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.
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Is Shingles On The Scalp Contagious
The answer isnt exactly straightforward. Whether or not its contagious depends on who you come into contact with.
- Fact: Shingles is triggered when the varicella-zoster virus becomes active after an extended period of hibernation. What this means is that you cant directly pass shingles from one person to another, like you would the flu or an STI. If you come into contact with someone when you have shingles, theyre not at risk of catching it from you.
If you pass the virus on to someone who hasnt been exposed to it, you might give them chickenpox. When the varicella-zoster virus first infects a person, it comes out as chickenpox. Most people develop chickenpox in childhood, so its unlikely that youd give it to an adult. If the person does develop chickenpox from exposure to your virus, they may go on to develop shingles later in life. They wont get it directly from you, though.
If the person has already had chickenpox before, theyre not usually at risk. This is because their body will have developed antibodies against chickenpox. Although it is technically possible for someone to catch chickenpox a second time, it is very rare.
Its also worth noting that youre only contagious when your blisters are open and oozing fluid. Once they scab over again, its almost impossible to pass the virus on.
Skin Care And Itch Relief For Shingles
To relieve itching and discomfort, try:
- A cool, wet compresses on the affected skin
- Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion
- Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin
- Antihistamines to reduce itching
Keep your skin clean. Throw away bandages you use to cover your skin sores. Throw away or wash in hot water clothing that has contact with your skin sores. Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.
While your skin sores are still open and oozing, avoid all contact with anyone who has never had chickenpox, especially pregnant women.
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Do I Have To Visit A Doctor
Most cases of shingles are manageable from home and clear up by themselves. However, it can be quite a serious condition.
- You should see a doctor if youre not entirely sure whether its shingles. A doctor will be able to examine your rash and, if necessary, carry out some tests. That way, you can be sure what the problem is, and whether youre getting the right treatment.
- If your rash is in a vulnerable place such as around the eyes, ears or nose you should see a doctor. Shingles around these areas can develop into more severe conditions. If you see a doctor when the rash first develops, they can administer treatment quickly. This will make it less likely that your shingles will cause complications.
- If youre with the pain of shingles on the scalp, it also might be a good idea to see a doctor. They might prescribe pain management medication, such as pills or creams. You can take drugs like acetaminophen at home, but you might need something stronger if the pain is particularly bad.
Doctors are also able to recommend antiviral tablets. While this wont make the virus go away immediately, it can reduce the length of the illness. It can also reduce the severity of the blisters and associated pain.
Is The Condition Curable
There is no cure for shingles, but attacks can be rendered less severe and their duration shortened with the use of prescription antiviral drugs.
Several antiviral medicinesacyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovirare available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective if you start taking them as soon as possible after the rash appears. If you think you have shingles, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment.
Pain medicine, either over-the-counter or a prescription from your doctor, may help relieve the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths can also help relieve itching.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles On The Scalp
If you have shingles on the scalp, there are specific symptoms that youre bound to notice:
Stick To Loose Cotton Clothes
While your skin heals, it can feel extremely uncomfortable and even painful. Loose cotton clothing may help ease that discomfort.
To fight itch, “wear loose-fitting clothes with soft natural fibers such as cotton or linen,” said Dr. Strowd. “These will be more comfortable than tight synthetic fabrics or wool clothing garments.”
In addition, covering with cotton clothing will help you avoid infecting others, who could get chickenpox and later shingles. You are contagious until the shingles rash clears. That’s why dermatologists often recommend that you cover your rash to help prevent spreading the virus.
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How Often Should I Wash My Hair
Shampooing is a personal choice for everyone and one size does not fit all, Abramite said. On average, people shampoo daily or at least once a week. The decision is typically made on how dirty the hair looks or feels from a build-up of product, dirt or oil in the hair or how physically active someone is at the gym.
Though different for everyone, Fitzsimons recommends looking closely at your hair type.
Frequent shampooing depletes your hairs natural oils and dries out your scalp, he said. The average person can go two to three days without shampooing their hair. People with fine or greasy hair should wash their hair every other day in general.
On the other hand, those with medium to thick, wavy, curly, coiled or damaged hair can normally go two to four days without washing depending on if your curly hair has product buildup, your scalp is itchy or if you exercise regularly you can swap in co-washing between washes.
Best Shampoos For Thinning Or Fine Hair
First things first fine hair is when the stands are slender in diameter compared to coarse hair where the diameter is larger, according to Abramite.
A densifying shampoo plumps the size of strands with hyaluronic acid making hair feel thicker through hydration, she said. For hair thinning from breakage due to heat styling or chemical over-processing, a repairing shampoo is best.
As for ingredients, Fitzsimons recommends caffeine, green tea, pumpkin seed and rosemary oil, specifically. Caffeine promotes hair growth by stimulating hair follicles, he adds. Green tea, pumpkin seed and rosemary prevents hair loss by strengthening hair follicles.
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- Pairs well with: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Multiplying Volume Conditioner, $55
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Can I Get Shingles More Than Once
You may have heard that if youve already had chickenpox once, you cant get it again. It might make sense, then, to assume that the same goes for shingles. After all, its the same virus, right?
However, its a misconception. First of all, you can develop chickenpox a second time if youve already had it once. Its quite rare, but it is indeed possible.
Secondly, shingles arent the same as chickenpox. Even though the same virus is responsible for both conditions, they are entirely different. Getting shingles a second time isnt as rare as getting chickenpox twice. When your bout of shingles goes away, the virus goes back into hibernation. This means that it has the potential to become active again later in your life.
In the first few years after your first bout of shingles, the chances of getting it again are slim. In fact, the chance of developing shingles again is lower than it is for someone who has never had it. As the years go on, the odds go up again. Eventually, you have about the same chance of developing shingles as everyone else.
Luckily though, it is extremely rare to develop shingles a third time.
Shingles Vaccine Side Effects
The shingles vaccine has not been shown to cause any serious side effects or health consequences. Minor side effects of the vaccine include redness, swelling, soreness, or itching at the site of injection, and headache. It is safe for those who have received the shingles vaccine to be around babies or those with weakened immune systems. It has not been shown that a person can develop chickenpox from getting the shingles vaccine, although some people who receive the vaccine may develop a mild chickenpox-like rash near the injection site. This rash should be kept covered and will disappear on its own.
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What Could It Be If Its Not Shingles
By now, you know the causes, symptoms, and treatments of shingles, as well as the most frequently asked questions. If youve decided that your symptoms dont match scalp shingles, you might be wondering what else it could be. There are many conditions that could cause a rash on the scalp, so well take you through the most common ones.
One common cause of a rash on the scalp is psoriasis. This rash looks quite different from shingles, although it is just as itchy. Rather than blisters that fill with fluid, psoriasis is a dry, scaly rash. So if youre suffering from patches of silvery, flaky skin on your scalp, psoriasis could be the cause. Seborrheic dermatitis also produces very similar symptoms to psoriasis.
You could also have a fungal infection of the scalp. Tinea capitis is a common fungal infection that causes very itchy, dry patches of skin on the scalp. Its usually accompanied by hair loss in the area of the rash. Tinea capitis can also cause a low fever and swollen lymph nodes, symptoms that it has in common with shingles.
If you have a very itchy, irritated scalp, you could even have head lice. Contrary to popular belief, its not just children who catch head lice. They dont cause a rash, but their bites do cause itchiness. If you scratch your head too much, it can result in sores that might resemble a shingles rash.
Shingles Affecting The Scalp
Shingles is characterized by a visible rash or blisters that you may develop. The rash and blisters are said to be painful and can cause depression as they are definitely not nice to look at. While the pain can be lessened by medications, the other complications this virus brings can really cause a lot of inconvenience to the infected individual.
In addition to the items above, shingles can be hard to manage if it has started to affect your scalp and hair. It usually happens when the rash reaches the scalp. Proper scalp care and gentle hair treatments are ways to prevent any permanent damage to your scalp and hair.
In general, if you are infected with the virus that causes shingles, you can develop a rash on any part of your body, but it is normally localized or concentrated on one area like the neck or the face. Aside from the rash, you may also develop blisters.
When both reach the scalp, it can make the scalp sensitive and will lead to difficult grooming. The viral infection may also leave you with bald patches if treatment is not properly performed.
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Hearing Loss And Facial Weakness
Complications of herpes zoster oticus and Ramsay Hunt syndrome might include hearing loss and facial weakness. For most people, these are temporary symptoms, but it is possible for the damage to become permanent, especially if shingles is left untreated.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome accounts for up to 12% of facial paralysis. In some cases, it has a worse outcome than Bells palsya condition that causes temporary weakness in the muscles of the face.
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Good Drugstore Shampoo For Colored Hair: Loreal Paris Everpure Sulfate
Colored hair usually refers to any tresses in a shade that wouldnât be naturally occurring, i.e., the strands are dyed, bleached, or chemically treated in some way. Carter says that this type is generally very susceptible to damage and breakage as the chemicals used to change their hue are usually harsh on hair.âAs such, it is important to use gentle shampoo and conditioner formulas, and to avoid heat styling whenever possible,â she says.
For this type of hair, Ellsworth emphasizes the importance of selecting not only sulfate- and paraffin-free products, but those free of sodium chloride. Yates advises folks to seek products with argan oil, a ânatural oil adds shine and enhances color-treated hairâs overall beauty.â
She suggests LâOrealâs EverPure sulfate-free glossing shampoo, which is paraben-free, suited for all colored hair types and textures, and leaves strands with a shiny finish.
If you’re looking for another alternative, Clearwater recommends you only cleanse your colored hair with products your stylist has recommended. âThe shampoo and conditioner stylist recommends is more than likely formulated to retain the hair color and can the results,â she says.
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Mild Shampoo For Dry Hair
Dry hair develops when your hair doesnt retain enough moisture. Mild shampoos are an excellent choice for dry hair as they provide mild cleansing and good conditioning, but wont strip your hair of its much needed natural oils.
If you have dry hair, always use a conditioner after you shampoo and consider applying hair oils or leave-in conditioners after you shower.
Causes Of Shingles On Scalp
Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox known as the varicella-zoster virus.
If youre currently suffering from shingles, chances are you recovered from chickenpox earlier, and the virus then remains dormant in the body and revives if triggered somehow.
But therere additional risk factors such as:
- An illness that weakens your immunity
- Undergoing cancer treatment
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Other Complications Of Shingles
If the shingles rash appears around the eye or forehead, it can cause eye infections and temporary or permanent loss of vision. If the shingles virus attacks the ear, people may develop hearing or balance problems. In rare cases, the shingles virus may attack the brain or spinal cord. These complications can often be prevented by beginning treatment for shingles as soon as possible.
Proper Treatment For The Scalp When Infected With Shingles
When you are infected with shingles and the infection has reached the scalp or hair, proper scalp and hair treatment is necessary. Below are some of the scalp and hair care strategies that you can try to alleviate the pain brought by the viral infection.
- Use cold compresses or apply cold water to the affected area on the scalp. Put it directly on the rash to lower the pain and itchiness.
- Apply menthol lotion or soothing cream to your head to give it a relaxing feel.
- Avoid the use of soaps or shampoos with a high chemical content. Scented soaps and shampoos may worsen your condition.
- Use warm water when taking a shower or washing your head. Do not use hot water as it will cause more pain.
- Do no scrub or scratch your scalp when taking a shower. Gently use your fingertips, not the nails, when you want to massage your scalp.
- Towel dry your hair gently after washing.
- As much as possible, do not brush or comb your hair anymore than necessary. But if you need to, do it gently without scraping the scalp area.
- Avoid using hair solutions with high chemical content such as gel, spray net, mousse, and the like.
- Visit a dermatologist and have your scalp checked on a regular basis. Your doctor will normally prescribe ointments or scalp cream to alleviate the pain and itchiness of your scalp.
- Anti-viral medicines prescribed by your doctor can also help reduce the spread of the viral infection.
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