Saturday, February 17, 2024

What Medicine Helps With Shingles

What If You Have Shingles Around Or In Your Eye

Shingles: What You Should Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Community Eye Health

If shingles are in the eye, they most often show up inside the eyelid and on the surface or the eyeball, says Rebecca Taylor, MD, an ophthalmologist with Nashville Vision Associates in Tennessee.

On the surface, says Dr. Taylor, they mainly show up on the cornea, which is the clear dome of tissue that covers your iris , and the conjunctiva the clear tissue that covers the whites of your eye and the inside of your eyelid.

If shingles is in these places, she says, youll be prescribed eye drops with steroids to calm the lesions, and lubricating tears for comfort.

If you have had shingles in your eye, says Taylor, your eye doctor will monitor you for 3 to 12 months to make sure that your eye is returning to health and that no new developments have occurred. You may also be encouraged to have a yearly eye exam until otherwise instructed by your eye doctor.

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 neurotransmittersserotonin 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.

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How Common Is Encephalitis From Shingles

Shingle encephalitis is rare. It happens once for every 33,000 50,000 cases of shingles. The condition usually affects immunocompromised people, especially those with HIV and blood cancers.

People undergoing chemotherapy are also more likely to develop this condition than others, but it can also affect previously healthy people. Risk factors also include a history of more than 2 episodes of shingles previously, as well as cranial or cervical dermatome involvement.

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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.

When To Seek Medical Assistance

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If you develop a shingles rash, it’s important to contact a doctor as soon as you can. A seemingly mild rash could lead to serious complications. A doctor can run relevant tests to ensure you aren’t in danger.

If you experience any of the symptoms of herpes zoster encephalitis, call your doctor or 911 immediately. You may need emergency medical treatment.

Recommended Reading: What Does A Bad Case Of Shingles Look Like

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.

Symptoms Of Shingles In The Brain

The most common symptom of shingles is a rash. However, in some cases, complications can occur without an obvious manifestation on the skin. A rash may not be one of the symptoms of herpes zoster encephalitis in rare cases.

However, you may experience:

The same symptoms can occur when a person has other conditions, including meningitis, brain abscess, stroke, trauma, etc. A doctor can differentiate between these conditions to design an effective course of treatment.

It’s important to understand that shingles in the brain and other conditions with similar symptoms are medical emergencies. You need to contact a medical professional immediately to prevent complications.

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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:

  • 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.

    When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

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

    The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.

    You should get the shingles vaccine if you:

    • Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
    • Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
    • Dont remember having had chickenpox

    Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.

    You should not get vaccinated if you:

    • Currently have shingles
    • Are sick or have a fever
    • Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine

    If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine.

    Read Also: Why Does Shingles Hurt So Bad

    Lidocaine Cream And Patches

    2017 study suggests that its one of the best-tolerated treatments for PHN.

    PHN is a complication of shingles characterized by long-term nerve pain after your rash disappears. The CDC says that about 10 to 18 percent of people experience PHN after shingles.

    Lidocaine is often administered in patches. The study linked above notes that up to 3 patches can be applied in a 12-hour window.

    How Do You Know If You Have Shingles Encephalitis

    If you have a shingles rash accompanied by headaches, vomiting, problems with concentration, speech issues, loss of coordination, or hallucinations, you may have shingles encephalitis. This condition warrants immediate medical attention. In some cases, shingles encephalitis may occur without a rash.

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

    Shingles can appear anywhere on your body, but it is most common on your torso. A line of painful blisters develops on the left or right side of your torso. The rash starts as red dots that become blisters filled with fluid. The blisters usually grow bigger, become filled with pus, and then crust over after a few days. You may also have any of the following:

    • Severe tiredness and muscle weakness
    • Pain when your skin is lightly touched
    • Eye pain when exposed to light

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    How Long Is Shingles Contagious

    Healthful⢠Naturals Shingles Remedy, 4 oz.

    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.

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    When Should You Call Your Doctor

    if you:

    • Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
    • Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or post-herpetic neuralgia.

    If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have post-herpetic neuralgia . Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

    Are There Alternative Treatments

    Some studies show that various alternative treatments, from acupuncture to supplements, can offer relief. The research isnât complete, but some shows promise. Check with your doctor before you try any of these:

    TENS . This therapy uses tiny electrical pulses to relieve pain. A TENS unit is about the size of a smartphone and comes with small patches called electrodes. You put them over the painful area and turn the unit on and off as your pain comes and goes.

    Traditional Chinese medicine: These treatments aim to restore balance in your body. They include acupuncture, the ancient practice of inserting very thin needles into your skin at specific points. Also, moxibustion and cupping, two types of heat therapy, are supposed to draw out toxins. These treatments may be done in combination.

    Creams and other skin treatments: A mixture of liquid dimethyl sulfoxide and idoxuridine, an antiviral drug, may reduce swelling and the number of blisters you have when you put it on your rash. And chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their green color, is also used directly on the rash as a cream or saline solution.

    Supplements: Youâll find a long list of herbs, pills, and oils that claim to relieve shingles. Most have no research to back them up, but there are a couple of exceptions. Papain, a protein found in papayas, is sold in capsules. And manuka and clover honeys can be put directly on your skin. Very early studies on both show they may be helpful.

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    How Can I Prevent The Spread Of The Shingles Virus

    The virus can be passed to a person who has never had chickenpox. This usually happens if the other person comes in contact with your open sores. This person may get chickenpox, but not shingles. You are contagious until your blisters scab over. Stay away from people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Avoid pregnant women, newborns, and people with weak immune systems. They have a higher risk of infection.

    • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a childs diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
    • Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.

    Who Should Not Get Shingrix

    How to treat shingles

    You should not get Shingrix if you:

    • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
    • Currently have shingles.
    • Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.

    If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.

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    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

    Is Shingles Contagious

    Shingles is not contagious but is the reactivation of a virus already present in the body.

    However, a person with shingles can give chickenpox to someone who has never had the VZV infection before.

    Therefore, people with shingles should avoid contact with those who have never had chickenpox until their rash has completely healed. To catch the virus, someone must have direct contact with the rash.

    To avoid spreading VZV, people with shingles should:

    • Avoid close contact with people who have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated for chickenpox.
    • Avoid close contact with low birth-weight infants and people with a compromised immune system, such as those on HIV medication or who have had an organ transplant.
    • Keep the rash covered with loose, natural clothing to avoid others coming into contact with it.
    • Wash their hands frequently, especially after touching the rash or applying lotions to the skin.

    There is a vaccination available to reduce the risk of developing shingles and experiencing long-term complications, such as PHN.

    The recommends that adults aged 50 years and older have two doses of the Shingrex vaccination over a 2-6 month period. It is believed to be more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

    People who have already had shingles can have the vaccine to prevent future occurrences.

    Recommended Reading: What To Take For Shingles Headache

    What To Think About

    For some people, non-prescription pain relievers are enough to help control pain caused by shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia. But for others, stronger medicines may be needed. And if prescription medicines don’t help control your pain, you may need to see a pain specialist about other ways to treat PHN.

    Treatment For Shingles Rash And Pain

    DermaChange Shingles Treatment and Relief Ointment Hydrating &  Healing ...

    Medications and lifestyle changes can provide relief.

    Despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine, an estimated 1 million Americans develop shingles each year.1 Early diagnosis and treatment are key to limiting the severity of the outbreak as well as its associated complications, including nerve damage. There are also simple at-home remedies that can help patients stay as comfortable as possible.

    Antiviral medications should be started within 72 hours of the first shingles symptoms. The three antivirals most often prescribed are acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. They help the shingles rash crust over, dry up, and heal, shortening the course of the infection.

    Pain is a major factor with shingles. Patients can consult with their health care provider on over-the-counter and prescription options to manage it. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen can be effective, while prescription glucocorticoids such as prednisone can help with more aggressive pain. Short-term usage of opioid pain medicationlike oxycodone or hydrocodone/acetaminophen is reserved for the highest levels of pain.

    Shingles typically lasts between 2 and 6 weeks patients are usually confined to their home for the duration both for their own comfort and to prevent spreading the virus to others. There are a number of simple steps they can take to promote healing and increase their comfort level.

    References

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    Shingles And The Nervous System

    Varicella zoster virus can cause encephalitis if it extends centrally from the spinal nerve distribution.

    The most common nervous system problems associated with the varicella-zoster virus are:

    • Postherpetic neuralgia once the shingles rash is gone, the patient continues to experience pain in the area where it used to be. This is secondary to nerve damage from shingles.

    • Acute encephalitis inflammation of the brain that requires immediate medical attention. Herpes zoster-associated encephalitis typically presents with delirium surrounding the development of the vesicular rash.

    • Aseptic meningitis inflammation of the lining of the brain . While most cases are mild, untreated aseptic meningitis could lead to serious health consequences.

    • Myelitis inflammation of the spinal cord. Transverse myelitis from herpes zoster occurs within days to weeks after the onset of the vesicular rash.

    Other nervous system complications include Guillain-Barre Syndrome, peripheral motor neuropathy, HZ oticus, and HZ ophthalmicus

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