Other Treatments For Shingles
Medications for pain relief may be required. These may be either over the counter or prescription drugs, depending on the severity of the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help some people, while others may require narcotic pain medications. Nonmedical treatments for shingles and home remedies include the use of cool compresses to relieve pain and anti-itching lotions like calamine lotion. Aluminum acetate solutions can help dry up the blisters. Additionally, different medications have been used to control the pain of postherpetic neuralgia, including tricyclic antidepressantsand antiseizure medications. Topical agents that can help relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia include capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
Oral Pain Relief Medicines
e.g. paracetamol , aspirin ibuprofen
e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen diclofenac , naproxen
- paracetamol, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , which include ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen, relieve pain and reduce fever
- paracetamol is a safe choice for most people, but it is important not to take more than recommended. Paracetamol is an ingredient in many cold and flu remedies, so be careful not to double dose
- the maximum daily dose of paracetamol for an adult is 4 g , and no more than 1 g every 4 hours.
- aspirin and NSAIDs are not suitable for everyone. Children under 16 years old must not take aspirin because it can cause Reyes syndrome, which is a serious condition. It should also be avoided by adolescents under 16 years old who have a viral illness
- check with your pharmacist before taking aspirin or NSAIDs if you:
- have a history of stomach problems, such as ulcers or indigestion
- have asthma some asthmatics find their condition is made worse by these types of medicines
- have kidney problems or a heart condition
- take other medications
- have bleeding or bruising problems
- have an allergy to aspirin or NSAIDs
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- are elderly you may be at more risk of side effects
- are due to have any type of surgery within the next couple of days
Don’t Miss: How Do You Treat Shingles On The Hands
Can Other People Catch Shingles
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.
Recommended Reading: What Kind Of Doctor Treats Internal Shingles
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.
Recommended Reading: Who Do You Get Shingles
Home Remedies And Lifestyle
In addition to triggering the uncomfortable rash, shingles can cause symptoms that are similar to those of other viral infections.
Shingles can make you feel feverish, tired, and generally unwell.
While prescription and over-the-counter drugs can help, one of the most important things you can do while dealing with it is to take good care of yourself. If youâre caring for someone else who has shingles, lavish them with TLC.
Laura Porter / Verywell
Some specific strategies can help ease the pain:
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.
You May Like: Can You Have Shingles Without Breaking Out In A Rash
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Shingles Blisters
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.
Antiviral Medicines For Shingles
Antiviral medicines used to treat shingles include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. An antiviral medicine is not a cure for shingles, it does not kill the virus but works by stopping the virus from multiplying. So, it may limit the severity of symptoms of the shingles episode.
An antiviral medicine is most useful when started in the early stages of shingles . However, in some cases your doctor may still advise you have an antiviral medicine even if the rash is more than 72 hours old particularly in elderly people with severe shingles, or if shingles affects an eye.
Antiviral medicines are not advised routinely for everybody with shingles. As a general rule, the following groups of people who develop shingles will normally be advised to take an antiviral medicine:
- If you are over the age of 50. The older you are, the more risk there is of severe shingles or complications developing and the more likely you are to benefit from treatment.
- If you are of any age and have any of the following:
- Shingles that affects the eye or ear.
- A poorly functioning immune system .
- Shingles that affects any parts of the body apart from the trunk .
- Moderate or severe pain.
If prescribed, a course of an antiviral medicine normally lasts seven days.
You May Like: Where Can I Get A Shingles Shot In My Area
When Should You Call For Help
or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have a new or higher fever.
- You have a severe headache and a stiff neck.
- You lose the ability to think clearly.
- The rash spreads to your forehead, nose, eyes, or eyelids.
- You have eye pain, or your vision gets worse.
- You have new pain in your face, or you can’t move the muscles in your face.
- Blisters spread to new parts of your body.
- You have symptoms of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- The rash has not healed after 2 to 4 weeks.
- You still have pain after the rash has healed.
Best Treatments For Lasting Shingles Pain
Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain: What Works, What Doesnt
Doctors call it postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. Its caused by nerve damage left behind by a case of shingles. Shingles itself comes from reactivation of a chickenpox virus, varicella zoster. The virus travels down nerve fibers to cause a painful skin rash.
When the rash goes away, the pain usually goes with it. But for 12% to 15% of people the pain remains. If your shingles pain lasts eight to 12 weeks after the rash goes away, youre part of an unfortunate minority, says pain researcher Andrew S.C. Rice, MD, of Imperial College, London.
Among people with PHN, some have their pain resolve in the first year to 18 months after the shingles rash goes away, Rice tells WebMD. But if they have pain longer than that, it is not going to go away on its own. In either case, a person must deal with the pain.
Recommended Reading: Does Shingles Shot Have Side Effects
How Potent Is Clobetasol Propionate
Clobetasol propionate is one of the most potent topical corticosteroids. It is classed as super potent. The potency of a corticosteroid can vary depending on its concentration and how it is formulated . Different brands containing the same corticosteroid at the same concentration may still vary in potency.
Other super potent topical corticosteroids include:
- Betamethasone dipropionate
- Diflorasone diacetate ointment
Is There A Shingles Vaccination
In the UK there is a shingles vaccine immunisation programme for people aged 70 years to protect against herpes zoster. There is also a catch-up programme which offers the vaccine to anyone aged between 70 and 79 years who has previously missed out on immunisation. The vaccine is licensed for people aged over 50 years, and if you are not eligible for the vaccine on the NHS, your pharmacist may be able to provide the vaccine as a private service.
The chickenpox vaccine is not routinely given to children in the UK but is offered to people who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications eg, people with a weakened immune system.
Also Check: How Much Is Shingles Vaccine At Walmart
Recommended Reading: Where Do Shingles Appear On Your Body
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?
Best For A Massage: Free
This smooth, non-greasy lubricant doesnt contain any active pain-relieving ingredients. Instead, its designed to act as a friction-reducer for massages â another tactic for soothing tight, overworked muscles.
Use the hypoallergenic, fragrance-free cream on your hands to get a deeper rub on areas like your knees, feet or wrists, or hand the jar to your partner or friend for help with your back, shoulders or neck.
âBuy it: â âPrice: â$59.95
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Shingles If You Have Had The Vaccine
Best For Back Pain: Amazon Basic Care Arthricream
Topical formulations are made with a base and active ingredient, which can be optimized for a particular site on the body, Dr. Mehta says.
This one uses trolamine salicylate, a pain reliever related to aspirin that can help numb minor aches and soreness, including back soreness, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The addition of aloe leaf gel makes for an extra-soothing feel.
âBuy it: â âPrice: â$4
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.
Also Check: What Foods Should You Avoid With Shingles
Eutectic Mixture Of Local Anesthetics Cream
EMLA cream is a prescription medication made up of a 1-to-1 ratio of 2.5 percent lidocaine and 2.5 percent prilocaine.
A 2018 case study of one person found that EMLA cream may make an effective alternative to lidocaine cream for treating PHN in people with special situations like kidney failure. However, theres not much available research about its effectiveness. Most existing research is from the 1980s and 90s.
A doctor can give you specific instructions on how to use EMLA cream.
These Home Remedies Should Provide Relief During A Case Of Shingles
The editors at Health are a dedicated team of experienced health editors, writers, and other media professionals who strive to bring trustworthy and responsible health and medical content to their readers. As a team, we have decades of experience in health journalism and have worked at legacy publishers and some of the biggest news and media companies in the U.S.
Anyone who had chickenpox as a kid remembers the red, painfully itchy blister-like rash, and perhaps the fever and fatigue that came along with it. But even though its true youre now inoculated against chickenpox for life, theres one pox-related complication you may not have considered: Shingles.
Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus , and causes a painful, itchy rash in one place on the body. Shingles is most common in adults over 50 years of age in fact, about half of people over age 80 may experience it.
Heres how to minimize discomfort and pain with stuff you probably already have at home:
You May Like: Does Medicare Cover Shingles Shots For Seniors
Treat Your Body And Mind
You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.
5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:
- Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
- Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
- Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.
6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:
What Are The Pain Complications Of Shingles
Many sufferers have described the pain as extremely severe, and some even require narcotic pain-relief medications.
A blistering rash usually accompanies the outbreak. New blisters continue to appear for several days, and the entire outbreak can take weeks to heal. Blisters may cover the entire path of the affected nerve, or the involvement may be patchy. Involvement of the eyes during a shingles outbreak can be particularly serious, since scarring of the cornea and permanent vision loss can result.
Another debilitating complication of shingles is known as postherpetic neuralgia. In postherpetic neuralgia, the pain of shingles persists even after the rash has healed. The diagnosis is made when pain lasts for over 30 days after an outbreak. This pain can last for weeks, months, or even years. Up to 15% of people with shingles have this persistent pain, and it is not understood why the pain persists in some people, but it is likely that some type of nerve damage or inflammation occurs during the outbreak that leads to continued pain.
You May Like: How Long Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Last
Natural Remedies To Relieve Shingles Pain Outbreaks
Shingles pain can be excruciating. Thankfully, most people who experience a shingles outbreak only do so one time. However, others have recurrences. There is no cure for shingles, but there are antiviral medications that can speed the healing process. Shingles vaccination also is available to adults aged 50 and older to help prevent initial outbreaks among those at the highest risk for them.
Modern medicine is not the only solution for treating shingles pain and preventing future outbreaks. Naturopaths and doctors agree that natural treatments for shingles can help with both discomfort and relapses. If youre among the people who prefer natural alternatives for treating common conditions, this article provides information on the most effective natural treatments for shingles.
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus . It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Individuals who recover from chickenpox can have the virus lay dormant in their systems for years. Doctors dont know why, but roughly 1 out of every 3 people who had chickenpox later have the virus reactivate as shingles.
How Common is Shingles?
For 1 out of 10 people, nerve pain postherpetic neuralgia can last for months or even years after the initial outbreak. It is one of the most common shingles complications. Age increases the risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia.
Can You Get Shingles More Than Once?
Doctor Recommendations for Shingles