When Should I See The Doctor
If you have never experienced shingles before, you should contact your doctor and bring along a list of your symptoms to make sure that you address any underlying issues or oddities. This is especially important for people over age 60 because seniors often face additional complications.
You can visit any medical professional, such as a general practitioner, family physician, internist, dermatologist, or even a neurologist for assistance. A test will confirm or deny the suspicion of shingles.
Your care provider needs to know about any prior health conditions as well as any medications that you are currently taking. If you require any drugs to help recover from shingles, your care provider will need to avoid drug interactions, so a list of medicines that you are on is helpful for this.
You should also consult medical help if large areas of the body show blistering activity, or if the affected area is close to your eyes. Severe complications can occur if these conditions remain untreated, but with medical assistance, patients can avoid many undesirable outcomes.
Many people can live with shingles and avoid severe complications, but an early and accurate diagnosis is the first step in promoting and protecting your overall health.
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Avoid Scratching The Blisters
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
Is Shingles On My Face More Dangerous
If shingles appears on the face or ear, it should be closely monitored to prevent long-term damage to vision and hearing.
If a rash appears on the tip of the nose, seek treatment immediately from both your dermatologist and an ophthalmologist. Shingles on the tip of the nose indicates that the eye may be infected with the virus as well. You need to start treatment immediately. The ophthalmologist will test to see if the virus is in the cornea and work to protect your eyes from long-term effects.
If the ear is involved, you may also experience tinnitus a ringing or noise perception in the ear. We need to address that quickly to avoid potential auditory problems that can follow. Your dermatologist will likely refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to treat the ear appropriately.
When the herpes zoster virus shows any sign of affecting the eye or ear, we consider these dermatological emergencies that need to be addressed by a dermatologist as well as an ophthalmologist or ENT immediately.
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Do I Need To Wash My Sheets If I Have Shingles
Keep your skin clean and dispose of soiled bandages. Clothing that has come into touch with your skin sores should be discarded or washed in hot water. Hot water should be used to wash your bedding and towels. As long as you do not have any other symptoms of illness, such as a high fever, sweating heavily, and feeling weak, then you do not need to wash your sheets.
If you have shingles, your doctor will tell you what activities are safe for you to do. For example, if you have shingles and suffer from asthma, your doctor may advise you not to go running or engage in other activities that might cause you to feel out of breath. If you follow your doctor’s instructions, you should be able to resume most normal activities after you have healed from your shingles outbreak.
Get Shingles Treatment Online
Speak to a board-certified doctor securely from your phone or computer and get medication for shingles in 15 minutes. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can appear anywhere on the body, it most often is a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the left or right side of your torso. With our same-day treatment service, you can meet with a top online doctor, get diagnosed, and receive the medication you need.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Recurring Shingles
What is the outlook for people with recurring shingles? Shingles usually clears up within two to six weeks. In a small number of cases, the pain can remain once the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia . Up to 2 percent of people who get shingles have PHN for five years or more. The risk increases with age.
Button Up The Roof And Final Clean
Cover the roof right away to protect against rain. Buttoning up the roof is the final prep step before shingling. It consists of installing ice and water barrier and 30-lb. asphalt-saturated felt. This underlayment acts as a temporary weather barrier to keep rain out. But it wont stop heavy rain and wind, so once you start a section, always try to flash and shingle it by the end of the day.
Ice and water barrier is used at roof edges and other vulnerable areas. To install it, snap a chalk line 36 in. from the edge of the eaves. If you have gutters, youll want the ice and water barrier to cover all of the gutter flashing thats on the roof.
Starting at the rake edge of the roof, align the ice and water barrier with the chalk line. Tack it at the top with staples every few feet to hold it in place. Once the entire section is tacked along the chalk line, lift up the bottom part, peel off the backing, then let it fall back into place. The ice and water barrier will immediately stick to the roof.
Flip the top part of the ice and water barrier back over the bottom section , peel off the backing, then set it back into place on the roof. Work carefully to avoid wrinkles. Theyre a hassle to get out. Move on to the next section of roof edge, overlapping the vertical seams of the ice and water barrier by 6 in.
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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.
Who Is More Likely To Suffer From Herpes Zoster
Some people are more at risk of getting the virus, such as the following:
- People who have had chickenpox before, as the varicella-zoster virus can cause both diseases.
- Poor immune system people like older people and children.
- People who have other health conditions such as diabetes, HIV, skin cancer, etc.
- In addition, stress or taking certain medications such as steroids can also weaken the immune system and worse this condition.
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How Long Do Shingles Scabs Take To Heal
Shingles scabs will take about 2 to 4 weeks to heal. The exact time frame will be different for each person. It depends on several factors, including the severity of your rash and how soon you get treatment.
However, even after the scabs have cleared up, the pain and discomfort can last for several weeks or months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about
Its important to contact a doctor within 72 hours of developing a shingles rash. The sooner you can get a proper diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment for shingles.
Early treatment can help shorten the length of your infection and reduce the risk of possible complications.
You should also contact a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- blisters or scabs that wont heal
- signs of a skin infection, like pus or swelling
- worsening or ongoing pain after the scabs heal
- persisting fatigue or fever after the rash heals
- new blisters or scabs
Stay Away From Certain Groups Of People If You Have Shingles
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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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.
Whos At Risk For Shingles
Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can get shingles, but the risk increases with age. People older than age 60 are up to 10 times more likely to get shingles than younger people. Other factors that increase your risk include:
- Some cancer medicines
- A weak immune system from illnesses such as cancer or HIV
A quarter of adults will develop shingles at some point, and most are otherwise healthy.
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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.
Preventing The Virus Spreading
If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.
You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.
Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:
- women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
- people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
- babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus
Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.
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Tingling Pain Or Numbness
During the first stage of shingles, before anything appears on your skin, a particular area of your body may begin to feel different. “When a shingles outbreak is starting, you may feel itching, burning, or pain,” Kim says. Often you will feel this on only one side of your body.
The initial signs of shingles may feel different for each person. In some cases, shingles can cause intense sensitivity, making it painful to even wear clothes over your skin, while in other cases, your skin may feel numb.
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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How Long Does It Take For Shingles To Progress
Shingles progresses into blisters over three to five days and begins to crust over after seven to ten days. The rash is preceded by a prodromal phase lasting 48-72 hours or longer, consisting of throbbing pain and numbness in the area affecting the nerve. Once the rash blisters, it can last another three to five days before the lesions scab over.
After the lesions crust over, it may take two to four weeks to heal completely. At this time, pain may still be present. The most painful stage of shingles is when you have fluid-filled blisters. This usually occurs three to five days after the rash first appears.
What Do Shingles Scabs Look Like
Shingles scabs develop when your blisters dry up. The blisters that form on the rash usually start to scab within 7 to 10 days. These scabs are usually dry and flat and can be red, brown, or yellowish in color.
Since shingles blisters affect just one side of the body, the scabs will only appear on one side as well. This is different from most other skin conditions, which typically affect both sides of the body.
Other common skin disorders might cause peeling or white patches . Shingles scabs usually dont have these characteristics.
The following images show what shingles scabs look like:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
The initial symptoms of shingles include:
- a burning, tingling or itching sensation
- a stabbing sensation
- numbness in the affected area of the body
- sensitivity to light
- fever and/or headache
Two to 3 days after these symptoms appear, a painful rash will appear on the sensitive area of skin, usually on one side of the body in the area of one skin nerve .
At first this rash consists of painful red bumps that quickly develop into fluid-filled blisters, which will eventually have a crusty surface. The rash can last for 10 to 15 days.
What To Put On Shingles Once They Scab
Bathe in a chilly oatmeal bath. Calamine lotion can be used to soothe irritated skin once the blisters have scabbed over. Using a gentle cleanser and water, wash the skin thoroughly with an antibacterial soap.
Cover up. Shingles is very contagious, so keep away from others as much as possible. Wear long-sleeved shirts to cover arms and shoulders. Wear pants or skirts that can be rolled down if you need to go outside. Stay out of the sun! It can make your sores worse.
Make sure you tell your doctor about any medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, cold medicines, and fever reducers. These substances may not only interfere with the effectiveness of antiviral drugs, but they can also cause serious side effects if you are already taking them when you get shingles.
Prevent reoccurrence. Once you have had shingles, your body will be immune to it. That’s why it’s important to stay well-vaccinated against viruses.
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