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.
Is There A Shingles Vaccination
In the UK there is a shingles vaccine immunisation programme for people aged 70 years to protect against herpes zoster. There is also a catch-up programme which offers the vaccine to anyone aged between 70 and 79 years who has previously missed out on immunisation. The vaccine is licensed for people aged over 50 years, and if you are not eligible for the vaccine on the NHS, your pharmacist may be able to provide the vaccine as a private service.
The chickenpox vaccine is not routinely given to children in the UK but is offered to people who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications – eg, people with a weakened immune system.
What Are Other Treatment Options For Shingles
Other treatment options that your doctor may recommend include:
- Prescription antiviral medicines such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir reduce the duration and severity of the infection. This is most effective when started within 72 hours of the onset of the rash
- Topical creams, lotions, patches, powders, and sprays for relieving shingles that typically contain topical acyclovir, lidocaine, and capsaicin. This typically provides a numbing effect.
- Antibiotics, which may be needed if bacteria infects the skin and rashes. If there is no bacteria infection, antibiotics will not be helpful.
- Painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Lotions containing calamine that can be used on open lesions to reduce pain and pruritus
- Anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, or numbing agents to help relieve pain
- Applying a wet compress to the area of skin that is experiencing pain and inflammation
- Oral intake or topical applications of antihistamines to relieve the itchiness
Other treatment options and lifestyle changes to manage shingles include:
Recommended Reading: What To Avoid When You Have Shingles
Homemade And Natural Remedies For Shingles Pain
Some traditional, time-honored home remedies have proven to offer constructive pain relief for shingles patients.
A cold compress applied intermittently for five or 10 minutes at a time provides relief to the extreme skin sensitivity that often comes with a shingles rash. The compress shouldnt be too freezing, the temperature of your refrigerator should fit the bill. Wrap the compress in cloth to make a shield between it and your delicate, fragile skin. Be gentle, overly extreme coldness can worsen the condition.
You can also draw a healing bath using different recipes. Keeping the afflicted skin clean is a good measure toward healing. First, theres the conventional oatmeal bath of ground up or colloidal oatmeal added to lukewarm bathwater.
- How Do You Get Shingles More Than Once? Recurring and Contagiousness
- More Info on Shingles from ICD10 and CDC: History, Code, Guidelines
Second, you can try baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. This natural compound yields thousands of uses and is an effective cleanser. Third, cornstarch, as strange and unconventional as it may seem, can also be added to the bathtub for itching relief. Whichever ingredient you choose, be sure to avoid hot water at all costs, which can stimulate blood flow and aggravate your blisters.
Until the outbreak clears, only wear loose clothing made of linen or light cotton and always resist the compulsion to scratch at your rashes.
New Treatment Impressive For Pain Following Shingles
Nov. 22, 2000 Once the unsightly, red blisters of shingles go away, the agony of the herpes zoster infection has only just begun for those patients who develop the excruciating complication called postherpetic neuralgia. Because the burning, stabbing pain lasts for months or even years, and can be triggered by even the lightest breeze or even the touch of clothing on the affected area, many patients are afraid to leave the house, and may even contemplate suicide.
Although there are currently no good treatments for postherpetic neuralgia, a new study reported in the Nov. 23, 2000 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine showed that injecting steroids into the spinal canal offered impressive pain relief. The steroid methylprednisolone relieves pain by decreasing inflammation around the source of the nerves, suggest authors Naoki Kotani, MD, and colleagues from the anesthesiology department at the University of Hirosaki School of Medicine in Japan.
You have to try the usual treatments first, C. Peter N. Watson, MD, tells WebMD. These include anesthetic skin patches, capsaicin cream, antidepressant and antiseizure medications, anti-inflammatory drugs that dont contain steroids, and even narcotics.
Watson applauds the authors for a well-done and well-designed study, but recommends repeating it with larger numbers of patients followed for longer periods.
Dont Miss: Shingrix Walgreens
Don’t Miss: Shingles Vaccine Cost Without Insurance
Can Hydrocortisone Cream Be Used On Shingles Rash
No matter how you come down with shingles, the rash can be very itchy and uncomfortable. One of the most common questions people ask is if hydrocortisone cream can be used to reduce itching. It turns out that there are mixed reviews on this topic some say yes, others no. So whats the answer? We will examine both sides of this argument in order to help you decide whether or not you should use hydrocortisone cream for your shingles rash.
Steroid Medication For Shingles
Steroids help to reduce swelling . A short course of steroid tablets may be considered in addition to antiviral medication. This may help to reduce pain and speed healing of the rash. However, the use of steroids in shingles is controversial. Your doctor will advise you. Steroids do not prevent PHN.
Don’t Miss: How To Schedule Shingles Vaccine At Cvs
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.
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.
Before Taking This Medicine
Steroids can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection or worsening an infection you already have. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you had within the past several weeks.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
herpes infection of the eyes or
a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis.
Long-term use of steroids may lead to bone loss , especially if you smoke, if you do not exercise, if you do not get enough vitamin D or calcium in your diet, or if you have a family history of osteoporosis.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. However, using this medicine during pregnancy may cause a hormone deficiency in the newborn. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using this medicine.
You May Like: How Often Does One Need The Shingles Vaccine
How Should I Use This Medicine
This medicine is only for external use on cold sores. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Wash hands before and after use. Use a finger cot or rubber gloves so that you do not spread the infection to another site. Apply a thin layer to cover all lesions. Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If you do, rinse out with plenty of cool tap water. Do not bathe, shower, or swim within 30 minutes of applying this medicine. Use this medicine at regular intervals. Do not use more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your doctor or health care professional even if you think you are better. Do not stop using except on your doctors advice. Talk to your doctor if your cold sore is not better in 2 weeks.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 6 years of age, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
How Do Hydrocortisone Cream And Ointment Work
Skin inflammation happens when an allergic reaction or irritation of the skin causes various substances to be released in the skin that make blood vessels widen and result in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful.
Hydrocortisone acts inside the skin cells to stop the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces the swelling, redness and itching and so helps prevent scratching that can further irritate the skin.
Hydrocortisone is a mild corticosteroid that can be applied to the skin to treat a wide variety of inflammatory skin reactions, such as reactions to plants, insect bites, jewellery, toiletries, deodorants, soaps and detergents. It’s also used to treat various forms of mild eczema.
Also Check: Can Shingles Last For Months
Hydrocortisone Topical Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
worsening of your skin condition
redness, warmth, swelling, oozing, or severe irritation of any treated skin
high blood sugarincreased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor or
possible signs of absorbing this medicine through your skinweight gain , slow wound healing, thinning or discolored skin, increased body hair, muscle weakness, nausea, diarrhea, tiredness, mood changes, menstrual changes, sexual changes.
Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Eutectic Mixture Of Local Anesthetics Cream
EMLA cream is a prescription medication made up of a 1-to-1 ratio of 2.5 percent lidocaine and 2.5 percent prilocaine.
A 2018 case study of one person found that EMLA cream may make an effective alternative to lidocaine cream for treating PHN in people with special situations like kidney failure. However, theres not much available research about its effectiveness. Most existing research is from the 1980s and 90s.
A doctor can give you specific instructions on how to use EMLA cream.
You May Like: Does Shingles Vaccine Help With Genital Herpes
How Does Canesten Hydrocortisone Cream Work
Canesten hydrocortisone cream contains the antifungal clotrimazole and hydrocortisone.
Clotrimazole kills fungi and yeasts by causing holes to appear in fungal cell membranes. This allows essential constituents of the fungal cells to leak out, which kills the fungi and clears up the infection. Clotrimazole also kills some types of bacteria.
Hydrocortisone 1% is a mild topical corticosteroid that reduces inflammation in the skin by stopping skin cells from producing inflammatory substances such as prostaglandins. These are normally released when the skin reacts to irritation or infection. They cause blood vessels to widen and other inflammatory substances to arrive, making the affected area of skin become red, swollen and itchy. By stopping them being released in the skin, hydrocortisone reduces inflammation and relieves redness and itchiness.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Does Shingles Look Like When It Starts
Topicals Are Not A Substitute For Medical Treatment
Topical products can help you manage your symptoms. But they arent a substitute for proper medical treatment.
Its important to visit your doctor if youre dealing with shingles. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs and other medications that can shorten the duration of your infection and help you avoid severe complications.
The following creams may be able to help you manage shingles symptoms.
Common Questions About Hydrocortisone Tablets
The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They produce 2 hormones called cortisol and aldosterone.
If your adrenal glands are not making enough cortisol, hydrocortisone tablets work by replacing the hormone and bringing your levels up to normal.
This depends on why youre taking them.
If you take hydrocortisone tablets because your body cannot make enough cortisol , youll usually need to take them for the rest of your life.
If you stop taking hydrocortisone tablets suddenly it may cause your symptoms to come back. You may also get dangerous withdrawal symptoms including:
- severe tiredness
Read Also: Terrasil Shingles Skincare Ointment Coupon
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 cannot move the muscles in your face.
- Blisters spread to new parts of your body.
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.
Which Antiviral Medication Is Best For Shingles
The antiviral medications used to treat shingles are , , and . They are all effective at helping shingles rashes crust over and heal, and they help reduce pain as you are healing.
In head-to-head studies, a 7-day course of valacyclovir worked faster than a 7-day course of acyclovir at reducing pain. Famciclovir is equivalent to valacyclovir for healing shingles rashes and reducing pain from them. Acyclovir needs to be taken 5 times a day, while Famciclovir and valacyclovir both need to be taken 3 times a day.
Its worth noting that these antiviral medications dont prevent postherpetic neuralgia, which can happen to some people with shingles. And antiviral ointments like Zovirax will do nothing for the rash from shingles.
Read Also: What Does Shingles Look Like Images
If You Forget To Use It
If it is almost time for your next application of Hydrozole Cream, skip the application you missed and apply the cream when you are next meant to. Otherwise, use it as soon as you remember, and then go back to using your cream as you would normally.
Do not use a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.
If you have trouble remembering to use your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.
Treat Your Body And Mind
You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.
5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:
- Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
- Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
- Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.
6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Shingles In Your Mouth
How And When To Take Hydrocortisone Tablets
Hydrocortisone tablets come as standard or slow-release tablets. They are also available as a soluble tablet that you dissolve in water before use.
Your pharmacist or doctor will tell you which type of hydrocortisone tablets you’re taking and how to take them. Always follow the instructions that come with your medicine.