shing-guh lz)
Shingles that occurs at or near the eye. In rare cases, this type of Shingles can cause impaired vision. Ophthalmic Shingles is also called Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus. back to top
Physical trauma (fiz-i-kuh l traw-muh)
An injury to the body, or part of the body, caused by an outside force. back to top
Pneumonia (noo-mohn-yuh)
An inflammation of the lungs often caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Symptoms include coughing, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. back to top
Postherpetic itch (post-her-pet-ik ich)
A severe and painful itch that can accompany postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). back to top
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) (post-her-pet-ik noo-ral-je-a)
A complication of Shingles, caused by damage to the nervous system, in which the person experiences long-term nerve pain persisting or appearing more than 90 days after the onset of the Shingles rash. back to top
Ramsay Hunt syndrome (ram-zee huhnt sin-drohm)
Also called Herpes Zoster Oticus or Ramsay Hunt Syndrome type II, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a very rare complication of Shingles in which the virus spreads to nerves of the face. People may also experience hearing loss, or a ringing in the ears, abnormal sensation of movement, or loss of the sense of taste. Dry mouth and eyes can also occur. back to top
Rash (rash)
A temporary eruption on the skin. back to top
Shingles (shing-guh lz)
A painful, blistering rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus. back to top
Skin pigment (skin pig-muh nt)
Also called skin color. Skin cells create pigment by making a substance called melanin. A pigmentation disorder affects the color of the skin. back to top
Starch bath (stahrch bahth)
A tub filled with water and starch that may provide some temporary relief from itching and discomfort. back to top
Topical local anesthetics (top-i-kuh l loh-kuh l an-uh s-thet-ik-s)
Medicines applied to the skin in lotion, ointment, or other forms, that are used to relieve pain and itching from Shingles. Some people with long-term nerve pain also may find some relief from topical local anesthetics. back to top
Varicella (var-uh-sel-uh)
This term refers to the varicella-zoster virus—a virus that causes both chickenpox and Shingles. back to top
Virus (vahy-ruh s)
An organism that causes diseases in the body. back to top