How to treat Shingles

Antiviral medications work best if started within 72 hours of developing blisters. This will help blisters crust over and heal faster. These medications may not cure the disease, but they can help minimize the extent and spread of the rash, as well as minimize the pain associated with it. They may also help to reduce the risk of developing chronic pain from shingles.

Talk with your pharmacist about using over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen for the pain associated with shingles. If your pain is very severe, your doctor may prescribe other types of medications (e.g., certain anti-seizure medications, corticosteroids, or narcotic pain medications such as oxycodone) to help with the pain.

To relieve the itching and pain of shingles, you can try:

  • applying calamine lotion to the blisters
  • using cool, moist compresses
  • soaking in a tub with cornstarch or oatmeal

Keep the rash dry and clean, avoid scratching the blisters, and avoid dressings and bandages with adhesives.

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