Thursday, May 23, 2024

How To Care For Shingles Rash

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

How to treat shingles
  • 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?

Is There A Treatment For Shingles

Several antiviral medicines, acyclovir , valacyclovir , and famciclovir , are available to treat shingles. These medications should be started as soon as possible after the rash appears and will help shorten the illness and decrease how severe the illness is. Pain medicine may also help with pain caused by shingles. Call your provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

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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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

Zoster Sine Herpete : Shingles Without The Rash

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It is possible for a person to develop shingles without being affected by the rash, although this is rare. When shingles occurs without the rash being present, this is called zoster sine herpete.

When shingles occurs without a rash, the first symptoms of the condition may involve:

  • A feeling of numbness in a certain area
  • An itchy, burning sensation
  • Generalized aches
  • Hypersensitivity to touch

When shingles is present, even without the rash, sensations will be concentrated in a specific area of the body â commonly the face, neck, one side of the torso or the eyes. However, in the absence of the shingles rash, zoster sine herpete may still rarely lead to neurological and visceral diseases, such as inflammation of the brain , Varizella pneumonia, paralysis of the facial nerves and problems related to keeping oneâs balance or problems with hearing.

Because shingles shares characteristics with many other conditions, including herpes simplex, impetigo, dermatitis herpetiformis and contact dermatitis, it can easily be confused with these conditions. In cases where a rash is not present, a laboratory test will usually be necessary to establish the presence of the varicella zoster virus in the body.

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Once Youve Had Shingles Can It Come Back

Reoccurrence is relatively uncommon. Only a small percentage of patients may have a second episode, more commonly in women. Three or more shingles episodes in the same person is considered extremely rare, says Dr. Mohring. In this case, it would prompt us to investigate other potential diseases that may be going on. Those with higher risk factors, especially weakened immune systems or autoimmune disease, are the most at risk for reoccurrence.

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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.

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How To Treat Postherpetic Neuralgia

Amenamevir

The good news is that Amenamevir is effective against complications associated with herpes zoster , especially PHN. After a thorough investigation by scientists, they stated the following in their 2020 research paper:

  • our findings indicate that AMNV could be useful for treating AHP and PHN in patients with herpes zoster.

Vitamin B-12

A scientific review that investigated numerous studies on shingles patients showed that Vitamin B-12 therapy could help in the quality of life for PHN patients, including the pain associated with it.

Ultrasound And Shockwave Therapy

A new study published on January 7, 2022, revealed promising and effective PHN treatments. Although further research is needed, there is compelling evidence that they work.

One is called ultrasound-guided stellate ganglion block. The other is extracorporeal shock wave therapy. These therapies work best if used together, according to the study.

Ultrasound-Guided Stellate Ganglion Block

According to the study, ultrasound-guided stellate ganglion block is a minimally invasive treatment procedure. Some of the ways it works are through blocking the pain response associated with PHN by:

  • relaxing the nerves and muscles
  • regulating the autonomous nervous system
  • regulating the endocrine system
  • promoting nerve repair
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy has a powerful effect on the treatment of chronic pain. Researchers believe it primarily produces pain relief .

What Is The Outlook

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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.

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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.

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What Is Herpes Zoster

Herpes zoster, or shingles, is a common viral infection of the nerves, which results in a painful rash of small blisters on a strip of skin anywhere on the body. Even after the rash is gone, the pain may continue for months.

  • Shingles is relatively rare in children.
  • Your child is most at risk if he had chickenpox during the first year of life or if you had chickenpox very late during pregnancy.
  • A rash most often occurs on the trunk and buttocks, and usually goes away in one to two weeks.
  • Medication may help alleviate some of the pain, but the disease has to run its course.

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When Should I See A Doctor Because Of The Side Effects I Experience From Shingrix

Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system, so it may produce short-term side effects. These side effects can be uncomfortable, but they are expected and usually go away on their own in 2 or 3 days. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms are not improving or if they are getting worse.

In clinical trials, Shingrix was not associated with serious adverse events. In fact, serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. For example, for every 1 million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people might have a severe allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction happen within minutes or hours after vaccination and include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness. If you experience these or any other life-threatening symptoms, see a doctor right away.

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How Is Shingles Spread

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

A person must have already had chickenpox in the past to develop shingles. A person cannot get shingles from a person that has shingles. However, the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox or had the chickenpox vaccine. The person exposed to the virus would develop chickenpox, not shingles. A person with shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. The blister fluid is filled with virus particles. The virus is spread through direct contact with the rash or through breathing in virus particles that get mixed in the air. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. A person is not infectious before blisters appear or if pain persists after the rash is gone .

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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:

When Should You See An Id Care Doctor For Shingles

If you think you might have shingles, if youre concerned about pain associated with shingles, or if youre unhappy with your current shingles treatment plan, you should see a specialist at ID Care, Dr. Gurland said. If you can get to a doctor within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms, youll have the best chance for a good result.

At ID Care, your health is our priority. To schedule an appointment to get your shingles vaccine or to consult with an infectious disease doctor today, call 908-281-0221 or visit .

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What Specialists Treat Shingles

Primary care physicians, including internal medicine specialists, family medicine specialists and/or specialists in infectious diseases, can appropriately treat some patients. An emergency medicine physician may start the initial care. However, if there is a chance the eye may be involved, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. If a person is pregnant and gets shingles, they should consult with their ob-gyn physician immediately. For long-term or chronic pain involved in postherpetic neuralgia, a neurologist and/or pain specialists may be involved in the care of the patient.

Prevent Shingles Or Another Shingles Outbreak:

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A vaccine may be given to help prevent shingles. You can get the vaccine even if you already had shingles. The vaccine can help prevent a future outbreak. If you do get shingles again, the vaccine can keep it from becoming severe. The vaccine comes in 2 forms. Your healthcare provider will tell you which form is right for you. The decision is based on your age and any medical conditions you have. A 2-dose vaccine is usually given to adults 50 years or older. A 1-dose vaccine may be given to adults 60 years or older.

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How Is Shingles Treated

Specific treatment for shingles will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • How long the shingles have been present
  • Extent of the condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

There is no cure for shingles. It simply has to run its course. Treatment focuses on pain relief. Painkillers may help relieve some of the pain. Antiviral drugs may help lessen some of the symptoms and reduce nerve damage. Other treatments may include:

  • Creams or lotions to help relieve itching
  • Cool compresses applied to affected skin areas
  • Antiviral medicines
  • Anticonvulsants

What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

The risk of getting shingles rises as you age, making it most common in people over age 50. Many people experience pain, itching or tingling on their skin several days before a painful rash appears. Other symptoms include:

  • Skin that is sensitive to the touch

Many people describe the discomfort as a shooting or burning pain, while others experience numbness and tingling. Some experience all the symptoms.

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What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Shingles

Most people get shingles once, but its possible to get it again.

If you have a healthy immune system, the blisters tend to clear in 7 to 10 days. The rash tends to go away completely within 2 to 4 weeks. The pain may last longer, but usually stops in 1 or 2 months.

For some people, the pain will last longer than the rash. When it does, its called postherpetic neuralgia , which can come and go or be constant. PHN can last for months, years, or the rest of your life. Treatment can help reduce the amount of pain you feel.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have pain. Treatment can help you feel more comfortable.

For anyone who has a shingles rash, the right self-care can help ease your discomfort. Youll find out what dermatologists recommend at, Shingles: Self-care.

ImageGetty Images

ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention . About shingles. Page last reviewed 10/17/2017. Last accessed 4/1/2019.

Dooling KL, Guo A, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018 67:103-8.

Madkan V, Sra K, et al. Human herpes viruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008: 1204-8.

Straus SE, Oxman MN. Varicella and herpes zoster. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1885-98.

Can Shingles Cause Chronic Pain

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In some people, the pain of shingles may linger for months or even years after the rash has healed. This pain, due to damaged nerves in and beneath the skin, is known as postherpetic neuralgia. Others feel a chronic itch in the area where the rash once was. In severe cases, the pain or itching may be bad enough to cause insomnia, weight loss, or depression.

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Home Care For Shingles

Colloidal oatmeal baths are an old standby for relieving the itch of chickenpox and can help with shingles, as well. To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Gentle exercise or a favorite activity may help keep your mind off the discomfort.

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Shingles Risks And Pregnancy

Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described previously are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. Women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen in the later stages of pregnancy, but acetaminophen is considered safe. Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection.

  • Image reprinted with permission from Medscape.com, 2012. Dr. Dancewiez/CDC
  • FDA / Renee Gordon
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