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Finding Relief from Shingles

May 13, 2020

When the discomfort and inflammation of shingles arrives, it can bring with it the additional pain that comes from a feeling of helplessness. Finding that there is no known cure and that the virus causing it has been within us since childhood chickenpox – and that even the shingles vaccine only improves our chances of not experiencing an outbreak – adds up to a terrible sense that it’s all stacked against us.

Yet, there is much you can do to relieve the symptoms and suffering of shingles, and the first thing is to realize that there is help. We provide that, at Dermatology Consultants, from a board-certified medical staff that is experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Next, early treatment helps lessen the chance of complications and helps shorten a shingles infection. Today, the treatments available to us include topical creams and patches, pain relief, antiviral medications, and steroids.

Especially Watchful

The rash, sensitivity, pain, numbness, or tingling of an outbreak should signal a call for prompt medical attention. People 60 or over are particularly at risk for complications, as are folks whose outbreak may be near the eye or who have household members with a weakened immune system.

The shingles vaccine is worth considering for anyone who has had chickenpox, because the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) behind shingles is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Long after chickenpox disappears, the virus lies dormant in the body in nerve tissue near the brain or spinal cord. When the virus becomes active again, that is the onset of a shingle outbreak.

The Course of Treatments

An outbreak of shingles can last from two to six weeks. If the rash and inflammation are present, then the infection can be passed on to anyone who does not have immunity to chickenpox. One glimmer of light is that many people who suffer from shingles never have another outbreak, after the first one resolves, although this is not true universally.

In addition to the pain relief, topical remedies, and anti-viral or anti-inflammatory care you can receive from a physician’s practice, to shorten a shingles outbreak, there are things you can do at home to lessen the severity.

Someone You Can Count On

Among the first good reasons to seek medical care for a shingles outbreak is that the symptoms can be confused with other ailments. Rash and blisters can arise from many conditions and, in some cases, an onset of shingles can be signaled by pain that comes days before those signs become visible.

While there may be no known cure, and almost everyone who grew up in the U.S. before chickenpox vaccinations became widespread carries the virus, we can certainly help at Dermatology Consultants. We will make sure you know what you are dealing with, relieve discomfort, and devise a course of treatment that is especially suited to you. Just contact one of our three locations to get started.


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