Popular treatment options for shingles you should know
Shingles is a skin infection involving rashes and painful blisters. It is caused by a virus called varicella zoster. This virus is also responsible for chickenpox. This virus can remain dormant in your system and years after you have been cured of chickenpox, it can become active again, causing a shingles outbreak.
Shingles is believed to affect approximately 1 in 3 people in the US. It causes a rash that affects small areas; however, it can spread to other parts too. Shingles has no cure, but if you’re wondering how to treat shingles, you can take some shingles medication to obtain some relief.
Shingles – Treatment options
The first sign of shingles is pain, even before the rashes and blisters appear. The rashes develop soon after one experiences this type of pain. If you ever had chickenpox as a child, seek medical help at once when you notice these types of rashes. If you avail treatments for shingles within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms such as pain and rashes, you may be able to control the condition and prevent it from becoming severe and hard to manage.
Antiviral medicines for shingles
If you have approached your doctor within 72 hours of the onset of the first symptoms, antivirals could help control the progress of rashes and also prevent other complications. Your doctor might prescribe a medicine, such as Acyclovir, to treat shingles.
Shingles medicine for pain
The doctors might prescribe some painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen, as a shingles treatment option for the pain.
Other shingles remedies available
You may develop an infection while you are suffering from shingles. If the infection is bacterial, you may have to take some antibiotics. You may also experience severe pain after the shingles rash treatments have helped clear the rash. In this case, you may find some relief using capsaicin creams and lidocaine.
If you take these medicines, shingles can be less painful and heal faster.
Basic care and hygiene when you are affected by shingles
Shingles cannot be cured, it has to run its course, usually lasting for about 2–6 weeks. Keep the affected areas clean and dry. Do not scratch the rashes or try to burst the blisters. Keep the affected areas exposed so that sweat and other factors do not aggravate it. Keep the clothes and towels you use isolated, do not let anyone else use them.
Treating shingles with home remedies
Besides the medicines, you can also try some basic remedies using items that you can easily find at home.
Shingles pain remedies
Take cool showers to soothe the pain and itching caused by the rashes and blisters. Avoid bathing in very hot or very cold water.
Create a body soak by adding two cups of oatmeal to your bath water. Soak for around 15 minutes before washing it off. Dry your body thoroughly using a towel. Remember to wash the towel thoroughly.
You can also apply a moist towel to the rashes to get some pain relief. Do not use ice packs, as extreme heat and cold can make the condition worse.
Shingles itching remedies
- Use a calamine lotions to dry out the blisters and reduce the chances of the rash spreading to other areas
- You can make a paste out of cornstarch or baking soda mixed with water. Apply this paste over the rashes
- Leave this on for a few minutes, then wash it off
- You can repeat this process a few times each day to control rashes and itching
- Manuka honey is known to reduce viral activity; you can use it as a topical application over the rashes
- Essential oils like Geranium, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Lemongrass oils are also effective in reducing itching and pain
- Combine a few drops of one of these essential oils with coconut oil and apply this to the affected region
- This can also be an effective remedy for postherpetic neuralgia, the severe pain some people experience after the rashes have healed
Can shingles be prevented?
A vaccine for shingles, called Zostavax, has been available since 2006. This vaccine injection can be taken if you are 50 or older, as shingles often affects older adults. You just need one shot of this vaccine. It can cut the risk by half.
Dietary changes to cope with shingles
- Avoid oily foods, sugar, refined carbs, and foods like chocolate and nuts
- A strong immune system can boost your chances of controlling shingles
- Include food containing Vitamins B12, A, E, and C
- Include foods that contain the amino acid lysine
- Your diet should include green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruits, legumes, beans, eggs, red meat, dairy products, whole grains, spinach, and tomatoes
While shingles cannot be cured, you can take some medicines and try some home remedies to decrease the effects of shingles and cope with the rashes and pain. Dietary changes help boost your immune system.