Shingles can affect one in five adults who had the chickenpox when they were children. There is no known cure for shingles. There are, however, treatments available to shorten the duration of the illness and make the symptoms bearable.
Once you have had the chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in your body. Age, stress and a low immune system are some of the factors which can make the virus reappear in the form of shingles. Like chicken pox, once you have had shingles, it should not appear again.
Shingles is a painful rash that can show up in a small strip on your face or body. Warning signs for this disease are headache, flu like symptoms without fever and itching followed by the painfully blistered red rash.
There is a shingles vaccine that can help reduce your chances of developing shingles. If you have the vaccine and still develop shingles, the duration of the illness and the pain should be significantly lower than if you had not had the vaccine. It is recommended to get the vaccine if you are over 50 years of age.
If you get shingles, then your doctor will most likely prescribe one or more of the following:
- Antiviral medication – It will reduce the pain and the duration of the illness.
- Pain relievers – These can be prescribed or over the counter medications you can take to help with the pain.
- Antibiotics – It comes in a topical form to be put on the affected area to prevent or stop infection.
Other things you can do to make yourself more comfortable is to keep the rash dry and clean, avoid scratching the blistered area, apply a topical anesthetic and apply ice to the area for no more than five minutes at a time.