Shingles: Treating the Symptoms
Shingles is a viral infection that is caused by the chickenpox virus. So, if you have ever had chickenpox (varicella), you are at risk for getting shingles. Shingles can be extremely painful, and since there is no known cure, treatment for shingles is often aimed at controlling that pain.
Symptoms of shingles typically include:
- Burning, itching, or tingling area of skin (typically lasts for 1-3 days)
- A rash in the same area as the burning, itching, or tingling
- The rash then turns to into blisters that turn yellow or bloody, then crust over and heal
- Extreme pain that can last for months
- Flu-like symptoms
Treatment for shingles typically focuses on reducing inflammation, easing pain, and controlling the infection. As soon as you are diagnosed, your physician will likely start you on antiviral medications, pain killers, and topical antibiotics.
Antiviral medications can reduce your chance for developing complications, such as postherpetic neuralgia. Pain medications are used to reduce the pain caused by the rash, and topical antibiotics can help stop the infection of the blisters.
Without treatment, shingles typically go away in a few weeks. However, without treatment many people get pain, numbness, and itching that can last for months or years. If you experience ongoing pain after your shingles rash heals, you could have postherpetic neuralgia and require additional treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of shingles, visit your local FastMed urgent care right away. Starting treatment early can reduce your risk for complications, so it is important to see a medical professional as soon as you can. FastMed is open 365 days a year, with extended hours, making it easy for you to be seen as soon as your symptoms start.