Thursday, May 23, 2024

How Can Shingles Be Treated

Where Does Shingles Come From

How to treat shingles

When you have chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in your body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again. This time, the varicella-zoster virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles.

Check If You Have Shingles

The first signs of shingles can be:

  • a tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
  • a headache or feeling generally unwell

A rash will appear a few days later.

Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.

The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.

Can You Get Shingles From The Covid

There have been a few reports of shingles happening in people who were vaccinated against COVID-19. The varicella-zoster virus was reactivated in these people.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If youve had chickenpox, youre at risk of developing shingles later in life. Shingles causes a rash that is contagious and painful. The disease can have serious complications. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk is to get the shingles vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective.

Also Check: What Are The Beginning Signs Of Shingles

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Ive had chickenpox. Am I at risk of developing shingles?
  • What is the best treatment for my shingles?
  • The pain from shingles isnt going away. What can I do to make myself more comfortable?
  • Im on treatment for shingles. When should I call my doctor if things dont get better?
  • I have shingles and my children havent had the chickenpox vaccine. Should I get them vaccinated?
  • Is the shingles vaccine right for me?
  • Are there any risks associated with the shingles vaccine?
  • Will my post-herpetic neuralgia ever go away?
  • If Ive never had the chickenpox, should I still get the shingles vaccination?

How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

3 Ways to Treat Throat Shingles

Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.

If your pain doesnt lessen, you might try therapies like nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine. Your provider might suggest an implantable nerve stimulator device for severe, ongoing pain that hasnt responded to other treatments.

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Shingles On The Face: Symptoms Treatments And More

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Shingles on the face

Shingles, or zoster, is a common infection that occurs due to a herpes virus.

Shingles is a rash that usually appears on one side of the chest and back. It can also develop on one side of the face and around the eye.

The condition can be very painful and can sometimes have long-term side effects. No cure for shingles is available, but early treatment can lower your risk of serious complications.

second most common rash site is the face. It can spread from the ear to the nose and forehead. It can also spread around one eye, which can cause redness and swelling of the eye and surrounding area. The shingles rash occasionally develops in the mouth.

Many people feel a tingling or burning sensation days before the first red bumps appear.

The rash starts out as blisters filled with fluid, or lesions. Some people have a few clusters of blisters scattered about, and others have so many that it looks like a burn. The blisters eventually break, ooze, and crust over. After a few days, the scabs start to fall off.

Other symptoms of shingles are:

How Can You Prevent Spreading The Virus

You cant give shingles to someone else, but the varicella-zoster virus is very contagious. If you have shingles and you expose someone else who has not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, you can give them the virus. Theyll get chickenpox, not shingles, but this puts them at risk for shingles later on.

Youre contagious when your blisters are oozing, or after they break and before they crust over. Do the following to avoid spreading the virus to others:

  • Keep your rash covered, especially when the blisters are active.
  • Try not to touch, rub, or scratch your rash.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Avoid contact with people whove never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, especially:

Read Also: Should I Go To The Doctor For Shingles

Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox

Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who didnt.

Home Remedies And Lifestyle

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

In addition to triggering an uncomfortable rash, shingles can cause symptoms that are similar to those of other viral infections.

While prescription and over-the-counter drugs can help, one of the most important things you can do while dealing with the illness is to take good care of yourself. If you’re caring for someone else who has shingles, “creature comforts” can be enormously soothing.

Verywell / Laura Porter

Integrate these basic tactics into even the busiest daily routine:

Read Also: Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Not Covered By Medicare

Can Shingles Be Prevented

There are 2 vaccines available to reduce the likelihood of developing shingles, Zostavax and Shingrix. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60 and is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79.

Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. The vaccine used to protect against shingles is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.

Treat Your Body And Mind

You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.

5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:

  • Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
  • Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
  • Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.

6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:

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Mayo Clinic Minute: Learn More About Eye Shingles

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox, the virus can lie dormant in your body’s nerve tissue for years when suddenly it’s triggered by stress or a weakened immune system, and manifests as shingles. A shingles vaccine called Shingrix is recommended for anyone over 50. It helps prevent the disease and reduces the severity of symptoms.

Ophthalmic shingles is one particular version of the disease that can have some serious side effects that ultimately can cause permanent damage to your vision.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.

You’re probably familiar with shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash usually on the body’s torso. But did you know that shingles also can affect the eye?

“Shingles around the eye typically involves the skin of the forehead and the skin of the upper lid. It can also involve the side of the nose or the tip of the nose,” says Dr. Keith Baratz, a Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist.

The virus lies dormant for years, but, when triggered by stress or a weakened immune system, it travels along nerve pathways to the skin and usually affects only one side of the face.

“You can almost draw a line right down the middle of the forehead when you get the rash,” says Dr. Baratz.

Stay Away From Certain Groups Of People If You Have Shingles

How Shingles Is Treated

You cannot spread shingles to others. But people who have not had chickenpox before could catch chickenpox from you.

This is because shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus.

Try to avoid:

  • pregnant people who have not had chickenpox before
  • people with a weakened immune system like someone having chemotherapy
  • babies less than 1 month old unless you gave birth to them, as your baby should be protected from the virus by your immune system

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What Is The Outlook

If you have a particularly severe case of shingles, it could take months to go away. It can also become a long-term problem for some people. If you have postherpetic neuralgia, you may need to see your doctor more often.

Complications that involve the eye or ear may require ongoing care, especially if you have lingering vision or hearing problems.

Most people have shingles only once, but it can recur. This is more likely to happen if you have a weakened immune system.

If you havent had any major complications, your symptoms should clear up within a matter of weeks with few, if any, lasting effects.

When To Contact Your Pediatrician

You should let your pediatrician know if you suspect your child may have shingles, even if the symptoms are mild. The location of the rash is important with regard to what complications may happen. Getting antiviral treatment within 72 hours may prevent complications and reduce the severity of the infection.

Other reasons to call your childs doctor might include if your child develops new or worsening symptoms, or if their rash and other symptoms dont go away within 2 weeks.

At your appointment, your childs doctor will ask about their health history and about any symptoms they have. From there, the doctor may perform a physical exam to look at the rash and other symptoms.

While a physical exam of the rash is

Other home care measures for shingles focus on managing pain and keeping your child comfortable.

  • Offer a cool bath. Cool water can help ease the pain and itchiness on the skin. You might also consider an oatmeal bath for even more soothing power.
  • Use a cool compress. A moist, cool compress can provide pain relief.
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing. Natural fibers like cotton allow your childs skin to breathe.
  • Provide distractions. Your little one may be better able to cope with discomfort if theyre distracted by a book, game, craft, or television show.
  • Ask your doctor about anti-itch creams.Calamine lotion, for example, may help dry out blisters and soothe your childs skin.

And be sure to cover your childs rash and wash their hands

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How Long Will The Effects Last

The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.

If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.

When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

New treatment for the pain of shingles

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.

Read Also: When Are You Not Contagious With Shingles

Key Points About Shingles

  • 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.

Should I See A Doctor For Shingles

It is usually worth seeing a doctor to be certain about the diagnosis and to see if you need treatment or not. Ideally you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the rash appears.

The rash of shingles can be very painful. So even if the doctor doesn’t think you need an anti-shingles medicine, they may be able to give you stronger painkillers than those you can buy over the counter from the chemist.

Also Check: How Often Do You Get Shingles Vaccine

If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital

Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:

  • Youll be in a contact isolation room.
  • The door will be kept closed.
  • A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
  • The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.

What Drugs Are Prescribed For Shingles

What can stress do to our skin and hair?

If postherpetic neuralgia develops, similar medications are used to treat PHN pain.

While it may seem strange for your doctor to prescribe drugs for shingles that are commonly used to treat depression and prevent seizures, shingles is at root a nerve disorder, and these drugs work in different ways to calm overactive nerves.

Antiepileptics in general are thought to reduce the ability of the neurons to fire at high frequency, says Sangeetha Kodoth, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy Specialists of Knoxville in Tennessee.

Its believed that tricyclic antidepressants an older class of antidepressants work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which then modify pain response.

Antibacterial agents may also be prescribed if a bacterial infection occurs with the shingles rash.

Before taking any medication for shingles, be sure to talk to your doctor about possible side effects.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Shingles

Often the first shingles symptoms happen in the area where the rash will appear. A person may have tingling, itching, or pain in this area. When the rash shows up, the pain may be mild or severe.

The rash starts as groups of tiny pimples on one side of the body or the face. It’s often in the shape of a band or belt. The pimples change to pus-filled blisters that break open and scab over in about 710 days. The scabs usually heal and fall off about 24 weeks after the rash starts.

Some kids with shingles also may have a fever and a headache, and might feel tired and achy. Rarely, a child has the pain of shingles without the rash. More severe symptoms can happen, but usually in people over age 50.

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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