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.
Shingles Risks And Pregnancy
Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described previously are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. Women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen in the later stages of pregnancy, but acetaminophen is considered safe. Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection.
What Causes The Virus To Recur
It is commonly believed that a weakness in the bodys immune system is the reason the virus starts to come out of its resting phase in the nerve endings and migrate to the surface of the skin. People who have compromised immune systems or disease are more likely to have more painful and prolonged outbreaks.
You May Like: Is There An Ointment For Shingles
What Does Shingles Herpes Zoster Look Like
The first thing you should notice is a patch of red spots that develop on the skin, causing the skin around them to turn pink/red. After a while these will blister, and can fill with blood or pus. After this, the blisters will scab, and fall off over a period of 2-3 weeks.
The rash presents on a single area of skin on one side of the body only, never crossing over to the other side. The shape of the rash wholly depends on the the nerve endings affected. While shingles can affect any area, the virus typically presents as a band running around half of the chest, or along the arm/leg. Dark scabs may present following the infection, especially if the attack is severe. It is not common for shingles to affect the area around the face, but in some cases it can present near the eye and cause further complications.
As the shingles virus appears, there may be more rashes like chicken pox that present. This often means that there could be a serious, widespread shingles reaction or that an underlying condition may be at fault.
Preventing The Virus Spreading
If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.
You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.
Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:
- women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
- people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
- babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus
Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.
Also Check: Is There Swelling With Shingles
Also Check: What To Do About Shingles Pain
Can We Cure Shingles
After a while, shingles will go away on its own. Your doctor may prescribe oral antiviral treatments to help clear rashes sooner. It helps some of the symptoms.
These medicines can help when it affects certain parts of the body.
- If shingles takes on or around the area affecting the eye, it is possible that the infection can lead to inflammation and ulcers of the structures supporting the eye. It can lead to potential scarring, glaucoma and/or blindness. If you are experiencing symptoms in these areas, contact your doctor immediately. They may refer you to an eye doctor for further treatments.
- When the muscles supplied by the affected nerves begin to feel symptoms, they may begin to weaken. This may be especially noticeable in the muscles of the face. They may even undergo temporary paralysis.
The pain associated with shingles may persist for a while after the infection clears. We call this pain postherpetic neuralgia. This usually occurs in the elderly. It can last for a range of 6 months to a year or more.
What Complications Are Associated With Sciatica
Most people recover fully from sciatica. However, chronic pain can be a complication of sciatica. If the pinched nerve is seriously injured, chronic muscle weakness, such as a drop foot, might occur, when numbness in the foot makes normal walking impossible. Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the affected legs. Call your provider right away if you lose feeling in your legs or feet, or have any concerns during your recovery time.
Don’t Miss: Shingles Treatment Cream Over The Counter
Are There Shingles Home Remedies
People who have shingles symptoms and signs should see their doctor as soon as possible, because antiviral medication is effective only if given early. Individuals with facial, nose, or eye symptoms and signs should seek medical care immediately.
- Do not scratch the skin where the rash is located. This may increase the risk of secondary bacterial infection and scarring. Over-the-counter antihistamines and topical creams can relieve the itching.
- After diagnosis and appropriate treatment, apply cool tap-water compresses to weeping blisters for 20 minutes several times a day to soothe and help dry the blisters. This also aids in removing the scabs and decreases the potential for bacterial infection. Tap-water compresses must be stopped once the blisters have dried, so the surrounding skin does not become too dry and itchy. Remember that weeping blisters contain the virus and are contagious to individuals who are susceptible to the chickenpox virus.
- Keep the area clean with mild soap and water. Application of petroleum jelly can aid in healing. Wear loose clothing to avoid extra pain from clothing rubbing against the rash. Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with others who have not had chickenpox, are ill, or who have a weakened immune system.
Should I See A Doctor For Shingles
It is usually worth seeing a doctor to be certain about the diagnosis and to see if you need treatment or not. Ideally you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the rash appears.
The rash of shingles can be very painful. So even if the doctor doesnât think you need an anti-shingles medicine, they may be able to give you stronger painkillers than those you can buy over the counter from the chemist.
Also Check: When Are You Not Contagious With Shingles
Also Check: Age For Shingles Vaccine 2021
Back Pain Of The Shingles
After a strenuous weekend of yard work I noticed the skin on parts of my back and legs had become very sensitive to touch. The best way to describe it was like mild sunburn. There were even a couple places around my waist that felt like they had been scratch, but there were no visible scratch marks.
On Friday night of that week my lower back started to hurt. This was right above the lumbar region where the kidneys are located, primarily on the right side. The sensitivity and pain radiated from the spine area, around my waist. It was difficult to sleep and I did lots of tossing and turning. On Saturday morning I got up, had some coffee, read the morning paper and felt better, ready for another weekend of tackling the backyard.
The back pain returned Saturday night, only worse. In the morning the pain would subside. I learned that just standing or walking around made the back pain go away and the more coffee I drank, the better I felt. But I still had the skin sensitivity.
Sunday night was the worse. I figured I had tweaked my back with all the bending over building the raised garden beds. On Monday morning the pain wasnt going away, even with copious amounts of really strong coffee. I then surmised that maybe I had a kidney stone. I started drinking lots of water, and coffee. I started feeling like I had the flu. I was achy, cold, fatigued, and not happy.
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.
Also Check: When Can You Get The Shingles Vaccine
Also Check: How Do I Treat Shingles At Home
Who Would Have Thought Amandas Story
The first time I had shingles, I noticed my left leg was extremely itchy just hours before leaving for work. I didnt think much of it I just thought I had an itch, so I kept scratching. But soon, my leg wasnt just itchy, I began to feel a lot of pain in the area I was scratching. The clinics werent open because it was the weekend, so I went to the emergency room. The ER doctor diagnosed me with shingles and prescribed Acyclovir®. With the help of Acyclovir, this first episode of shingles cleared up quickly, only lasting about four or five days. I didnt have any residual effects or pain after the first episode. I thought I was done with it. That was seven years ago.
How To Identify Shingles On Your Groin And Leg
Though a discolored rash or blistering is the most visible sign of shingles, they dont appear first. It starts with tingling and pain underneath your skin before a rash appears on your skin. In many cases, the pain caused by shingles persists with no blister or rash developing.
Then after a few days, a fluid-filled blister appears. Some of them turn crusty or burst open. The rash can be sensitive or itchy to the touch.
Some more symptoms to identify shingles may include
Also Check: What Medication To Use For Shingles
Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles
Occasionally some patients dont get the rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments that can be given early in the disease. If it turns out you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider allows any condition that you do have to be discovered and treated early in its course.
The shingles rash appears on the abdomen and face, neck and shoulders.
You May Like: Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
Additional Images And Regulations
Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
- Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
- CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance on other federal or private website.
CDC.gov Privacy Settings
We take your privacy seriously. You can review and change the way we collect information below.
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
Cookies used to make website functionality more relevant to you. These cookies perform functions like remembering presentation options or choices and, in some cases, delivery of web content that based on self-identified area of interests.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Meaning Of Shingles
Skin: Condition: Infomation To Treat The Pain Of Postherpetic Neuralgia
Using an anaesthetic ointment before applying a topical analgesic cream may help. The lidocaine can be bought over the counter, but the capsaicin cream needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Treatments that are sometimes also used include antidepressants and anticonvulsant tablets, as well as pain killers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Read Also: How Do You Get Shingles On Your Body
How We Can Help
When you are dealing with shingles pain, its very easy to think that youre on your own and that no one can understand what you are going through. We want to assure you that you are not on your own. In our years of experience, we have worked with many brave shingles pain sufferers, and we have been able to help manage their pain. We are excited to use our skills and expertise to help you.
After listening to you tell us about your pain, our goal is to work with you side-by-side in developing a short-term and a long-term pain management treatment. When you walk out of our clinic after the initial consultation, you will know clearly what our goals are, how we intend to help you, and what pain management for shingles requires from you.
Shingles is a disease that can leave your body racked with pain. Let us use our experience to help you manage your shingle pain and get back to living the life you deserve.
Dont Miss: Shingles Vaccine Near Me Cvs
Also Check: What Foods Should You Eat When You Have Shingles
What Are The Treatments For Shingles
Most of the time, treatment is not very effective and might not work well. The disease will take time and the symptoms will slowly settle on their own. Some people suffer more and might develop complications. In order to avoid these and not prolong the disease, consult a doctor the day you find any of the symptoms. Early consultations prevent a delay of medications and also encourage a faster recoverywithin two or three days.
A person may have a higher risk of the disease under the following conditions:
- If you are above fifty years of age
- If you are taking tablets for the disease, but the medication affects your immune system
- If you have shingles on parts of the body other than the stomach or chest
- If you have severe, intolerable pain
There are simple measures one should follow to help overcome the disease:
- Do your best to remain calm and not get emotional
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
What Does Shingles Look Like 11 Shingles Pictures Of Rashes
Do you have an itchy red rash? Think you might have shingles?
Iâll show you shingles pictures to help you figure out if you have the shingles rash and what stage its in. Iâll also provide pictures of especially extreme cases and discuss what to do if you have one of these more dangerous rashes.
Also Check: How Long Can Shingles Last
Who Is At Risk For Shingles
About 1 in 3 Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Cases are more common in older adults, but doctors say even children get shingles.
Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in their body. The virus can reactivate later, causing shingles.
Not everyone who had chickenpox will develop shingles, Wigand-Bolling noted.
Two other things to keep in mind: You cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles, the CDC says. However, you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles if youve never had chickenpox or never received the chickenpox vaccine.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Contraindications For The Shingles Vaccine
Shingles Symptoms: The Rash
The rash associated with herpes zoster begins as small blisters in a reddish background. New blisters form for the next few days, usually 3 to 5 days. Blisters emerge in a path of individual nerves in a specific ray-like distribution called a dermatomal pattern. Blisters tend to break out in a band-like pattern over an area of skin.
Don’t Miss: How Long Does The Shingles Nerve Pain Last
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.
Are Restless Leg Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Plantar Fasciitis Shingles Or Bursitis Related To Sciatica
While all these conditions affect either the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments or joints and all can cause pain, none are directly related to sciatica. The main causes of these conditions are different. Sciatica only involves the sciatic nerve. That being said, the most similar condition would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which also involves a compression of a nerve.
A final word about sciatica. . . .
Most cases of sciatica do not require surgery. Time and self-care treatment are usually all thats needed. However, if simple self-care treatments do not relieve your pain, see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can confirm the cause of your pain, suggest other treatment options and/or refer you to other spine health specialists if needed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2020.
Don’t Miss: Gutter Guards That Don’t Go Under Shingles