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.
Can I Give Shingles To Others
No one can catch shingles from you, but they can catch chickenpox if they have not already had it or had the shot. The chickenpox virus lives in the spots from shingles, and the virus can be spread until the spots are completely dried up. If you have shingles, you should stay away from babies younger than 12 months and pregnant women.
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.
Read Also: Storm Cloud Shingles On House
How Common Is Postherpetic Neuralgia
Varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. About 99% of Americans over age 40 have had chickenpox. About one in three people in the U.S. develop shingles in their lifetime. Some 10 to 18% of people who get shingles will develop postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles.
You May Like: Shingles Rash Pictures On Back
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.
How Is Shingles Treated
There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral medicine may relieve the symptoms and help prevent complications. See your doctor for a prescription of antiviral medicines as soon as possible after symptoms develop. Treatment should be started within 3 days of the shingles rash appearing.
If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether antivirals are right for you.
Over-the counter medicines, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, can be used for pain relief. If over-the-counter medicines are not controlling your pain, your doctor may prescribe other medicines.
There are several things you can do to help manage the condition. They include the following.
New Drug Treatment Reduces Chronic Pain Following Shingles
by Sam Wong05 February 2014
A new drug treatment has been found to be effective against chronic pain in patients who have had shingles.
The researchers hope that the drug might also be effective against other causes of pain caused by nerve damage, known as neuropathic pain, such as diabetes, HIV, nerve injury and cancer chemotherapy, as it targets a mechanism that is not targeted by any existing therapies and has fewer side effects.
Drugs available now have limited success at treating neuropathic pain and often have unpleasant or disabling side effects.
It is estimated that around 190,000 people in the UK get shingles every year, most of them aged over 50. It is caused when a dormant viral infection of a nerve is reactivated, resulting in a painful rash. In most cases, the shingles rash lasts a few weeks, but in some cases the permanent nerve damage caused by the virus results in a chronic neuropathic pain called post-herpetic neuralgia. Around one in 10 people with shingles experiences post-herpetic neuralgia and, once established, it usually causes life-long suffering.
In a study involving 183 patients with post-herpetic neuralgia in six countries, the new drug EMA401 was found to reduce pain and did not cause any serious side effects. The findings are published in The Lancet.
Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, which owns the drug, now plans to conduct a larger trial, possibly testing higher doses of the drug for longer periods of time.
Recommended Reading: What Brings On The Shingles Virus
What Can I Take To Feel Better
Your doctor has a host of ways to treat your pain after shingles, including a variety of medications. They include:
Anticonvulsants: These medications were developed to control seizures, but they can also help reduce the pain of postherpetic neuralgia. Examples are:
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of any new prescription or over-the-counter medication.
How Is Shingles Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will do a complete physical exam and ask about your medical history, specifically about whether you have ever had chickenpox.
Your healthcare provider will likely know right away that it is shingles based on the unique rash. The rash usually appears one area on one side of the body or face. It appears as red spots, small fluid- or pus-filled vesicles, or scabs.
The healthcare provider may also take skin scrapings for testing.
Read Also: How To Remove Algae From Shingles
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.
Cover Blisters As Needed
You can help reduce the pain caused by clothes and other things touching your blisters by covering the blisters with bandages, if possible. Be sure to use bandages that wont stick to your rash. Sometimes the stripe of blisters is too big for coverage, however, so be sure to talk to your provider at HK Dermatology before covering up.
You May Like: What Ointment Is Good For Shingles
What You Need To Know About Shingles
Herpes zoster is a viral infection that can cause a shingles outbreak accompanied by a painful rash or cluster of small blisters on one area of the body. For some, the symptoms can be mild, but for others, symptoms can include intense pain. If you had chickenpox as a child, the varicella-zoster virus remains in the nerve cells of your body long after the physical signs of the viral infection disappear. As a dormant virus, it can remain inactive for years and you may not even know it is there. Unfortunately, in about one out of every three adults, it can suddenly become active. Medical researchers do not fully understand why the virus reappears as shingles virus rather than as a second case of chickenpox. One thing is clear, most of those who catch shingles will seek relief for the pain and discomfort the viral infection is causing, as quickly as they can.
Early Diagnosis to Manage Shingles Outbreak
Can I Catch Shingles Again?
Complications and Lasting Shingles Pain
Spinal Cord Or Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
These are often used to treat several different types of neuropathic pain. Electrodes are placed underneath the skin along the affected peripheral nerves. Before using this technique, doctors will do a test using a wire electrode to get a sense of how the patient will respond.
After the electrodes have been placed above the peripheral nerve, a weak electrical current is sent to the nerve. By stimulating a sensory pathway that doesnt cause pain, experts believe that this electrical signal to the brain can trick the brain into turning off the painful signal, bringing relief to the patient.
Recommended Reading: Does Walmart Give Shingles Shots
Treatment Of Herpes Zoster
The treatment of herpes zoster has three major objectives: treatment of the acute viral infection, treatment of the acute pain associated with herpes zoster and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia. Antiviral agents, oral corticosteroids and adjunctive individualized pain-management modalities are used to achieve these objectives.
Also Check: What Type Of Shingles Are Best
How To Deal With Pain From Shingles
Shingles, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is among the most painful and irritating skin conditions diagnosed in older adults. If you had chickenpox as a child or come into contact with someone with shingles, you have the potential to develop the disease. The virus lies dormant in your system and may recur as a painful rash later in life. Scientists know very little about what causes the rash to occur or how some individuals develop it, and others do not.
The worst symptom of shingles is pain. It can be a mild burning and itching sensation for some, but for others, it can cause constant, intense pain in large areas of the body. If you are experiencing shingles pain, you have several immediate treatment options.
Don’t Miss: How Do Adults Get Shingles
What Are Typical Symptoms Of Post
The symptoms of PHN are very often limited or localised to the area of skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred.1 This is why PHN is often referred to as being a type of localised neuropathic pain.3
The chronic pain associated with PHN can be described as burning pain, stabbing pain, itching or aching. Patients with PHN often have hypersensitive skin, like a bad sunburn, and may feel severe pain from the touch of clothing on the affected area, a condition doctors call allodynia.1,4
The Emotional Toll Of Nerve Pain After Shingles
Researchers are not just looking at biological and neurological risk factors for PHN. Dworkin was also a co-author of a study looking at psychological risk factors, too. The results were published in the Journal of Pain in 2005.
It certainly looks like psychological stress can be a potent risk factor for PHN, Dworkin tells WebMD.
The study showed that people with shingles who went on to develop PHN were more likely to have had symptoms of personality disorders, hypochondria, intense worry about their disease, and other bodily complaints.
Dworkin says previous studies have already shown a connection between stress and shingles development.
One study even found that the risk of developing PHN was higher in people who were living alone when they developed shingles than people living with others, Dworkin says, perhaps indicating that social isolation increases the risks of PHN.
You May Like: Are 50 Year Shingles Worth It
Homeopathic Remedies For Shingles And Herpes
Viruses, the bad ones, in particular, can have serious effects on the body which a person would not like to have, in any case. This is surely true when the case of herpes zoster is being talked about. This form of herpes is commonly known as shingles. But what if there was a proper solution to this issue?
When a person has blisters forming and causing a rash in a limited area, shingles is likely to be the cause of the same.
What is interesting to know too many people is the fact that the virus which is responsible for shingles or herpes zoster is the same one which is the cause for chickenpox! This virus is never cleared out even when the symptoms of chickenpox have long left the body of the person who had it. As a matter of fact, in some cases, it does reappear and affects the body again except this time in the form of shingles. However, doctors do not know why this occurs. Is that not weird?
Most people who have the bad luck of having to deal with shingles are over sixty years of age. While knowing all this is quite beneficial, what about the treatment of shingles?
Arsenicum album is one of the most popular medicines from the homeopathic field. In most of the cases where it is ideally used, the patient is undergoing pain with a burning sensation on the affected area of the skin. When a rash begins to form, there is normally some tingling in the skin in the run up to it.
Duration Of Herpes Zoster Pain
Acute Herpes zoster is characterized by the new onset of intense skin pain caused by the Herpes zoster virus infection. AHZ typically involves 3 sequential stages: 1) abrupt onset of pain affecting a localized area of skin on one sideonly of the body, 2) soon afterward, typically within 1 to 3 days, a rash with vesicles and blisters appears in that same area, and, 3) gradual resolution of the rash and pain over 3 to 4 weeks. Subacute Herpes zoster describes the condition of Herpes zoster pain which persists for more than a month but less than 3 months after the onset of AHZ.
Chronic Postherpetic neuralgia is a chronic form of zoster pain that persists for 3 months or more. PHN is the most common complication of shingles. In some patients PHN can be severely incapacitating and can last for years. The risk of developing PHN is increased with age, with impaired immunity, and with inadequate treatment with shingles-specific oral antiviral drugs. The debilitating pain of PHN often results in impaired physical function and mobility, chronic depression, emotional and physical isolation, and marked reduction in quality of life. PHN also results in significant costs to patients, their care givers and the healthcare system.
Also Check: White Cedar Shingles Home Depot
Risk Factors For Nerve Pain After Shingles
Researchers have long known that older people are more likely to get PHN, the nerve pain after shingles, but recent studies have found other factors that increase risks.
In one study published in the journal Neurology, researchers including Dworkin looked at data from 965 people with shingles. The researchers identified five risk factors for developing PHN in people who had been recently diagnosed with shingles:
- Presence of symptoms before the rash appeared, like numbness, tingling, itching, or pain
- Severe pain during the illnesss initial stages
Importantly, the researchers found the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of developing PHN.
For instance, 17% of women with shingles and 26% of those who had severe pain went on to get PHN. But 50% of women who were over age 60 and had symptoms before the rash, severe rash, and acute pain went on to get PHN.
How To Treat Shingles
This article was co-authored by Lydia Shedlofsky, DO. Dr. Lydia Shedlofsky is a Resident Dermatologist who joined Affiliated Dermatology in July of 2019 after completing a traditional rotating internship at Larkin Community Hospital in Miami, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. After graduation, she moved to Beira, Mozambique, and worked as a research assistant and intern at a free clinic. She completed a Post-Baccalaureate program and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree in Medical Education and a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 16 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 611,298 times.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a distressing skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus . This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has had chickenpox, VZV stays in the body. Usually the virus causes no problems. However, now and again the virus reappears, causing nasty blisters called shingles. The following article will describe the treatments for shingles.
You May Like: What To Put On Shingles
Shingles Pain And Other Symptoms
Shingles are not life-threatening, but the pain can cause worry for many patients. It will most likely present right before developing a large rash all over large areas of the torso. However, shingles pain can occur even if a rash never occurs. Some patients develop postherpetic neuralgia, which causes shingles pain even after the blisters have healed. Other signs and symptoms of shingles include:
- Pain or burning in the skin
- Tingling or numbness in large areas of the skin
- Sensitivity to light or touch
- A red rash or blisters
Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 As Soon As You Suspect Shingles
You might need medicine to help speed up your recovery and avoid longer-lasting problems.
This works best if taken within 3 days of your symptoms starting.
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
Get an urgent GP appointment
A GP may be able to treat you.
Ask your GP surgery for an urgent appointment.