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Best Way To Treat Shingles Rash

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How to treat shingles
  • see your doctor as soon as possible if you think you have shingles
  • early treatment with antiviral tablets can reduce symptoms and complications, which is especially important if the rash is on your face, neck or scalp. The complications from shingles here can be more serious, including damage to your sight
  • see your doctor again if the pain does not go away after initial treatment, particularly if it is interfering with your sleep or making you feel depressed
  • see your doctor if the rash is not healing, especially if there is swelling or pus sometimes the rash can become infected with bacteria

Over The Counter Treatment For Shingles

Over the counter treatment for shingles involves the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.

Over the counter treatment for shingles involves the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.

Shingles is a skin problem that is typically caused by the infection of herpes zoster virus. People who have had a history of chickenpox are the ones who actually develop this infection. This is because the reason behind the onset of chickenpox and shingles is no different. The virus that triggers chickenpox symptoms is the one that strikes again to cause shingles, and is typically marked by the development of an itchy rash, usually in the chest and the upper back area. The blisters forming a band like pattern is the characteristic feature of a shingles rash. The affected area typically causes radiating pain that generally lasts till the duration of the viral infection. The infection generally goes within a months time, but how does one make the pain more manageable during this time is often a cause for concern for all shingles patients. The answer to this question is discussed below:

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Best Treatments For Lasting Shingles Pain

Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain: What Works, What Doesn’t

Doctors call it postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. It’s caused by nerve damage left behind by a case of shingles. Shingles itself comes from reactivation of a chickenpox virus, varicella zoster. The virus travels down nerve fibers to cause a painful skin rash.

When the rash goes away, the pain usually goes with it. But for 12% to 15% of people the pain remains. If your shingles pain lasts eight to 12 weeks after the rash goes away, you’re part of an “unfortunate minority,” says pain researcher Andrew S.C. Rice, MD, of Imperial College, London.

“Among people with PHN, some have their pain resolve in the first year to 18 months after the shingles rash goes away,” Rice tells WebMD. “But if they have pain longer than that, it is not going to go away on its own. In either case, a person must deal with the pain.”

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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Shingles

A dermatologist can often diagnose shingles by looking at the rash on your skin.

If there is any question about whether you have shingles, your dermatologist will scrape a bit of fluid from a blister. This will be sent to a lab where a doctor will look at the fluid under a high-powered microscope.

When you have shingles, the fluid contains the virus that causes shingles. Seeing the virus confirms that you have shingles.

Your dermatologist will also ask about your symptoms. Shingles tends to be painful.

When the shingles rash spreads to an eye, it can affect your eyesight

You can reduce this risk by seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.

Key Points About Shingles

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  • Shingles is a common viral infection of the nerves. It causes a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin.
  • Shingles is caused when the chickenpox virus is reactivated.
  • It is more common in people with weakened immune systems, and in people over the age of 50.
  • Shingles starts with skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, and/or pain followed by rash that looks like small, red spots that turn into blisters.
  • The rash is typically affects just one area on one side of the body or face.
  • Treatment that is started as soon as possible helps reduce the severity of the disease.

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How Is Nerve Pain Diagnosed

The main way your doctor will diagnose nerve pain is by listening to you and examining you.

In the examination, they will probably test your nerves by testing the strength of your muscles, checking your reflexes, and by seeing how sensitive it is to touch.

You may be asked to have tests like:

  • blood tests to check your general health and look for underlying conditions
  • nerve conduction studies which measure how quickly your nerves carry electrical signals
  • a CT scan or an MRI scan to look for anything that could be pressing on a nerve

When Should I See My Doctor

See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.

See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:

  • symptoms that affect your eye area
  • a temperature of 38°C or higher

You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

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Are There Shingles Home Remedies

People who have shingles symptoms and signs should see their doctor as soon as possible, because antiviral medication is effective only if given early. Individuals with facial, nose, or eye symptoms and signs should seek medical care immediately.

  • Do not scratch the skin where the rash is located. This may increase the risk of secondary bacterial infection and scarring. Over-the-counter antihistamines and topical creams can relieve the itching.
  • After diagnosis and appropriate treatment, apply cool tap-water compresses to weeping blisters for 20 minutes several times a day to soothe and help dry the blisters. This also aids in removing the scabs and decreases the potential for bacterial infection. Tap-water compresses must be stopped once the blisters have dried, so the surrounding skin does not become too dry and itchy. Remember that weeping blisters contain the virus and are contagious to individuals who are susceptible to the chickenpox virus.
  • Keep the area clean with mild soap and water. Application of petroleum jelly can aid in healing. Wear loose clothing to avoid extra pain from clothing rubbing against the rash. Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with others who have not had chickenpox, are ill, or who have a weakened immune system.

If I Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Im 100% Protected From Getting Shingles

Mayo Clinic Minute: Don’t suffer with shingles

No, just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles. Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, the painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Postherpetic Neuralgia

Common postherpetic neuralgia symptoms include:

  • Burning, sharp, jagging or aching pain in the area where the shingles rash appeared.
  • Itchiness or numbness at or near the area of the former rash.
  • Pain that is constant or comes and goes. Pain typically lasts, on average, for three months after the rash has healed, but can last for more than a year or longer.
  • Pain at affected skin area can be brought on even with a light touch .
  • Pain gets worse at night or in heat or cold temperatures.

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When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.

You should get the shingles vaccine if you:

  • Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
  • Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
  • Dont remember having had chickenpox

Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.

You should not get vaccinated if you:

  • Currently have shingles
  • Are sick or have a fever
  • Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine

If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine.

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Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.

Shingrix is given as a two-dose shot in your upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.

Avoid Scratching The Blisters

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It might be tempting to scratch or pick at the blisters, especially if theyre causing you discomfort. Know that theyll eventually crust over and fall off if you leave them alone.

Scratching at blisters or scabs can lead to infection and scarring. Cleaning and covering them regularly with a new sterile bandage can help reduce the likelihood that youll pick at the rash.

Keeping the rash clean is one part of the process. The other is to make sure you bandage it properly, especially if the rash is still weeping .

When dealing with a painful shingles rash, your best bet is to use bandages that are:

When youre switching the dressing, allow the skin to dry before covering it with a new bandage.

In addition to keeping the rash protected, bandaging also prevents you from passing the varicella-zoster virus to another person. Be sure to keep bandages on any areas of the rash that havent scabbed over yet.

While shingles isnt contagious, the virus that causes it can be passed to anyone who hasnt had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. If they come into skin-to-skin contact with the fluid that oozes from a shingles blister, they could end up with chickenpox, according to

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Whats The Difference Between Cream Lotion And Ointment

Ointments, lotions, and creams are three types of substances you can apply to your skin to help manage shingles.

These topicals are similar, but there are slight differences in their makeup. The primary difference is the amount of water and oil they contain.

According to this 2016 primer, creams are made up of about equal parts oil and water and often have moisturizing properties. Theyre thicker than lotions but thinner than ointments.

Lotions are similar to creams, but they are made up mostly of water. They have less oil and have a thinner consistency. Because theyre thinner, your skin absorbs them more quickly. Some lotions are oil-free.

Ointments are the thickest of the three. They are made to stay on top of your skin instead of being absorbed immediately. Ointments are made up of at least 80 percent oil.

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How To Get Rid Of Shingles Fast And Naturally

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This disease is very common. According to the Center for Disease Control, millions of people in the United States are reported to have it every year. And 30% of people will suffer from shingles in their lifetime. The vast majority of them are older people over the age of 60.

This virus is hard to remove, which can remain in your nervous tissue for a long time, even after successfully treating chickenpox. Usually, shingles occur when the virus becomes triggered again. In addition, the varicella-zoster virus can also result in chickenpox and cold sores.

Foods To Avoid For Faster Healing

What Are the Causes and Best Treatments for Shingles?

Sugar Decreases white blood cells that help fight off infection.Fruit juices Although orange juice contains some vitamin C, it is not as high in vitamin C as whole fruits or vegetables.Caffeine Depletes the body of hydration, so avoid it.Carbonated beverages These beverages promote a more acidic system, so try to limit them during the acute illness.Fried foods Promotes an acidic environment, so best to avoid these foods.

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Do You Need To Stay Away From Children People Who Are Pregnant Have Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After You Get The Zostavax Vaccine

According to the CDC, its safe to be around babies and young children, pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system after you get the Zostavax vaccine. Even though the Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened live varicella-zoster virus, the CDC says theres no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine. And remember: You cant get shingles unless youve already had chickenpox.

Can Shingles Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination. Vaccinate your children for chickenpox. This vaccine reduces their risk for getting chickenpox. You cant get shingles unless youve had chickenpox first.

When you are older, get the shingles vaccine. It is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older. It can prevent shingles. People who have had shingles should get the vaccine to help stop the disease from reoccurring. Common side effects of the vaccine are headache, plus redness, swelling, itching, and soreness at the injection site.

The shingles vaccine is not recommended for anyone who:

  • Has had an allergic reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
  • Has an allergy to any component of the shingles vaccine
  • Has a weakened immune system due to conditions such as leukemia, HIV, or AIDS
  • Is receiving treatment for cancer
  • Is being treated with drugs that suppress their immune system, including high-dose steroids
  • Is pregnant or might become pregnant within 4 weeks of getting the vaccine

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Consider Using Creams Lotions Or Patches

Shingles can be very painful. If you need help managing pain, your doctor might prescribe a topical pain-relieving cream or patch. These contain lidocaine or other nerve block medication for the skin.

A medicated anti-itch cream that includes an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine , might also help you find some relief.

After the rash has scabbed over, you can try using creams or lotions to soothe any remaining symptoms. Look for products that contain:

  • colloidal oatmeal

Your doctor may also recommend an oral over-the-counter pain reliever such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or acetaminophen . Always follow the dosage instructions on the label or take according to your doctors instructions.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles

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An antiviral medication can:

  • Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash

  • Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems

One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.

To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:

Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:

If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.

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Home Remedies For Shingles

Anyone who had chickenpox as a kid remembers the red, painfully itchy blister-like rash, and perhaps the fever and fatigue that came along with it. But even though its true youre now inoculated against chickenpox for life, theres one pox-related complication you may not have considered: Shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus , and causes a painful, itchy rash in one place on the body. Shingles is most common in adults over 50 years of age in fact, about half of people over age 80 may experience it.

Shingles often begins as pain and itching in the skin before a red rash appears one to two days later, with small, water-filled blisters. These blisters soon rupture and scar over, healing and fading over the course of a few weeks. This process can be extremely uncomfortable and painful, making even the littlest actions difficult. There is a vaccine available to prevent shingles, and it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for healthy adults over age 50. For those who are over age 65 and eligible for Medicare, your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan may cover this vaccine. Luckily, there are also home remedies for shingles that can make you feel better while you heal. Watch this video to learn how to soothe pain and discomfort at home.

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