Thursday, July 11, 2024

What Is The Best Medicine To Treat Shingles

What Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Look Like

New treatment for the pain of shingles

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.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles

An antiviral medication can:

  • Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash

  • Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems

One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.

To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:

Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:

If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.

How Long Is Shingles Contagious

The varicella-zoster virus is contagious and can be spread from someone who has chickenpox or shingles. Although shingles is a lifelong disease, it is only contagious for some time during each episode. Shingles is contagious from the time your symptoms appear until the time that your blisters have dried or crusted, which usually happens within seven to 10 days of symptoms appearing. As long as the blistered area is covered and hands are clean the spread is contained.

Don’t Miss: What Does Shingles Look Like On Your Chest

Best Treatments For Lasting Shingles Pain

Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain: What Works, What Doesn’t

Doctors call it postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. It’s 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, you’re 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.”

How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated

Painful Skin Itching, Rash Relief Cream Shingle Solution, Maximum ...

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.

You May Like: Does Champva Cover Shingles Vaccine

How Is Shingles Treated

Specific treatment for shingles will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • How long the shingles have been present
  • Extent of the condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

There is no cure for shingles. It simply has to run its course. Treatment focuses on pain relief. Painkillers may help relieve some of the pain. Antiviral drugs may help lessen some of the symptoms and reduce nerve damage. Other treatments may include:

  • Creams or lotions to help relieve itching
  • Cool compresses applied to affected skin areas
  • Antiviral medicines
  • Anticonvulsants

How Is Shingles Diagnosed

Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or urgent care facility if you experience any symptoms of shingles . You may require immediate medical attention if shingles develops in the eye, if it is widespread across the body, if youre 60 years old or older, or if you have a weakened immune system from another chronic illness. Consider contacting an ophthalmologist for urgent care as you may be able to get an appointment sooner.

Your primary care provider can diagnose shingles. However, if symptoms appear in the eye, then you might need to see an ophthalmologist.

Shingles can usually be diagnosed with a simple physical exam, as symptoms are usually distinctive. However, if your symptoms are atypical, your doctor may send a tissue scraping or culture from the blisters to the lab for testing. Blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or saliva tests may be necessary if you have nerve pain without a skin rash.

Your healthcare provider may also ask the following questions to help confirm the diagnosis:

  • Have you had chickenpox before?
  • Are you over the age of 60?
  • Have you had the shingles vaccine?
  • Are you stressed?
  • Do you have a chronic illness or are you taking medications that could weaken your immune system?

Also Check: What Helps With Nerve Pain From Shingles

What Are Common Side Effects Of Shingles Medication

Gastrointestinal side effects are common across shingles medications. These include nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting. Its important to stay hydrated while taking medications that cause these side effects, as dehydration could be more dangerous than the virus itself.

This is not a full list of side effects. Ask a healthcare professional, such as your physician or pharmacist, for more details regarding the possible side effects of your particular medication.

What Are The Complications Of Shingles

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Symptoms of shingles usually dont last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia . The most common complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . This continuous, chronic pain lasts even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present. The affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. If you had severe pain during the active rash or have impaired senses, you are at increased risk for PHN. The elderly are also at greater risk. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. Pain relievers and steroid treatment may be used to treat the pain and inflammation. Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.
  • Bacterial infection. A bacterial infection of the skin where the rash happens is another complication. Rarely, infections can lead to more problems, such as tissue death and scarring. When an infection happens near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can happen. This can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

Read Also: Does Walmart Give Shingles Shots

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

Can I Give Shingles To Others

No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from:

  • Anyone who has never had chickenpox
  • Babies under 12 months old
  • Very sick people

Tell your doctor if you live with children who have not had chickenpox. They may need to be vaccinated.

You May Like: What Does The Medical Condition Shingles Look Like

How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.

  • First, a few days before the rash appears, you may feel pain in an area on your skin. The pain is described as itching, burning, stabbing or shooting. This usually happens before the rash comes.
  • Next, the raised rash appears as a band or a patch, usually on one side of your body. The rash usually appears around your waistline or on one side of your face, neck, or on the trunk , but not always. It can occur in other areas including your arms and legs.
  • Within three to four days, the rash develops into red, fluid-filled, painful, open blisters.
  • Usually, these blisters begin to dry out and crust over within about 10 days.
  • The scabs clear up about two to three weeks later.
  • Consider Using Creams Lotions Or Patches

    Amazon.com: Organic Shingles Symptoms Relief Cream

    Shingles can be very painful. If you need help managing pain, your doctor might prescribe a topical pain-relieving cream or patch. These contain lidocaine or other nerve block medication for the skin.

    A medicated anti-itch cream that includes an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine , might also help you find some relief.

    After the rash has scabbed over, you can try using creams or lotions to soothe any remaining symptoms. Look for products that contain:

    • colloidal oatmeal

    Your doctor may also recommend an oral over-the-counter pain reliever such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or acetaminophen . Always follow the dosage instructions on the label or take according to your doctors instructions.

    Recommended Reading: Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine At Cvs

    Liquid Dimethyl Sulfoxide And Idoxuridine

    Idoxuridine is an antiviral medication approved in Europe for treating shingles.

    One 2015 publication suggested frequent application of 5 to 40 percent idoxuridine dissolved in DMSO may speed up the healing time of shingles. However, in the United States, idoxuridine is only FDA-approved to treat keratitis, a herpes simplex virus infection of the cornea of your eye.

    Get Shingles Treatment Online

    Speak to a board-certified doctor securely from your phone or computer and get medication for shingles in 15 minutes. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can appear anywhere on the body, it most often is a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the left or right side of your torso. With our same-day treatment service, you can meet with a top online doctor, get diagnosed, and receive the medication you need.

    Also Check: Chronic Nerve Pain From Shingles

    Can Shingles Be Prevented Or Avoided

    The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination. Vaccinate your children for chickenpox. This vaccine reduces their risk for getting chickenpox. You cant get shingles unless youve had chickenpox first.

    When you are older, get the shingles vaccine. It is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older. It can prevent shingles. People who have had shingles should get the vaccine to help stop the disease from reoccurring. Common side effects of the vaccine are headache, plus redness, swelling, itching, and soreness at the injection site.

    The shingles vaccine is not recommended for anyone who:

    • Has had an allergic reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
    • Has an allergy to any component of the shingles vaccine
    • Has a weakened immune system due to conditions such as leukemia, HIV, or AIDS
    • Is receiving treatment for cancer
    • Is being treated with drugs that suppress their immune system, including high-dose steroids
    • Is pregnant or might become pregnant within 4 weeks of getting the vaccine

    Treatment Of Herpes Zoster

    Shingles treatment, Fast shingles pain relief, pain medications and topical products – PART 1

    The treatment of herpes zoster has three major objectives: treatment of the acute viral infection, treatment of the acute pain associated with herpes zoster and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia. Antiviral agents, oral corticosteroids and adjunctive individualized pain-management modalities are used to achieve these objectives.

    Don’t Miss: How To Start Laying Shingles

    Where Does Shingles Come From

    When you have chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in your body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again. This time, the varicella-zoster virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles.

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

    You May Like: How Many Layers Of Shingles Can You Have

    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

    If You Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Youre 100% Protected From Getting Shingles

    Cheap T Lock Shingles For Sale, find T Lock Shingles For Sale deals on ...

    No. Just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated with a shingles vaccine doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles.

    Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Prevent Shingles

    What Drugs Are Prescribed For Shingles

    If postherpetic neuralgia develops, similar medications are used to treat PHN pain.

    While it may seem strange for your doctor to prescribe drugs for shingles that are commonly used to treat depression and prevent seizures, shingles is at root a nerve disorder, and these drugs work in different ways to calm overactive nerves.

    Antiepileptics in general are thought to reduce the ability of the neurons to fire at high frequency, says Sangeetha Kodoth, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy Specialists of Knoxville in Tennessee.

    Its believed that tricyclic antidepressants an older class of antidepressants work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which then modify pain response.

    Antibacterial agents may also be prescribed if a bacterial infection occurs with the shingles rash.

    Before taking any medication for shingles, be sure to talk to your doctor about possible side effects.

    RELATED: Is That Rash Psoriasis, or Is It Something Else?

    What Are Shingles Symptoms

    Common symptoms of shingles are pain and a rash in a belt-like form that stops at the midline of the body affecting only one side. Symptoms of shingles progress from burning and itching sensations to severe pain at the location of the rash. Early shingles symptoms may include burning, tingling, or a numb sensation on the skin accompanied by headache, upset stomach, and chills.

    Later stages include painful fluid-filled blisters that cause severe pain, fever, and severe itching.

    Don’t Miss: How Do You Feel With Shingles

    How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

    Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.

    If your pain doesnt lessen, you might try therapies like nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine. Your provider might suggest an implantable nerve stimulator device for severe, ongoing pain that hasnt responded to other treatments.

    How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Shingles

    Shingles: What Are the Causes and Best Treatments?

    A dermatologist can often diagnose shingles by looking at the rash on your skin.

    If there is any question about whether you have shingles, your dermatologist will scrape a bit of fluid from a blister. This will be sent to a lab where a doctor will look at the fluid under a high-powered microscope.

    When you have shingles, the fluid contains the virus that causes shingles. Seeing the virus confirms that you have shingles.

    Your dermatologist will also ask about your symptoms. Shingles tends to be painful.

    When the shingles rash spreads to an eye, it can affect your eyesight

    You can reduce this risk by seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.

    Read Also: Who Needs A Shingle Shot

    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.

    Popular Articles
    Related news