The virus that causes shingles is the same one that also causes chickenpox, and the symptoms usually include a rash that appears on the side of the face or body. Shingles usually presents itself with a very distinct, red, itchy, and sensitive area.
Medications can be prescribed by your doctor or a professional healthcare provider to treat your case of shingles. These medications can help to relieve pain and also reduce any swelling.
Antiviral medications can slow down the effects of shingles, but they are not really a cure. Make sure to talk to your doctor about which antiviral treatment would work best for you and your condition.
Painkillers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, will also help to ease the pain associated with shingles. You should be able to get over-the-counter painkillers, but if you feel like you need something stronger, remember to talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may also prescribe some creams, sprays, or lotions to help numb the pain of shingles, such as lidocaine.
Antibiotics may also be needed to control your shingles symptoms. Usually, these are only needed if a bacterial infection occurs on the skin.
Although there are no treatments that you can use at home for shingles, you should try to keep the skin clean so that it can heal properly.
It is recommended that you keep the affected area clean and dry, and more importantly, avoid scratching it. Go and see your doctor or professional healthcare provider as soon as you notice the shingles. Prescription medications are the only way to successfully treat shingles.
A shingles vaccine does exist and has been available in the United States since 2006. It is called Zostavax and is recommended for adults over the age of 60. Adults in their 50s may also benefit from this vaccine but should consult with their doctor first.
Talk to your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any questions about shingles and the medications used to treat it.
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