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
Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles
Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.
Other things you can do include:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products.
These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.
Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include those:
- With a weakened immune system .
- Over the age of 50.
- Who have been ill.
- Who have experienced trauma.
- Who are under stress.
The chickenpox virus doesnt leave your body after you have chickenpox. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. Researchers aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
Read Also: Can You Use Cortisone Cream On Shingles
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.
When Should You Call For Help
or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have a new or higher fever.
- You have a severe headache and a stiff neck.
- You lose the ability to think clearly.
- The rash spreads to your forehead, nose, eyes, or eyelids.
- You have eye pain, or your vision gets worse.
- You have new pain in your face, or you can’t move the muscles in your face.
- Blisters spread to new parts of your body.
- You have symptoms of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- The rash has not healed after 2 to 4 weeks.
- You still have pain after the rash has healed.
Don’t Miss: Is The Shingles Vaccine Expensive
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.
Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles
Occasionally, some people dont get a rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments you can take early for shingles. Even if you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider will help you get your condition diagnosed and treated.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Moss Off Shingles
How To Prevent Shingles
Do remember that aside from the natural home remedies mentioned above, it will be helpful to avoid having to scratch the affected area of the skin because this might aggravate your condition even more.
Keep shingles exposed unless you are doing home remedies so that they can dry up quickly. Keep your skin clean and dry, do not share towels, rags, or gloves with other people.
Bells Palsy Vs Stroke
Bells palsy should be treated right away, but it isntnecessarily an emergency.
A stroke, on the other hand, is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know experience facial droop along with any other symptoms of stroke, such as numbness, weakness, slurred speech, double vision or dizziness, or if the symptoms arent clear-cut, call 911. Its better to be safe than sorry.
Dr. Mays says there are a few additional signs that can helpdistinguish one from the other:
- A stroke comes on suddenly, whereas Bells palsyusually develops over the course of hours or days.
- Generally, its the lower part of the face thatbecomes weak when someone is having a stroke. With Bells palsy, both the lowerand upper part of the face will be affected, so it may be hard to blink or movethe eyebrows.
Other symptoms that someone with Bells palsy mightexperience include:
- Headache or pain behind the ear
- Loss of taste on one side of the tongue
- Sensitivity to sound in one ear
- Excessive tears in one eye
Read Also: Does Cvs Give Free Shingles Shots
Also Check: How Long Do The Effects Of Shingles Last
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
Usually, shingles develops on just one side of the body or face, and in a small area. The most common place for shingles to occur is in a band around one side of the waistline.
Most people with shingles have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Tingling, itching, or numbness of the skin
- Chills, fever, headache, or upset stomach
For some people, the symptoms of shingles are mild. They might just have some itching. For others, shingles can cause intense pain that can be felt from the gentlest touch or breeze. Its important to talk with your doctor if you notice any shingles symptoms.
If you notice blisters on your face, see your doctor right away because this is an urgent problem. Blisters near or in the eye can cause lasting eye damage and blindness. Hearing loss, a brief paralysis of the face, or, very rarely, inflammation of the brain can also occur.
You May Like: Does Cvs Offer Shingles Shots
Natural Cures For Shingles
I have never had shingles myself, but I have, however, been told by many people the things that worked for them when they got it. Max was happy with the idea of a brief and entirely unscientific study for a few days, before resorting to the Valtrex prescribed by his doctor, who told him the drug would take two weeks to kick in, followed by at least another two weeks to clear up the symptoms fully.
You May Like: Where To Get The Shingles Vaccine For Free
Why Doesnt Having Chickenpox Earlier In Life Provide Immunity Against Having Shingles Later
After having chickenpox, your body doesnt rid your system of the virus. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of the spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. In most people, the virus simply stays there quietly and doesnt cause problems. Scientists arent always sure why the virus gets active again, but they know stress can be a cause.
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.
Recommended Reading: Will Medicare Pay For Shingles Shot
Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix
The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for those 50 years of age and older who are in good health.
You should get the Shingrix vaccine even if:
- Youve had shingles already.
- Youve been previously vaccinated with Zostavax . If youve been vaccinated with Zostavax, wait at least eight weeks before getting vaccinated with Shingrix.
- You dont know for sure if youve ever had chickenpox.
Ask your healthcare provider, who knows your entire health history if getting this vaccine is right for you.
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.
You May Like: Price Difference 3 Tab Vs Architectural 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.
Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of Your Body
The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of your body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area. It doesnt spread over your whole body. Your torso is a common area, as is your face.
You May Like: How Is The Shingles Virus Transmitted
What Does Early Stages Of Shingles Look Like
Shingles progress through several stages as the virus replicates in your body. Shingles start as a rash with red bumps, known as papules, distributed most frequently over your back and torso.
Within several days, grouped blisters are present. Within seven to ten days, the vesicles dry up and crust.
The early stage of shingles looks like small, red, raised, solid pimples or an inflamed rash. These are tiny, raised bumps on the skin. Eventually, these bumps blister and later crust. The beginning stages of shingles create tingling and localized pain.
The early stages of shingles are also described as itching, burning, or deep pain. People who have had shingles also described the early stages as similar to the beginning of the flu.
What Are Some Common Treatments For Shingles
The CDC recommends that adults 50 years or older receive two doses of the shingles vaccine. Additionally, several antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective when taken immediately after the rash appears.
Also Check: How To Know If You Have Shingles Rash
Aloe Vera And Cayenne Pepper
Aloe Vera has curative antifungal and anti-microbial properties that help to heal the blisters and sores caused due to shingles damage. Cayenne paper, on the other hand, has high contents of a compound called capsaicin, which helps get rid of pains, itching, and inflammation and prevents the infected area from further infections.
To use aloe Vera:
You can also use organic cold-pressed Aloe Vera
Are Shingles Contagious
Shingles are not as contagious as highly contagious chickenpox. Chickenpox can be inherited from the baby in their early months. However, shingles are contagious too. Youd better avoid exposing your virus to others.
Before treatment, you need to understand that shingles are a viral infection that can not be treated with antibiotics. Antiviral medication usually treats only rashes on the skin. However, you can remove the shingles and shingles pain with some natural home remedies. Here are the top 10 home remedies to get rid of shingles fast.
Recommended Reading: Does Health Insurance Cover Shingles Vaccine
Dont Shrug Off Shingles
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Mens Health Watch
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
If you had chickenpox as a kid, there is a good chance you may develop shingles later in life. In fact, one in three is predicted to get shingles during their lifetime, says Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, director of the Nerve Unit at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
The same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. After the telltale spots of chickenpox vanish, the virus lies dormant in your nerve cells near the spinal cord and brain. When your immunity weakens from normal aging or from illnesses or medications, the virus can re-emerge. It then travels along a nerve to trigger a rash in the skin connected to that nerve. The rash often appears on only one side of your body. The most common locations are the chest, back, or stomach, or above one eye.
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.
Also Check: Is Shingles Contagious From Person To Person
How Long Does It Take For Someone To Recover From Shingles
Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral infection that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles is characterized by painful rash, small blisters, burning and tingling on the affected skin. While it can affect any part of the body, it usually affects one side.
Typically, it takes about 2-5 weeks for someone to recover from shingles, although some cases may take longer.
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.
Dont Miss: How Much Does A Shingles Shot Cost At Cvs
Read Also: What Is The Best Medicine To Treat Shingles
The Most Important Tip For Shingles
I know that this is a lot of information so give yourself time to take it all in. Perhaps, more importantly take this one piece of advice: RELAX. Shingles is usually brought on by stress in your life. While I didnt think I had a lot of stress , when I listed everything on my plate its easy to see how my body was overburdened.
The biggest lesson learned through this process is how important it is to really, truly support your body. People often mentioned how lucky I was to be able to have a job that works from home, but when youre sick its easy to just reach for your phone in bed or work on a project while recovering on the couch. The boundaries are less clear. Though I did the bare minimum I needed to do, I mostly took a lot of time to rest, nap, journal, watch TV and essentially do nothing.
I would have loved to have gone on walks or been outside but the pain of the wind on my face made it impossible. I was upset over this but C reminded me that compassion is a big part of the recovery process. So even though I felt stir crazy, I also knew that going outside actually created more stress in my life. Acknowledging those stressors and putting in plans of action to eliminate or diffuse them is the key to getting over shingles.
* * * * *
Overall I can tell Im drastically improved from where I was and also have learned one of lifes most important lessons: STRESS IS REAL and it can manifest physically, so dont ignore it!