If you have had chickenpox in the past, you may be at risk of developing shingles. This viral disease affects an estimated 1 in 3 people in the United States, but most people do not have much understanding of this condition. With this guide and the help of your doctor, you will learn the signs and treatment options for shingles.
Signs of Shingles
Everyone is different, so each case of shingles can be different. However, most people will experience a few of the same signs on their skin if they develop shingles.
In most cases, shingles will affect a specific section of the skin. This area of skin may be painful to touch. Most people will experience a burning and tingling sensation. Itchiness is also common.
In addition to pain, an uncomfortable rash may also develop across the area of skin. Blisters that are filled with fluid may also form, eventually bursting and crusting over, becoming even more uncomfortable.
Other symptoms that come along with the painful skin rashes include the following:
- Light sensitivity
If you are experiencing the above signs, your doctor will visually inspect the skin to determine if it is shingles. A sample of the skin's tissue may also be taken and sent to a lab for further evaluation.
Treatment for Shingles
Unfortunately, there is no cure for shingles. As it is a virus, you will need to let it run its course, in a similar manner as you would the flu. Thankfully, there are options to relieve the pain and help you recover from the virus without a great deal of discomfort.
Certain medications can be prescribed, which will help the skin heal. Prescription antibiotics may also be necessary if any of the rash or blisters have become infected.
For patients dealing with severe pain related to the shingles, prescription pain relievers may be recommended. Antidepressants can also be used for a short period of time to ease the discomfort. Topical creams, such as Shingle Ease, and patches can also be prescribed to reduce the pain, swelling, and itchiness. Many patients will require a combination of oral and topical medications to effectively ease the discomfort of the shingles.
Natural solutions may also be possible. Warm compresses can ease inflammation while ice packs may numb the pain. Make sure to ask your doctor before trying any home remedy first.
Shingles may not be a life-threatening event, but it can threaten your quality of life for a short period of time. Fortunately, help is available. This guide and your doctor will help you efficiently diagnose and effectively manage your shingles.