Treatment for Shingles

Anti viral medications are used in the treatment of shingles

Many anti viral medications are effectively used in the treatment of shingles. But these medicines have the best effects if they are administered to the affected individual within 3 days of the rash appearing. The anti viral medications cannot stop the development of the red blisters on the surface of the skin. However, when these medicines are given immediately after the appearance of the rash, they can act effectively by reducing the duration of the rash as well as the intensity of the rash. Timely intervention with the anti viral medication can also reduce the risk of developing post herpetic neuralgia.

Pain killers, antibiotics and corticosteroids can be used to treat shingles

Shingles are associated with extreme pain. The pain is intense burning pain, stinging pain or a tingling sensation in the affected areas. It is aggravated by even the gentle and light touch such as the touch of the bed clothes. Hence paracetamol, along with pain killers, creams and lotions are used to relieve the pain. However, the pain may be so severe that it may not respond to the normal pain relieving medications. In such cases the health care professional may look into prescribing alternative medications such as creams and lotions containing an extract of red chili peppers. The burning pain can also be relieved by applying cold and wet compresses to the painful areas. The blisters may also be associated with intense itching. Intense itching results in violent scratching of the affected areas of the skin. As a result of this, the shingles may get secondarily infected with bacteria. In these cases the doctor may prefer to prescribe antibiotics.

Treating post herpetic neuralgia

One of the major complications of shingles is the development of a condition known as post herpetic neuralgia. Neuralgia means pain along the nerve. This complication is more common in people who are over 50 and in people who have a low immune system. This is an extremely painful and debilitating condition. In extreme cases, the debilitating fatigue associated with this condition may make it difficult for a person to carry out their usual day to day activities. This results in severe depression. The condition may also be accompanied by weight loss. In such cases, the health care professional may also look into prescribing anticonvulsants, antidepressants and local anesthetics.

A vaccine is available that can help to prevent the shingles and its complications

There is a vaccine available for adults aged 50 years or older, called Zostavax. This vaccine can help to prevent shingles. If the person still gets shingles in spite of being given the vaccine, then the vaccine can help to prevent the complications of shingles such as post herpetic neuralgia. It has also been reported that people who have been vaccinated and later on develop shingles, have much less pain and the duration of shingles is shorter, as compared to people who suffer from shingles and have not been previously vaccinated.

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