Shingles is a painful skin condition that causes a rash. It’s most common in people over the age of 60, but it can affect anyone who gets infected with the virus. The virus attacks nerve cells and sometimes results in shingles.
The symptoms of shingles include fever, headache, pain on one side of your body, and a rash on one or more areas of your body.
There is no cure for shingles, but there are treatments available to help ease the symptoms and speed up the healing process. EMUAID® is a good example of a topical ointment that can help manage the symptoms of Shingles. One can find many good reviews of EMUAID® online.
Shingles usually lasts around two weeks but can last up to six weeks depending on how severe it is.
You can lower your risk of getting shingles by avoiding close contact with someone who has chickenpox or herpes zoster (the same virus that causes herpes). You also need to avoid sunlight during peak exposure times for both viruses- between 10am and 4pm UVB radiation from the sun damages your immune system more than other times throughout the day.
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles?
The symptoms of shingles can vary depending on how severe the infection is. Generally, the more severe the infection, the more widespread and intense the symptoms will be. Symptoms may include:
- Burning sensations in one or more areas of your body
- Itching sensations all over your body
- Pain that spreads from one part of your body to another
How Long Does Shingles Last?
The average length of time shingles lasts is 3-5 weeks. The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia, which affects around 5-20% of people with shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia can last several weeks, months, or even years after the shingles has gone away.
Most cases of shingles follow a consistent pattern of pain and healing – or stages of shingles. Shingles typically lasts for 1-2 weeks and can develop a rash and fluid filled blisters. The rash will produce fluid-filled blisters, and then dry out and crust over. The scabs will clear up within a few weeks of the cycle being completed.
Treatment options for shingles may vary depending on the stage the person is in – for example, the early stages may only require rest and application of a topical cream. It is typically recommended to see a doctor if the person experiences pain that lasts more than a week, develops a fever, or has a rash that does not fade when treated with topical creams.
What Is The Treatment For Shingles?
The most common treatments for shingles are antiviral medications, pain relievers, and creams or patches.
If shingles is caught within the first three days of its outbreak, your healthcare provider may prescribe the antiviral medication acyclovir (Zovirax®), valacyclovir (Valtrex®) or famciclovir (Famvir®).
If your shingles outbreak is not caught early, your healthcare providers has many options to manage your postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) symptoms.
If your pain is mild, your healthcare provider may recommend: Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®).
Creams and patches include lidocaine (Lidoderm®) and capsaicin (Zostrix®).
If your pain is more severe, your healthcare may prescribe anti-seizure drugs gabapentin (Neurontin®, Gralise®) and pregabalin (Lyrica®).
Antidepressants, such as escitalopram (Lexapro®, Quetiapine (), Amitriptyline). There is no one definitive treatment for shingles. The treatment may include the use of multiple medications.
Contact your provider if your pain is not lessening after taking your medicine. Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
Soothe The Rash
There are several things you can do to ease your rash and speed up your recovery:
- Stay warm and dry – Shingles is often worse in cold weather or when you’re wet from sweating or rain. Keep yourself comfortable by staying warm and dry during the outbreaks. If possible, try to avoid staying in cold environments or wearing heavy clothing while shingles is active. You might also want to consider using an ice pack on areas of pain for 20 minutes at a time every few hours if it’s available to you.
- Apply topical cream – Apply topical cream such as calamine lotion (available over the counter) to the rash to soothe it and help reduce inflammation.
- Take ibuprofen or paracetamol – Take ibuprofen (such as Advil) or paracetamol (such as acetaminophen) if you experience severe pain. These medications can help relieve the pain and fever associated with shingles.
- Avoid stress – Avoid stress in general, especially during the early stages of your illness when symptoms are at their worst. Stress can make your condition worse by increasing your body’s inflammatory response.
Treat Your Body And Mind
Next In Shingles Treatment
Next in shingles treatment is a vaccine available to help people who have recently been exposed to the virus that causes shingles. It is recommended that people receive the vaccine as soon as possible after being diagnosed with the disease.
If you are eligible and want to receive the vaccine, it is recommended that you get it as soon as possible after being diagnosed with shingles. You can find more information about the next in shingles treatment vaccine on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For more severe cases of shingles, there are several different treatments available, including medications and injections. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the lesion or abrasion caused by the shingles virus. Pain and fever may be present for up to two weeks after treatment for shingles has ended. The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination.
Can Shingles Be Prevented?
To prevent shingles and its complications, it is important to get the shingles vaccine. This is now routinely offered in Scotland to people aged 70. If you still develop shingles after having the vaccine, it may be milder and last for a shorter time than usual. It is also important to keep your head cool and rest when you have shingles to reduce the risk of further infection or complication.
How Does Shingles Spread?
The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that causes shingles can be spread to others through direct contact with the shingles rash. The virus can be shed from the rash during activities such as intercourse or sexual contact. It is considered rare for the virus to be spread to others during an outbreak. To prevent the spread of shingles, it is important to avoid coming into direct contact with the rash. The best way to do this is to cover the rash with a bandage.
What Are The Complications Of Shingles?
The most common complication from shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is pain that persists after the rash goes away. A bacterial infection can also occur as a complication of shingles.
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.
Shingles can also lead to temporary or permanent blindness. It can also cause tissue death and scarring.
How Long Is The Incubation Period For Shingles?
The incubation period for shingles is the time from when a person is first infected with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) to when the rash first appears. The incubation period is typically two weeks. However, it can range from two to three weeks. The prodromal stage or period consists of symptoms without the rash while the active stage or period begins when the rash starts.
Can You Go To Work with Shingles?
If you have shingles, you should avoid going to work. This is because shingles is a contagious disease and you can spread the infection to other people. Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone. Shingles can last up to two years.
What Is The Prognosis for Shingles?
The prognosis for shingles is good, but there is no cure. The virus will eventually disappear on its own. People who have had shingles may experience some minor pain and discomfort in the weeks or months after the rash appears, but this usually goes away with time. Most people who have had shingles will not develop another case of the disease. However, people who are at risk for developing recurrent episodes of shingles should take measures to prevent them (such as getting vaccinated).