From Oatmeal Baths To Cold Compresseslearn How To Soothe Shingles Pain And Itching With These At
Medically reviewed in June 2022
Shingles is a painful, blistering rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, VZV remains in the body in an inactive state. Shingles occurs when the virus becomes active again, and most often appears as a single band of blisters that wraps one side of the torso, though it can appear on any part of the body. Its estimated that one in three people in the United States will experience shingles at some point in their lifetime.
While there is no cure for shingles, there are antiviral treatments available that can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the infection. Antiviral treatments should be started within the first 48 to 72 hours, and preferably within the first 24 hoursif you or a loved one has shingles, see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How to soothe shingles at home In addition to following the instructions for shingles care given to you by your healthcare provider, the ideas below may help you get relief from the itching and pain.
Apply a lotion or cream During the blistering phase of shingles you can apply calamine lotion to soothe shingles pain and itching. Be sure to wash your hands and keep the nozzle of the lotion bottle clean in order to prevent infection. Once the blisters have scabbed over, you may want to try capsaicin cream, which is used to relieve neuralgia, or nerve pain in the skin.
What To Do If You Think You Have Shingles
If you suspect that you have shingles, its important to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , treating shingles within the first 72 hours gives you the best chance of minimizing complications like nerve pain.
Antiviral medications or other medications only available by prescription can shorten the duration of your shingles or lessen the severity.
If a cream or other topical isnt reducing your pain, its a good idea to visit your doctor again. They may recommend trying another treatment like capsaicin cream instead of lidocaine.
If a product is making your symptoms worse, its important to stop taking it right away.
You may be able to reduce your symptoms using home remedies while youre waiting to see a healthcare professional. These include applying a wet cold compress or taking a cool bath.
How Common Is Shingles
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin supplied by the nerve. It is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles. Shingles is sometimes called herpes zoster.
About 1 in 4 people have shingles at some time in their lives. It can occur at any age but it is most common in older adults . After the age of 50, it becomes increasingly more common as you get older. It is uncommon to have shingles more than once but some people do have it more than once.
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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.
For the last 3 1/2 weeks, IÃ¢ve been suffering from shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. It is a terrible condition. There seem to be many cures and treatments for it that are either questionable, or in the case of Western medicine, have a potential for adverse side effects. Most people suffer from post-herpetic pain that can go on for weeks, months, or even years.
How Is Shingles Treated
There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral medicine may relieve the symptoms and help prevent complications. See your doctor for a prescription of antiviral medicines as soon as possible after symptoms develop. Treatment should be started within 3 days of the shingles rash appearing.
If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether antivirals are right for you.
Over-the counter medicines, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, can be used for pain relief. If over-the-counter medicines are not controlling your pain, your doctor may prescribe other medicines.
There are several things you can do to help manage the condition. They include the following.
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Look For Products That Are Third
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD products the same way they do pharmaceuticals. And while they can send warning letters and take action against companies making false claims or committing fraud, theres otherwise no regulation for products containing CBD.
Look for companies that get their products third-party tested and make it easy for you to find and consult the COA before buying. Check that the details on the COA match the product labels and show info about contaminant testing.
You Can Prevent Shingles
The good news is that you can avoid this misery entirely by getting a fairly new vaccine thats proving to be highly effective. There has actually been a shingles vaccine since 2006, but the first incarnation, Zostavax, only prevented shingles in about 50% of people. Plus, Zostavax was made from live viruses so people with compromised immune systems couldnt get it even though they are the ones most at risk for shingles.
The new vaccine, Shingrix, available since 2017, does not use live viruses in its formulation so its safer and has been found to be more than 90% effective. Shingrix is whats known as an adjuvanted vaccine, meaning it has extra ingredients that help create a stronger immune response. A booster shot may be needed eventually, but experts currently estimate the vaccine provides protection for at least seven years. Its available for adults age 50 and up and requires two doses given between two and six months apart.
On the slim chance you do get shingles after being vaccinated, the illness will be much milder and you will be less likely to develop PHN.
What You Can Do To Help Recover From Shingles
There is no cure for shingles, but there are medications, including antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, to help fight the infection.
While your shingles is active, you should:
- Rest and relax. Try moderate activities, such as walking and listening to music that can help take your mind off the pain. For severe pain, your doctor may prescribe narcotic pain relievers, corticosteroids, and anticonvulsants.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Keep the rash clean and dry. Do not cover it or use ointments, which can prevent the from bursting and beginning to scab over.
- Try cool compresses, calamine lotion, or an oatmeal bath to ease the itching and pain of the .
- Dont share bedding, clothing or towels in order to avoid spreading the infection while you have blisters.
There are effective vaccinations available to prevent shingles, so if you have had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting protected from shingles.
Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of The Body
The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of the body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area it does not spread over your whole body. The torso is a common area, as is the face.
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What Cream Is Good To Put On A Rash From Shingles
Doctors recommend applying topical antibiotic creams to the rash that occurs during a shingles outbreak, according to WebMD. Use of these creams helps prevent infection of the blisters and reduces the risk of further complications.
While topical antibiotic creams may indirectly reduce the pain of a shingles rash through preventing infection, oral analgesics are generally used to treat pain from a shingles rash rather than a topical cream, states WebMD. However, creams containing benzocaine and capsaicin are used after the initial shingles rash heals to treat postherpetic neuralgia, a common symptom consisting of persistent pain in the area of the rash that continues even after the rash itself has healed.
Which Groups To Avoid If You Have Shingles
Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox should avoid people with shingles. See the separate leaflet called Chickenpox Contact in Pregnancy for more details. Also, if you have a poor immune system , you should avoid people with shingles. These general rules are to be on the safe side, as it is direct contact with the rash that usually passes on the virus.
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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.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Ive had chickenpox. Am I at risk of developing shingles?
- What is the best treatment for my shingles?
- The pain from shingles isnt going away. What can I do to make myself more comfortable?
- Im on treatment for shingles. When should I call my doctor if things dont get better?
- I have shingles and my children havent had the chickenpox vaccine. Should I get them vaccinated?
- Is the shingles vaccine right for me?
- Are there any risks associated with the shingles vaccine?
- Will my post-herpetic neuralgia ever go away?
- If Ive never had the chickenpox, should I still get the shingles vaccination?
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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
The initial symptoms of shingles include:
- a burning, tingling or itching sensation
- a stabbing sensation
- numbness in the affected area of the body
- sensitivity to light
- fever and/or headache
Two to 3 days after these symptoms appear, a painful rash will appear on the sensitive area of skin, usually on one side of the body in the area of one skin nerve .
At first this rash consists of painful red bumps that quickly develop into fluid-filled blisters, which will eventually have a crusty surface. The rash can last for 10 to 15 days.
Prevent Shingles Or Another Shingles Outbreak:
- A vaccine may be given to help prevent shingles. You can get the vaccine even if you already had shingles. The vaccine comes in 2 forms. A 2-dose vaccine is usually given to adults 50 years or older. A 1-dose vaccine may be given to adults 60 years or older.
- The vaccine can help prevent a future outbreak. If you do get shingles again, the vaccine can keep it from becoming severe. Ask your healthcare provider about other vaccines you may need.
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Can Other People Catch It
This one is confusing! You can catch chickenpox from other people, but you cant catch shingles from other people. You only get shingles from a reactivation of your own chickenpox infection in the past.
So if you have shingles, and you come into contact with somebody else, they cannot catch your shingles. But if they have never had chickenpox, it is possible that they could catch chickenpox from you.
To put it another way, no, you dont catch shingles. It comes from a virus hiding out in your own body, not from someone else. But if you have shingles, you may be infectious, as it is possible for people to catch chickenpox from you.
Only people who have never had chickenpox are likely to be at risk of catching chickenpox from your shingles. People who have had chickenpox should be immune from catching it again. If the rash is in a covered area of skin, the risk of anyone with whom you are not in close contact catching chickenpox is very low.
Determining The Right Amount Of Cbd Oil For Shingles
Some patients may prefer to ingest CBD as anoil, gummy, or pillfor shingles pain relief. If youre interested in one of these options, it can take some experimentation to find the serving size thats right for you. Theres no set amount of CBD to use, and most experts recommend starting with the lowest possible amount and working upward gradually until you see the desired effects. Many patients find 20-25mg effective for daily pain relief. You could also use a ratio of 1 to 6mg per 10 pounds of body weight for a conservative starting amount.
You might also choose a topical treatment in the form of CBD cream. A CBD intensive creamcan provide immediate, targeted relief to areas of discomfort, and it may be particularly effective to reduce the inflammation, redness, and swelling associated with the shingles rash.
If youre interested in trying out a CBD topical cream, you can simply apply it to any area affected by shingles. Make sure the skin is clean, dry, and free of any other substances so the cream can absorb effectively. For best results, massage the cream gently into the skin for a few seconds to encourage deeper absorption. You can use a CBD-infused cream as often as you like for topical relief from shingles pain.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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How About Acupuncture For Shingles
Acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for pain. My wife Lesley and I are both acupuncturists and we used a lot of it to try and treat this condition. The standard points for shingles are Spleen 10 and Large Intestine 11 . We also did auricular treatment: we bled the apex of the ear, indicated for all inflammatory conditions. This did not show any effect to warrant a repeat attempt.
A heroic procedure recommended by a respected acupuncturist as a gold-standard shingles treatment consisted of whacking the tender recently healed over area where the initial shingle blisters were until it bled profusely. This arduous and painful treatment promised immediate and lasting relief from postherpetic neuralgia. Ive always found that bleeding is the most effective way to immediately resolve inflammation and relieve pain. Fortunately, I took a lot of kratom before and allowed Lesley to perform the treatment. It did not work.
How To Treat Shingles
If you have ever had chickenpox, or been vaccinated for it, you are at risk for getting shingles a painful, blistering rash. This is because after the chickenpox clears, the virus stays in the body. If the virus reactivates, or wakes up, you could get shingles.
Although shingles is much less contagious and itchy than chickenpox, it tends to cause more pain. In addition, although the shingles rash usually clears in a few weeks, some people can experience pain, numbness, itching and tingling that can last months or even years.
According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology , common signs and symptoms of shingles include:
- An area of skin that burns, itches, tingles or feels very sensitive: This usually occurs in a small area on one side of the body and lasts one to three days.
- A rash that begins as red spots and quickly turns into groups of clear, painful blisters: These may turn yellow or bloody before they scab over and heal.
- Flu-like symptoms: A fever or headache may occur with the rash.
- Pain: Sometimes, the pain is bad enough for a doctor to prescribe medication. The pain tends to lessen once the blisters heal, which can take two to three weeks.
To help relieve shingles pain and discomfort, the Academy recommends the following tips:
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Can Shingles Be Prevented
A vaccination called Zostavax reduces the likelihood of developing shingles. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60. It is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79. Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. Zostavax is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.
Steroid Cream Potency And Absorption
In the United States, topical steroid creams are categorized by their potency, meaning how strong they are. Group 1 contains the most potent topical steroid creams, referred to as ultra-high-potency. Group 7 contains the least potent topical steroid creams, referred to as low-potency.
Only the lowest-potency topical steroids should be used on your face. This is because the skin on your face is thin. And thin skin absorbs more of the steroid than other areas of your body.
Likewise, sticking to a low-potency steroid is important when applying it to other areas of the body with thin skin. The neck, groin, underneath the breast, and the armpit are among these sensitive areas.
Children are even more susceptible to increased absorption because of their larger ratio of skin surface to body mass.
Examples of low-potency topical steroids include Cortizone 10 , which is in Group 7. Kenalog is in Group 6.
Some lower-potency corticosteroids, like 1% hydrocortisone, are available over the counter. Others, like 2% hydrocortisone, are available only by prescription.
In general, high- and ultra-high-potency steroids are reserved for areas of the body where the skin is thick, like your palms or the soles of your feet. They are also used for more severe skin diseases that are being treated by a dermatologist, such as psoriasis.
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