When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.
See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:
- symptoms that affect your eye area
- a temperature of 38°C or higher
You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.
You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox
You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.
But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.
When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.
This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.
Use An Apple Cider Vinegar Compress To Dry Up Blisters
Apple cider vinegar has been traditionally used for tackling rashes caused by shingles and chickenpox. Apply a compress of apple cider vinegar diluted with an equal quantity of warm water or add 2 to 4 cups of apple cider vinegar to a tub of warm bath water and enjoy a long soak. The acidity of vinegar can help quicken the drying of blisters and ease itching. However, this remedy is not recommended on broken skin or open blisters.67
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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!
Help From Mobile Healthcare Professionals
As we age, we may face challenges such as impaired mobility, worsening vision, or another health condition, which can hinder our ability to travel to a clinic for medical treatment. So, its good to know that DispatchHealth offers a more convenient alternative to facility-based care in-home medical care. Our compassionate team of qualified medical providers understands that shingles can be extremely painful, so they will arrive promptly to treat your elderly loved one. Equipped with nearly all the tools and supplies found in an emergency room, we can administer or prescribe medication to ease your loved ones pain. Plus, we ensure continuity of care by providing a detailed report to every patients primary care physician doctors. We are available 365 days a year and accept all major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. To request care for shingles, contact us via phone, app, or online.
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What Are Medications For Shingles
Antiviral medications like acyclovir , valacyclovir , or famciclovir can reduce the severity and duration of the rash if started within 72 hours of the development of the skin rash, and pain medications like acetaminophen , ibuprofen , and naproxen , and even narcoticpain-control medications may be useful in symptom control. In addition to medications, many people find that home care remedies can also provide relief for the pain of shingles.
Evidence Of Immunity To Varicella Includes:
- Documentation of age-appropriate varicella vaccination:
- Children age 12 months to 4 years: 1 dose of varicella vaccine.
- Children age 4 years and older, adolescents, and adults: 2 doses of varicella vaccine.
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What Is The Prognosis For Shingles What Are Possible Shingles Complications
Many cases of shingles go away by themselves, with or without treatment. The rash and pain should be gone in two to three weeks. However, shingles may last longer and be more likely to recur if the person is older, especially older than 50 years of age, or if they have a serious medical problem.
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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.
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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.
Who Is Most At Risk Of Getting Shingles
Although any person who has had chickenpox can get shingles, most people who do so are older than 50 or have a weakened immune system. For example, a person might be susceptible if they have cancer, take medicines that weaken their immune system, or have HIV or AIDS, even if they are younger than 50.
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Doctors Visits And Medications
Shingles medications are often more effective when they are started as early as possible, so prompt treatment can impact the severity and duration of symptoms.
If your loved one has a rash and is feeling sick, encourage them to see their doctor right away. Depending on how much pain they are experiencing, you might even want to make the appointment on their behalf and drive them to the doctors office to provide support during the initial and subsequent visits.
Once shingles has been diagnosed and a treatment plan established, your loved one might need assistance in picking up prescriptions and keeping track of medication doses.
Things to keep in mind:
- Some antivirals used to treat shingles can require multiple doses a day .
- Some prescription painkillers must be monitored closely to prevent overdose or physical dependenceall of which can be tough to juggle when youre in a lot of pain or experiencing fatigue.
Organizing prescriptions and reminding your loved one to take the right medication at the right time and at the right dosage can be one of the most important roles you have as a caregiver.
If your loved one has concerns about their signs or symptoms, medication side effects, or treatment plan, you can also encourage or help them direct those questions to their doctor.
Shingles Doctor Discussion Guide
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
- Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or post-herpetic neuralgia.
If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have post-herpetic neuralgia . Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.
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Exposed Individuals Without Evidence Of Immunity Should Be Offered Post
- Healthy individuals age 12 months and older should be given varicella vaccine within 5 days of exposure.
- The following individuals should receive VariZIG within 10 days of exposure:
- Immunocompromised individuals.
- Pregnant woman.
- Hospitalized preterm infants whose mother lacks evidence of immunity against varicella.
- Hospitalized preterm infants less than 28 weeks of gestation or birthweight of 1000g or less, regardless of maternal immunity.
- It is not indicated for newborn infants whose mother had onset of zoster around delivery to receive VariZIG. This differs from the varicella recommendations.
How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated
Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.
If pain doesnt lessen, other treatments such as nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine can be tried. Implantable nerve stimulator devices are an option for severe, ongoing pain that has not responded to other treatments.
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Control Measures For Patients With Localized Rash
- If the patient is immunocompetent and the rash is localized, follow standard precautions and cover all lesions until lesions are dry and crusted.
- If a patient is immunocompromised and the rash is localized, follow standard precautions plus airborne and contact precautions until disseminated infection is ruled out. If dissemination is ruled out, follow standard precautions and cover all lesions until lesions are crusted.
- Only health care workers with adequate evidence of immunity to varicella should care for patients with zoster.
What Are Complications Of Shingles
Though shingles often resolve without any major problems, several potential complications can arise from shingles.
- Postherpetic neuralgia : This is the most common complication of shingles. PHN is characterized by persistent pain and discomfort in the area affected by shingles. The pain can last for months to several years after the rash has cleared up. This complication is thought to occur because of damage to the affected nerves. The pain can sometimes be severe and difficult to control, and the likelihood of developing postherpetic neuralgia increases with age. This chronic post-herpetic pain can sometimes lead to depression and disability. In people 60 years of age and older with shingles, postherpetic neuralgia will develop in approximately 15%-25% of cases. It rarely occurs in people under 40 years of age. Timely treatment with antiviral medication during a shingles outbreak may help reduce the incidence of developing postherpetic neuralgia. If postherpetic neuralgia develops, there are various treatment options available including topical creams such as capsaicin , topical anesthetic lidocaine patches , antiseizure medications such as gabapentin , pregabalin , tricyclic antidepressant medications, and opioid pain medications. Intrathecal glucocorticoid injections may be useful for select patients with postherpetic neuralgia who do not respond to conventional medications and treatment measures.
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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.
Caregiving For Someone With Shingles
Depending on the severity of symptoms, your loved one might need help with a range of tasks, including following their treatment plan, managing symptoms, reducing stress, and seeking social support.
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How Long Does It Take For Shingles To Go Away
According to statistics, the blisters of shingles are usually crusted within 7 to 10 days and then clear completely after 3 to 5 weeks. In the beginning, you may feel burning or tingling pain accompanied by numbness or itching on the skin. Then after 1 to 5 days, the burning feeling will go away, but a red rash may appear on the skin.
When Should You See A Healthcare Provider For Shingles
If you experience persistent pain or a widespread itchy rash on the body or face, you should reach out to your healthcare provider. The National Institute of Aging recommends that you see your healthcare provider no later than three days after the rash or skin pain has appeared.
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to reducing your risk for complications, helping you to heal quicker and reduce the potential for scarring.
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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 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.
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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.
Can I Give Shingles To Others
No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from:
- Anyone who has never had chickenpox
- Babies under 12 months old
- Very sick people
Tell your doctor if you live with children who have not had chickenpox. They may need to be vaccinated.
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