Saturday, February 24, 2024

What Can Be Done For Shingles

Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

New treatment for the pain of 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.

What Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Look Like

Not everyone with shingles will develop a blistering rash. A mild case of shingles may include a red rash without blisters. The shingles rash and blisters are distinct characteristics of the illness. Mild cases of shingles do not usually cause headaches, fever, or fatigue.

Whether mild or severe, pain is the most common symptom of shingles. Most people describe a deep burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensation. The pain usually subsides within 30 days.

If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital

Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:

  • Youll be in a contact isolation room.
  • The door will be kept closed.
  • A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
  • The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.

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Know The Bathing Dos And Donts

Using the right water temperature while bathing or showering can make a big difference in how your skin feels and heals. Ideally, you should bathe with cool or lukewarm water and avoid very hot water.

You can also apply a cool, wet compress to the rash and blisters. The AAD recommends you soak a clean washcloth in cold water and place the cloth on top of the affected area several times a day. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.

You should avoid rubbing washcloths, sponges, or exfoliants on the area.

You can also add colloidal oatmeal or cornstarch to your baths to provide some much-needed itch relief. Just be sure to dry your skin gently after getting out of the bath. Then, follow up with a layer of calamine lotion to soothe your skin, or keep it dry and cover with a bandage if its still weeping.

Rebooting The Nervous System

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Its like restarting a computer, Dr. Rosenquist says. When its running slowly or acting weird, you restart it. We are trying to turn that nerve off. When it comes back on, hopefully, it will send an appropriate transmission as opposed to a pain transmission.

Treatmentoptions for PHN patients include:

  • Intercostal nerve blocks: A local anesthetic can be injected between two ribs.
  • Thoracic epidural injections: Anti-inflammatory medicine can be injected into the space around the spinal cord to decrease nerve root inflammation and reduce pain.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: Medications such as amitriptyline may be used to relieve pain.
  • Membrane stabilizers: Medications such as gabapentin can be used to reduce the pain associated with PHN.
  • Capsaicin cream: This topical cream can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain temporarily.
  • Patientswith refractory PHN rarely need opioid pain medication. However,you should be evaluated by a physician. We cant make a blanket statement abouttreatment. It is individualized, she says.

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    Treatment Of Pain After Shingles

    Treatment for people with PHN may include:

    • Nerve blocks: Local anesthetic or alcohol injected directly into the nerve affected
    • Thoracic epidural injections: Local injection in the space around the spinal cord
    • Antidepressant medications: Such as amitriptyline
    • Membrane stabilizers: Such as gabapentin
    • Capsaicinapplication: Topical cream applied to the affected area

    How Is Shingles Spread

    A person must have already had chickenpox in the past to develop shingles. A person cannot get shingles from a person that has shingles. However, the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox or had the chickenpox vaccine. The person exposed to the virus would develop chickenpox, not shingles. A person with shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. The blister fluid is filled with virus particles. The virus is spread through direct contact with the rash or through breathing in virus particles that get mixed in the air. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. A person is not infectious before blisters appear or if pain persists after the rash is gone .

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    What Brings On An Attack Of Shingles

    Its difficult to predict when a shingles episode might happen again. However, there are some risk factors you should consider.

    • Unhealthy lifestyle
    • Acute on chronic stress

    The first risk factor is age. If you are above the age of 50, ask your doctor about the shingles vaccine. In addition to being an effective shingles treatment, this vaccine is used to prevent shingles.

    The second risk factor of shingles is immunity. If your immune system is weakened by illness or medication, you are at risk for contracting shingles or experiencing another shingles episode. Fortunately, you can naturally strengthen your immune system with the right diet and vitamins.

    Citrus fruits, green vegetables, organic meat, eggs, whole grains, and dairy products are all part of a healthy diet. You should avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and arginine-rich foods, like nuts and seeds.

    Additionally, take a multivitamin that includes vitamin A, B-12, C, and E. The amino acid lysine is also protective against infection. Many people over the age of 60 are deficient in zinc, selenium, and vitamin D. You may need to incorporate these supplements into your daily routine as well. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations as to which vitamins and supplements you need.

    Can You Do Regular Activities With Shingles

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    Whether or not you can continue with your regular activities while dealing with an active shingles infection depends on how you feel and whether youre still contagious.

    Some people experience minor symptoms, while others have severe pain, itching, burning, and widespread, fluid-filled blisters for several weeks.

    If your rash is oozing, you can spread shingles to other people. If the rash hasnt scabbed over yet, and its in an area that cant be covered, consider:

    • staying home from work, school, or other daily activities where you interact with others
    • avoiding contact sports and swimming
    • not sharing towels, blankets, or clothes without washing them first

    Additionally, shingles can cause flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, and upset stomach, which can derail your regular daily activities.

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    Natural Remedies For Shingles

    Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The varicella zoster virus causes this viral infection. Its the same virus that causes chickenpox.

    If you had chickenpox as a child, the shingles virus lies dormant in your body. The virus can reactivate later in life and cause a shingles rash. The rash can occur on any part of your body but typically only affects small sections.

    Pain is usually the first symptom of shingles. The rash and fluid-filled blisters form within a couple of days after the onset of pain. Some people with shingles also have a fever, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles at some point in their lifetime.

    The shingles virus can last between two and six weeks. Shingles isnt life-threatening, but some people experience postherpetic neuralgia. This is when nerve fibers become damaged, causing shingles pain that lasts for weeks or months after the rash clears.

    Theres no cure for shingles, but your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help shorten the duration of the virus and reduce symptoms.

    Although an antiviral is an effective treatment for shingles, its not the only option. Several natural remedies may also reduce pain and discomfort.

    Dry your body completely and then wash your towel to avoid spreading the virus to others.

    • orange and yellow fruits

    How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated

    If you think you might have shingles, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Its important to see your doctor no later than three days after the rash starts. The doctor will confirm whether you have shingles and can make a treatment plan. Most cases can be diagnosed from a visual examination. If you have a condition that weakens the immune system, your doctor may order a shingles test. Although there is no cure for shingles, early treatment with antiviral medications can help the blisters clear up faster and limit severe pain. Shingles can often be treated at home.

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    What Is The Best Medication For Shingles

    Your healthcare provider will determine the best medication for your case of shingles based on your symptoms, medical history, and response to shingles treatment. Heres an overview of the popular shingles medications that your doctor may prescribe.

    Best medication for shingles
    One 0.65 ml injection in the upper arm Irritation of the injection site or chickenpox-like rash near the injection site or headache

    Dosage is determined by your healthcare provider based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight.

    Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.

    What Causes Internal Shingles

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    The varicella zoster virus causes shingles. Its the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a bout of chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in the body and settles in certain nerves and tissue of the nervous system. Later in life, the virus can reactivate and present itself as shingles. Shingles typically appears on the skin along the nerve path where it had been previously dormant. If the reactivation of the virus becomes severe, it can affect not only the skin but other organs too. This is what is called systemic or internal shingles.

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    How To Use Valtrex

    Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking valacyclovir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

    Take valacyclovir by mouth, with or without food, as directed by your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to lower the chance of side effects.

    The dosage and length of treatment are based on your type of infection, medical condition, and response to treatment. For treating chickenpox in children, the dosage is also based on weight.

    This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment. For shingles or chickenpox, start taking valacyclovir at the first symptom or as soon as possible after the rash appears. For cold sores or genital herpes, start taking this medication at the first sign or as soon as you feel tingling, itching, or burning.

    Valacyclovir works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

    Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctor’s approval.

    Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

    Risk Factors For Nerve Pain After Shingles

    Researchers have long known that older people are more likely to get PHN, the nerve pain after shingles, but recent studies have found other factors that increase risks.

    In one study published in the journal Neurology, researchers — including Dworkin — looked at data from 965 people with shingles. The researchers identified five risk factors for developing PHN in people who had been recently diagnosed with shingles:

    • Presence of symptoms before the rash appeared, like numbness, tingling, itching, or pain
    • Severe pain during the illness’s initial stages

    Importantly, the researchers found the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of developing PHN.

    For instance, 17% of women with shingles and 26% of those who had severe pain went on to get PHN. But 50% of women who were over age 60 and had symptoms before the rash, severe rash, and acute pain went on to get PHN.

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    Treatment For Shingles On Scalp

    Shingles is most commonly diagnosed and treated by a primary-care physician or an emergency-room physician. For certain individuals who develop complications of shingles, a specialist in ophthalmology, neurology, or infectious disease may also be involved.

    The treatment for shingles is aimed at diminishing the effects of the virus, as well as pain management. There are several medications that can be used, and your doctor will discuss the best treatment options for your particular situation.

    Help Is Available For Phn

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    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.

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    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.

    Who Should Not Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

    You shouldnt receive the Shingrix vaccine if you:

    • Have ever had a severe allergy to this vaccine or any ingredient in this vaccine.
    • Are breastfeeding or pregnant.
    • Currently have shingles.
    • Are ill and have a high fever.
    • Have tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus .

    Ask your healthcare provider if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh any potential risks.

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    What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

    Sometimes, particularly in older people, shingles pain persists long after the rash has healed. This is postherpetic neuralgia, defined as pain lasting three months after onset of the rash. Pain can be mild or severethe most severe cases can lead to insomnia, weight loss, depression, and disability. There may be other sensations, such as tingling, coldness, or loss of feeling. About 20 percent of people age 70 or greater who develop shingles may have long-lasting pain. Postherpetic neuralgia is not directly life-threatening and may get better over time.

    About a dozen medications in four categories have been shown in clinical trials to provide some pain relief for postherpetic neuralgia. These include:

    Tricyclic antidepressants : TCAs are often the first type of drug given to people suffering from postherpetic neuralgia. The TCA amitryptiline was commonly prescribed in the past, but although effective, it has a high rate of side effects. Desipramine and nortriptyline have fewer side effects and are therefore better choices for older adults, the most likely group to have postherpetic neuralgia.

    Common side effects of TCAs include dry eyes and mouth, constipation, and impaired memory. People with heart arrhythmias , previous heart attacks, or narrow angle glaucoma should usually use a different class of drugs.

    Postherpetic itch

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    Avoid Scratching The Blisters

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    It might be tempting to scratch or pick at the blisters, especially if theyre causing you discomfort. Know that theyll eventually crust over and fall off if you leave them alone.

    Scratching at blisters or scabs can lead to infection and scarring. Cleaning and covering them regularly with a new sterile bandage can help reduce the likelihood that youll pick at the rash.

    Keeping the rash clean is one part of the process. The other is to make sure you bandage it properly, especially if the rash is still weeping .

    When dealing with a painful shingles rash, your best bet is to use bandages that are:

    When youre switching the dressing, allow the skin to dry before covering it with a new bandage.

    In addition to keeping the rash protected, bandaging also prevents you from passing the varicella-zoster virus to another person. Be sure to keep bandages on any areas of the rash that havent scabbed over yet.

    While shingles isnt contagious, the virus that causes it can be passed to anyone who hasnt had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. If they come into skin-to-skin contact with the fluid that oozes from a shingles blister, they could end up with chickenpox, according to

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    What Should You Expect If You Get Shingles

    Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and end symptoms earlier.

    A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If youve never had shingles in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

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