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How to Treat Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles or herpes zoster is characterized by the appearance of rashes and blisters on the skin accompanied by pain. Then how to treat shingles? Generally, shingles can be treated with antiviral medications and pain relievers.

How to Treat Shingles

Shingles can be caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Therefore, shingles are known as herpes zoster. With proper treatment, shingles will usually heal within 2 - 3 weeks.

Symptoms of Shingles

Shingles can be experienced by anyone, especially people who have previously had chickenpox. In addition, shingles are also more at risk for people with weak immune systems, for example suffering from autoimmune diseases, due to side effects of cancer treatment, using immunosuppressant medications and being over 50 years old or elderly.

When a person suffers from shingles, a person will experience the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin
  • Painful rash on the skin
  • Blister skin filled with fluid that breaks easily
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Numbness or tingling of the skin

Usually these symptoms improve within a few weeks. However, treatment steps still need to be taken to relieve symptoms and speed up the healing process in someone with the risk factors above.

How to Treat Shingles

Actually, shingles treatment does not completely cure shingles disease, but it can reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the infection. To treat shingles, your doctor may be able to give you medications such as:

Antiviral medications

Doctors can prescribe antiviral medications to treat shingles, such as valacyclovir, acyclovir, and famcyclovir. In order to relieve symptoms more effectively, the medicine needs to be given no later than 3 days from the appearance of the symptoms of shingles.

Analgesic medications

The purpose of giving analgesic medications is to relieve pain and overcome inflammation that occurs in the skin due to shingles. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an analgesic, such as ibuprofen, to relieve pain from shingles.

Anticonvulsant medications

Actually anticonvulsant medications are used to treat seizures. However, in people with shingles, anticonvulsant medications, such as gabapentin, can be used to treat prolonged pain. In addition, to relieve pain due to shingles, doctors may prescribe antidepressant medications such as amitriptylin.

Itching reliever medications

How to treat shingles itching can be with an itching reliever medication. Generally, doctors will prescribe an itchy reliever medication in the form of an ointment or powder to be applied to the itchy skin. However, to treat severe skin itching problems, your doctor may also be able to prescribe an itching reliever medication in tablet form such as diphenhydramine.

In addition to medication, the symptoms of shingles can also be relieved by self-care at home, such as:

  • Give a cold compress on the area of the skin affected by shingles or by applying calamine powder or lotion.
  • Do not scratch the blistered skin, because this can cause the skin to become injured and easily infected by bacteria.
  • Sleep or rest with sufficient time.
  • Consume foods that contain vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
  • Do not squeeze the shingles blister until it bursts, because the fluid in it contains a virus that can spread to other areas of the skin and can even spread to other people.

That's an explanation of how to treat shingles. Although shingles are generally harmless, they can cause pain that can affect activities. If not treated promptly, the symptoms of shingles can also get worse. Therefore, if you experience symptoms of shingles, do not delay to see a doctor so that you can get the right treatment.

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