Herpes zoster

Herpes Zoster (shingles)

In this article we will find out in detail what is the Sant'Antonio Fire, or Herpes Zoster, what are the symptoms and the cure, but first of all we are going to discover the origins of the name of this disease.

Once the Herpes Zoster was called "Satan's flames" precisely because of the fiery redness and the acute pains it caused.

Over the years, the most widespread name with which this disease is recognized has become "fire of saint Anthony", because according to legend, Sant'Antonio Abate used fire to free a city from invaders, but above all because it was the Saint who was implored by those affected by the disease.  

Now that we've discovered why Herpes Zoster is more commonly called Saint Anthony's Fire, let's find out what it is.

Herpes Zoster: what is it?

Herpes Zoster is a skin disease that corresponds to a nerve infection and affects mainly adults and the elderly.

But where does this disease come from? Almost all of us as children we had chickenpox and the cause of St. Anthony's fire derives from the same virus that is beaten by our immune system, but it is not completely defeated and remains inside our body until it reappears taking advantage of a time when the immune defenses are weak.

In this case the virus could recur in the form of Herpes Zoster.

The Fire of St. Anthony though does not appear in all subjects who have had chickenpox, but there are risk factors that can lead to the reactivation of the virus, we discover which:

  • Old age
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Extensive use of some drugs
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Lowering of immune defenses
  • Stress

Herpes Zoster manifests itself with the appearance of pain, redness and tingling on certain parts of the body, followed after about 2 or 3 days by the appearance of spots on the affected area.

As the days pass, around the fifth, pus bubbles and crusts appear.

This is the phase in which one is contagious, which ends when the scabs dry out.

In summary, St. Anthony's fire manifests itself in two phases:

  • Product phase: body pain, redness, and symptoms like fever or general malaise
  • Venting of the disease: when red spots appear on the skin that evolve in a few days in blisters or blisters

Bubble and scab healing occurs between 10 and 30 days and can occur multiple times.

In the next paragraph we will find out in detail what i are symptoms most common and not to be underestimated of the Sant'Antonio Fire.

Herpes Zoster symptoms

The symptoms of Herpes Zoster are mainly the appearance of red spots and skin rashes, which over the days turn into water bubbles, blisters and crusts.

To accompany the red spots that appear in the first phase of the disease there is an annoying itching caused by burning and redness.

These are not the only symptoms that can appear, in fact, Herpes Zoster, can cause fever, malaise and pain in the abdomen in some people, in some cases even headaches and stomach.

In the worst cases the symptoms ofHerpes zoster can also occur in the face, but in these cases the first thing to do is to seek medical attention.

If you think you have experienced the same symptoms mentioned above, the advice is to immediately ask your doctor for advice to understand if it is the Fire of St. Anthony.

But how is St. Anthony's Fire treated? Let's find out in the next paragraph.

Herpes Zoster therapy and care

There is no real cure for Herpes Zoster, but antiviral drugs can help a lot to combat it, above all they succeed in making the attack shorter and less severe. In addition, antiviral drugs reduce the risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia. Obviously, the faster the intervention, the greater the effectiveness of the treatment.

To make the disease less painful, medications can be associated to relieve the pain it causes.  

The therapy serves primarily to relieve and reduce pain and annoying itching and burning, while the total regression of the disease occurs between the 2 and the 4 week.

Obviously, at the appearance of the first symptoms, the number one advice is to consult a doctor to start therapy as soon as possible.

Among the most widespread therapies for the treatment of Herpes Zoster we find that of skin protection with sterile gauze. The therapy involves the application of ointments and lotions in the parts of the body covered by blisters, moreover in the treatment is also foreseen the use of antihistamines and antivirals. In more severe cases, the use of antibiotics is also recommended.

The use of antiviral drugs, if they are taken in the right terms shortly after the appearance of St. Anthony's fire, accelerates healing and helps to avoid complications such as post-herpetic neuralgia. If the pains are intense and unbearable, additional medications such as aspirin are prescribed to soothe the body.


In this article we discovered what is Herpes Zoster, what are the causes, the symptoms and the cure. If you believe you have the symptoms mentioned in the article, the number one advice is to consult your doctor.

I thank you for reading this informative guide and I hope it was useful to you! In this case, I invite you to share this article, to help those looking for information about the disease!

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