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Can Shingles Be Treated? — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 10, 2008 at 4:15 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Can Shingles Be Treated?

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Shingles Prevention and Cure

Currently, there exists no cure for shingles, only methods to decrease outbreaks and manage symptoms. There is also no 100% effective way to prevent shingles infections. There is a vaccine for chicken pox that has proven effective, but not 100%. Anyone that has been infected with the chicken pox virus is capable of developing shingles. There are a variety of treatment methods that exist for shingles outbreaks, both to treat current outbreaks and limit the development of future outbreaks.

Current Treatment Methods

There exist a variety of treatment methods currently utilized for the management of signs and symptoms of shingles.

  • Antiviral Medications
  • Steroid Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain Medications
  • Skin Creams
  • Natural Products
  • Healthy Diet

Antiviral Medications and Steroids

Both antiviral medications and steroids must be prescribed by a physician for use. These are more commonly used in severe outbreaks. The antiviral medications most commonly utilized include; acyclovir, famcyclovir, and valcyclovir. These medications are utilized to reduce overall duration and severity. It is also used in an attempt to avoid serious complication development, such as postherpetic neuralgia .

Antidepressants

Having shingles is not something for cause to be happy. It is common for individuals with commonly reoccurring shingles outbreaks to be prescribed antidepressants. Antidepressants must be prescribed by a physician. The most commonly prescribed antidepressant medication for shingles outbreaks are tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline. Antidepressants come with side affects, like most prescription drugs do.

Pain Medications

Pain medications are commonly prescribed and available over the counter. Pain medications decrease the overall symptoms of pain associated with shingles outbreaks. The rash and blisters are usually associated with increased levels of sensitivity, causing in some cases, severe pain. Commonly used over the counter pain medications include; aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.

Skin Creams

Skin creams used for the treatment of shingles outbreaks are commonly topical anesthetics that cause a numbing sensation. Numbing the area is an effective way to decrease pain and itching associated with shingles outbreaks. Lidocaine patches are commonly utilized for this purpose. Topical antibiotics are also commonly used to decrease overall rates of infection spreading and to cleanse the blistered areas.

Shingles: General Care

Good care is essential for proper and timely healing from shingles outbreaks. This includes caring for any skin damage, including rashes and blistering, by maintaining a clean skin environment. If you have been prescribed medications, complete the medications and take them as directed. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call your physician's office. Over the counter pain relievers are commonly used for management of pain associated with shingles outbreaks. It is always best to use natural products to help deal with a shingles outbreak.

Shingles is Contagious

It is a common myth all too commonly made by individuals that shingles is not contagious. Shingles is contagious. It is absolutely necessary to avoid contact with other individuals until the rash and blisters have healed completely. It is possible to spread the Varicella Zoster virus to others, causing chicken pox or shingles outbreaks, dependent upon the individual. It should also be noted that it is very important to avoid individuals that may be pregnant, infants and small children that have not been vaccinated, and those with weakened immune systems.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-treatment-overview

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/pain-management-shingles

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-skin

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