Finally Use A Cool Water Compresses
Cool water may soothe the burning sensation from both your rash and mild PHN pain. Depending on the location, you could potentially put a cool pack on it, Dr. Kotton says, though she notes this wont help much for severe pain. Soak a cloth in ice water, take it out, and apply directly to the affected area. Ahhhhh. Another soother to consider? This pain very likely won’t last forever, even if you have PHN. In the meantime, though, these tips will help you get through the worst of it.
Can You Do Regular Activities With Shingles
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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How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Diagnosed
Its imperative that people suffering from shingles be under the care of a doctor. Follow-up care should include appointments to determine any lasting complications. The patient should share any and all symptoms with the doctor, who can determine if the length of time and combination of symptoms should lead to the diagnosis of postherpetic neuralgia.
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Are There Other Ways To Ease The Pain
Most people with postherpetic neuralgia use medication to control their symptoms. But there are other ways to control the pain, too. They include:
TENS : You use a device that shoots tiny electrical currents into the area of pain on the skin. This helps block the pain.
Cold packs: Try a gel-filled one to numb the area unless cooler objects make your neuralgia worse.
Comfortable clothes: Go for looser fits and fabrics such as cotton and silk.
Lasting Pain After Shingles
Pain that continues for a long time after a shingles rash has disappeared is called post-herpetic neuralgia. This is the most common complication of shingles. Its still not clear how it can be prevented or what the best treatment is.
Shingles typically causes a rash accompanied by pain in the affected area. The pain normally goes away when the rash goes away. This usually happens after two to four weeks. Pain that continues for longer is referred to as post-herpetic neuralgia. The word post-herpetic means post-herpes because the pain arises after infection by the herpes zoster virus. In very rare cases pain can come back after a shingles infection, even if it had already gone away and the rash has disappeared.
The main symptom of post-herpetic neuralgia is pain in the nerves . The skin is often overly sensitive and itchy as well. This can make it difficult or painful to wash yourself, turn over in bed, or hug someone. The pain and itching can be very severe and might keep you from sleeping.
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Home Care For Shingles
Colloidal oatmeal baths are an old standby for relieving the itch of chickenpox and can help with shingles, as well. To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Gentle exercise or a favorite activity may help keep your mind off the discomfort.
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How To Prevent Nerve Damage
There are a few things you should always do before and after your runs to reduce your risk of nerve damage.
Wear proper shoes
Prescription of proper fitting shoes with the addition of customized foot orthotics or braces to neutralize biomechanical or structural pathologies , says Trepal.
Finding shoes that doesnt restrict your toes is key.
To do so, grab a shoe and take the insoles out. Put them on the ground and stand on them. You should have ½ to ¾-inches in front of your longest toe, suggests King.
Since running is a very linear sport where similar muscles get activated, it can leave you with weaknesses, especially in core and flexibility, if you dont focus on exercises that work all other parts of your body.
The best runners are the best cross-trainers. If the only thing you do is run and dont focus on resistance training, light biking, or rowing it can lead to muscle weakness and imbalance.
A good rule of thumb: run 4 to 5 times week, and cross-train 2 to 3 times.
Contact Dermatitis Can Cause A Rash And Blisters
Contact dermatitis can also cause a rash, blisters, itching, and burning, per the ACAAI. It occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or an allergen, such as soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, metals, medications, and more. Allergens like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can cause red, itchy rashes that may include blisters. Treatment can offer relief and aid healing.
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Can Shingles And Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented
Shingles can only be prevented if you never have chickenpox, or if you have very good immunity against the chickenpox virus . Most people in the UK have chickenpox as a child. However, immunity to the chickenpox virus reduces as you become older.
There is a vaccine against the varicella-zoster virus which is now offered routinely to people in the UK aged 70-79 years. The efficacy of the vaccine declines with age and so it is not recommended for people aged 80 years or older. This vaccine is the most effective way of preventing the development of PHN. It is a very effective and safe vaccine.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Postherpetic Neuralgia
Zostavax, the herpes zoster vaccine , has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of shingles. The vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for adults age 50 and older, and is recommended for all adults 60 and older who arent allergic to the vaccine and who dont take immune-suppressing medications.
People age 50 to 59 may want to talk to their doctor about the shingles vaccine, if they are having ongoing pain or skin issues or have a weakened immune system. The vaccination is not a guarantee that shingles will not occur however, those who get the vaccine usually experience a shorter period of pain.
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Can I Prevent Shingles
Who should get it: The CDC recommends that you get this vaccine if youâre a healthy adult age 50 or older, whether or not you remember having had chickenpox, because most people have been exposed to the virus. If you have had the Zostavax vaccine, you can also have Shingrix.
How many shots do you need? You would need two shots for Shingrix: One at first, with a follow-up in 2 to 6 months.
What it does:Shingrix reduces your chance of getting shingles by more than 90%. Even if you still get shingles, the vaccine may help it be less painful.
I never had chickenpox. Do I still need the shingles vaccine? Yes, you do. Shingrix is recommended for everyone age 50 or older, whether or not you remember having had chickenpox.
If Iâve had shingles, can I still get the vaccine? Yes. It may help prevent you having another bout of shingles later on. If you have shingles right now, you should wait until the rash is gone before you get vaccinated.
Donât get the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Are allergic to any of the ingredients
- Are pregnant or nursing
- Have tested negative for immunity to the chickenpox virus. Ask your doctor about the chickenpox vaccine instead.
- Have shingles now
Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles
Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.
Shingrix is given as a two-dose shot in your upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.
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Have Shingles Get Treatment Take Action
If you have shingles, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk for developing PHN. Ask whether preventative treatment with antiviral drugs makes sense. If your doctor says it’s not necessary, ask why.
The full implications of the psychological risk factors for PHN aren’t clear yet, says Dworkin. But he suggests that people with shingles should try to stay active and connected.
“If psychological distress is a risk factor for PHN,” he says, “then we think that people who have shingles might benefit from getting out and not being isolated and homebound.”
You might make an effort to stay connected to family and friends and not to dwell on your symptoms. Also, keep in mind that even if you do develop PHN, there are treatments that can help.
“We have about a half dozen types of drugs that are used as first-line treatments for PHN,” says Dworkin. They include lidocaine patch , pregabalin , gabapentin , capsaicin , carbamazepine , tricyclic antidepressants, and painkillers.
The most important thing is to get prompt medical attention if you think you might have shingles.
“If you have a one-sided rash — especially if you’re over 50 — see your doctor right away,” says Dworkin. “It could be shingles. And we know that prompt treatment can dramatically reduce the likelihood of developing long-term pain.”
S Of The Shingles Rash
If you have a rash of blisters on your skin or a rash that looks like any shown below, see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. If you have shingles, its important to get treatment, preferably within 2 to 3 days.
If youve had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, its still important to see your doctor.
A typical shingles rash
Doctors often refer to this rash as the shingles band because it looks like a band that appears on one area of your body, as shown here.
A rash on one side of the body
A key that you have shingles is that the rash only develops on one side of your body.
Close-up of a shingles rash
The shingles rash often causes a cluster of tiny blisters. You may notice that the skin beneath the blisters is red and inflamed, as shown here.
The rash will also feel painful.
Blistering shingles rash on a mans chest
Although the rash can begin in one area, you may notice that a few scattered blisters develop in other areas, as shown here.
Shingles rash on the palm of a mans hand
While shingles tends to develop on your body or face, it can appear anywhere on your skin.
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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
What Causes Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia begins when the virus that causes chickenpox affects an individual. After having chickenpox, the virus remains in the body forever. The virus can reactivate, usually decades later, and produce shingles lesions. The reactivation of the virus is thought to be due to stress on the body from either another infection or if the patients immune system is compromised that allows the virus to escape the nerve cells.
The nerve fibers damaged from the chickenpox virus are unable to transmit normal sensation messages from the skin to the brain. Instead, the sensation messages become confused and exaggerated, causing chronic, often excruciating, pain that can last months or even years. However, postherpetic neuralgia does not occur in everyone who suffers from shingles.
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What Is The Science Behind Shingles
Even though full recovery from chickenpox is the norm, once the Varicella Zoster virus is in your body, it settles in your nervous system and can lay dormant until triggered where it then develops as Shingles. Albeit Shingles is very contagious, it is usually triggered by a compromised immune system. Its important to note that not everyone who has had chickenpox will get Shingles .
The Varicella Zoster virus mainly affects the nervous system, as the particles from chickenpox settle into the nerve cells. When the virus is reactivated, the particles spread along the nerve fibers resulting in more severe pain and discomfort felt than during a bout of chickenpox. Thus, it is imperative to supplement your body with a formula that helps both repair and protect the nerve cells that are damaged by offering a multi-faceted approach to fast, effective healing and prevention.
How Can This Pain Be Managed
If your doctor is able to identify an underlying cause for the neuropathic pain, treating it may reduce and even eliminate the pain.
For example, diabetes is a common cause of neuropathic pain. Proper diabetes care which includes a healthy diet and regular exercise may eliminate or reduce neuropathic pain.
Taking care of blood sugar levels can also prevent worsening pain and numbness.
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Rebooting The Nervous System
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:
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.
A Word About The Shingles Vaccine
If you are age 60 or over and have not had shingles, talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine. Not only will it reduce your risk of developing shingles, but if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. And, just as important, youll be much less likely to develop PHN if youve had the vaccine.
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What Can I Take To Feel Better
Your doctor has a host of ways to treat your pain after shingles, including a variety of medications. They include:
Anticonvulsants: These medications were developed to control seizures, but they can also help reduce the pain of postherpetic neuralgia. Examples are:
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of any new prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Clear Cold Sores Shingles & Utis
Clear Cold Sores, Shingles & UTIs is a homeopathic remedy targeted at relieving 2 types of skin infections: Cold Sores, Shingles but also adds UTI relief to the list also. These are big claims for just one product so we were interested to see how this product worked out there in the real world and hear from customers as to whether it was effective or not.
We liked that this product is specifically targeted at combating Shingles, albeit along with other infections. There are not many products like this on the market which indicates that this manufacturer has done their research in understanding what can help people suffering with Shingles. This is an exclusively homeopathic product, which means the ingredients are not clinically researched however they did add a range of herbs to aid in pain relief such as Gentian root, Scutellaria root to help dry out the blisters faster as well as Ginger root to boost anti-inflammatory benefits. Ideally we prefer products that contain clinically-proven ingredients that have been scientifically proven to help and are backed by clinical data. The biggest failure in this formula is the exclusion of L-lysine, the key amino acid shown to address the symptoms associated with Shingles and speed up recovery. Without this, Clear Cold Sores, Shingles & UTIs will not progress in our ranking.
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