Herpes Zoster disease returns to Idlib; elderly threatened and health care is absent

A woman visits a health center in Idlib (Enab Baladi/Huda al-Kulaib)

A woman visits a health center in Idlib (Enab Baladi/Huda al-Kulaib)


Idlib – Huda al-Kulaib

Despite the fact that more than a month had passed since she contracted Herpes Zoster disease, the seventy-year-old Sobhia al-Awad was unable to sleep through the night due to the pain.

Al-Awad told Enab Baladi that she doesn’t know how she contracted the disease nor the causes that led to it, but she knows very well that it is one of the most “deadly and painful” diseases, in reference to the severe pain she suffers as a result of contracting it.

Where human gatherings are devoid of the basic necessities of life and medical care, elderly women in Idlib face the pain of Shingles, which has spread remarkably among them in a number of remote cities, villages, and IDP camps.

Poor services increase the severity of symptoms

Al-Awad said that her weak immunity, emaciation of her body, and her suffering from chronic diseases such as blood pressure and diabetes prevented her quick recovery or response to medications.

The symptoms of Herpes Zoster began to appear on the old lady in the form of fever and general fatigue in the body, in addition to pain and burning in the side of her right shoulder and the appearance of small spots on the skin, followed by the appearance of a rash, chills, stomach upset and headache.

While severe itching as a result of the appearance of fluid-filled blisters is one of the most prominent symptoms that affected al-Awad.

The color of the pustules turns from red to yellow, becomes flat, and then begins to turn into crusts with its drying that takes two weeks, accompanied by endless pain when these symptoms end.

The woman said that her camp in the Kafr Yahmoul area is devoid of any medical services or health care, forcing the camp residents to go to distant hospitals and health centers to get treatment after incurring the trouble of travel and double expenses.

Khadija al-Fahd, 60, was able to access medical care, which relieved her of the pain of the Herpes Zoster she suffered at the beginning of last August after she went to the medical center near her place of residence in the Hazanou camp, north of Idlib.

Al-Fahd told Enab Baladi that the medicines she obtained from the medical center greatly contributed to relieving the pain of the disease that prevented her from practicing her normal life due to her constantly high temperature, burning, and severe itching, in conjunction with the high temperatures that complicated the symptoms of the disease.

Weak immunity

The Idlib-based dermatologist Ahmed Daadoush told Enab Baladi that Herpes Zoster is the “region disease,” a viral disease that people contract when their immunity is weak, for a reason related to the same varicella-zoster virus.

He pointed out that the Herpes Zoster disease is not fatal, but it is very painful, and its symptoms appear on a small part of one side of the body,

These symptoms include pain, burning, numbness, and tingling in some cases, severe sensitivity to touch, as well as fever, headache, and tiredness.

The doctor stresses to Enab Baladi the danger of rashes and pain near the eye area, as not acting quickly to follow the necessary treatment.

In this case, the disease may cause permanent damage to the eye, and if the patient is over the age of 70 years, advancing age means increasing the chances and possibilities of unexpected and dangerous complications.


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