Know The Bathing Dos And Donts
Using the right water temperature while bathing or showering can make a big difference in how your skin feels and heals. Ideally, you should bathe with cool or lukewarm water and avoid very hot water.
You can also apply a cool, wet compress to the rash and blisters. The AAD recommends you soak a clean washcloth in cold water and place the cloth on top of the affected area several times a day. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.
You should avoid rubbing washcloths, sponges, or exfoliants on the area.
You can also add colloidal oatmeal or cornstarch to your baths to provide some much-needed itch relief. Just be sure to dry your skin gently after getting out of the bath. Then, follow up with a layer of calamine lotion to soothe your skin, or keep it dry and cover with a bandage if its still weeping.
Delicate Hair And Sensitive Scalps
Shampoos without sulfates are best for hair that is more prone to damage. These formulas use softer surfactants to prevent damage-prone from suffering any further breakage. Note that sulfate-free shampoos often dont lather as well as traditional shampoos, even though they are still extremely effective cleansers.
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
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Use Gentle Chemical Exfoliants
The American Academy of Dermatology stresses the importance of using active ingredients to remove scales from your skin. This is important because they soften the attachment of the scale to the skin, making the scales easier to remove.
Locate the scales that you want to remove
Your approach will be different if the scales are hidden under hair, sitting right at your hairline, or behind your ears.
Choose a spot treatment or shampoo
If your scales are surrounded by hair, its best to use a medicated shampoo to soften them. Although shampoos have milder ingredients than topical spot treatments, they provide the added benefit of gentle physical exfoliation.
A spot treatment might have stronger ingredients and should be applied directly onto hairless skin.
Look for the following ingredients, either in shampoos or topical creams:
- Salicylic acid is a powerful exfoliating ingredient that can be found in shampoos and creams. It helps lift and soften scaling and is best as a spot treatment. Shampoos with salicylic acid should be used sparingly, as they can dry your scalp and may lead to more flaking.
- Coal tar is one of the most common ingredients in psoriasis shampoos. It helps soften any scaling on the scalp.
- Lactic acid and urea work similarly to salicylic acid. Theyre scale lifters that soften and break down the thickness of your flakes. They can be found in shampoos or spot treatments.
When To See A Doctor
Speak to a dermatologist or health care professional about your scalp scabs if they persist despite treatment with OTC and home remedies, or if they cause you severe irritation. You should also seek professional care if you notice signs of infection, such as swelling, bleeding, a hot stinging sensation or the presence of pus.
Your care provider will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of your scalp scabs, provide daily care tips and offer you medical treatment.
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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
Soothing Lotions And Creams
These lotions and creams dont speed up the healing process, but they can increase your comfort level. . You can apply topical ointments containing the natural ingredient capsaicin up to three or four times a day. This is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it contains anti-inflammatory effect to help ease the pain. When you apply the cream, the pain will increase and then go away slowly. This cream works by reducing pain signals sent to your brain.
In addition, you can apply calamine lotion after baths and showers to soothe irritated skin and help dry out blisters.
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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.
Help Is Available For Phn
Fortunately,early treatment for shingles can lower your chances of getting PHN.
For some people, the pain becomes refractory, or resistant to treatment, explains Dr. Rosenquist. So we want to treat shingles as fast as we can ideally as soon as somebody feels a tingling or burning sensation, even before a rash develops.
Sheadds that whenever nerve pain is involved, some people respond to treatment andsome dont.
However,medications taken orally or injected that can target the affected nerves may beable to stun the nervous system into behaving properly. That meanstransmitting the appropriate signal to the brain.
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Focus On Prevention Doctors Say
Prevention is the best way to avoid a shingles episode.
There is a vaccine that prevents the onset of shingles in people exposed to chickenpox. The CDC recommends that people age 60 and older get one dose of the vaccine. Vaccines are readily available at a doctors office and drug stores. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration extended the vaccine use for people aged 50 to 59.
Wigand-Bolling said the vaccine reduces the incidence of shingles by 51% and the neuralgia associated with shingles by 67%. The doctor said the vaccine is injected and once vaccinated a person is protected for life.
Unless contraindicated because of pregnancy or being an organ transplant recipient or on chemotherapy, everyone over age 50 should be vaccinated, Wigand-Bolling said. I would recommend getting vaccinated to patients who may not have had chicken pox, or those who dont remember having chicken pox.
More than 90% of those identified in the study at increased risk of stroke and heart attack after a shingles episode hadn’t been vaccinated for shingles. The people in the study who had the vaccine still got shingles, it’s worth noting.
How Is It Treated
It is best to start treatment as soon as possible after you notice the rash. See your healthcare provider to discuss treatment with antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir. This medicine is most effective if you start taking it within the first 3 days of the rash. Antiviral medicine may speed your recovery and lessen the chance that the pain will last for a long time.
Your provider may also recommend or prescribe:
- medicine for pain
- antibacterial salves or lotions to help prevent bacterial infection of the blisters
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When Should You See A Healthcare Provider
Contact your healthcare provider right away if you suspect you might have shingles, especially if you are older than age 60.
You should also seek out medical attention for:
- Pain and/or a rash near the eye. Left untreated, shingles could lead to permanent eye damage.
- Pain, redness, or rash on the face
- A very painful and widespread rash
- A high fever or feeling very sick in addition to a rash
- Blister spread to other parts of the body
- A severe headache with a rash on the scalp or head
- Weakness on one side of the face
The National Institute on Aging recommends seeing your healthcare provider no later than three days after the start of the shingles rash.
How Does It Occur
If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.
What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles
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.
Are There Any Risks And Side Effects
If your symptoms dont subside or if they get worse, talk to your doctor about medical treatments. These may be more effective.
Essential oils and the active ingredients in shampoos may irritate swollen or broken skin. Dont use any ingredients you have a known allergy to. Dont treat children with any product until you have their pediatricians go-ahead.
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Shingles On Scalp And Neck
Shingle is an infection that causes pain and rash along a band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. This condition affects any of the parts of the body and is common in the neck, face and around eyes. The virus causing shingles leads to swelling on one side of the neck, under the jaw or behind ear.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.
You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.
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Medical Causes Of Scalp Scabs
A number of medical conditions are linked to scabbing on the scalp, and include the following:
- Eczema is a chronic condition that is characterized by redness, itching, blisters and sores, and can lead to scalp scabs
- Head liceare small, parasitic insects that cling to the hair shaft and feed on blood from the scalp, causing itchiness and scabbing
- Ringworm is a fungal infection that develops on the body and scalp it can cause a range of symptoms such as hair loss, rashes, pus-filled areas and crusts
- Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition related to dandruff that can cause patches of skin on the scalp to become red, scaly, itchy and crusty
- Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that primarily affects the scalp and causes raised plaques of scaly skin that can crack, bleed and scab over
- Shingles is a skin condition caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virusâthe virus responsible for chickenpoxâand causes a severe rash, blisters and scabbing
Salon And Retail Shampoos: The Differences
You may pay as little or as much as you like for a shampoo. In general, however, the more money you spend, the greater the quality of the shampoo.
Shampoo from a salon is far more likely to be of a higher quality and include superior components. With a higher concentration, it will also last longer since less product is needed to wash your hair .
Supermarket shampoos often include fewer of the beneficial ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and oils, and more of the drying and irritating substances, such as sulfates.
Shampoos that include sulfates are known to produce a thick lather, which many people believe to be an indication that the product is of higher quality. This is not the case, and in fact, the reverse is true.
Rather than being produced by specialized cosmetics firms, supermarket shampoos are usually developed by multinational corporations that generate a broad variety of home care itemsall in large volumes. Therefore, a salon-quality shampoo and its retail counterpart are usually quite different.
Each shampoo type offers something unique to enhance the look and feel of your hair while also cleaning and refreshing it.
Consider your hair type and whether you have any hair-related problems or troubles while looking for a shampoo.
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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?
Skin Care And Itch Relief For Shingles
To relieve itching and discomfort, try:
- A cool, wet compresses on the affected skin
- Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion
- Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin
- Antihistamines to reduce itching
Keep your skin clean. Throw away bandages you use to cover your skin sores. Throw away or wash in hot water clothing that has contact with your skin sores. Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.
While your skin sores are still open and oozing, avoid all contact with anyone who has never had chickenpox, especially pregnant women.
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A Word About The Shingles Vaccine
If you are age 60 or over and have not had shingles, talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine. Not only will it reduce your risk of developing shingles, but if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. And, just as important, youll be much less likely to develop PHN if youve had the vaccine.
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What Are The Complications Of Shingles
Symptoms of shingles usually dont last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include:
- Postherpetic neuralgia . The most common complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . This continuous, chronic pain lasts even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present. The affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. If you had severe pain during the active rash or have impaired senses, you are at increased risk for PHN. The elderly are also at greater risk. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. Pain relievers and steroid treatment may be used to treat the pain and inflammation. Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.
- Bacterial infection. A bacterial infection of the skin where the rash happens is another complication. Rarely, infections can lead to more problems, such as tissue death and scarring. When an infection happens near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can happen. This can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.