If you had chickenpox when you were a youngster, the shingles virus is already in you. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are several things you can do to deal with outbreaks quickly and effectively. This article will give you several strategies for not only preventing outbreaks but minimizing their severity if and when they do happen.
If you suspect that you have shingles, your first course of action should be to see a doctor who might be able to prescribe one of several anti-viral medications that can shorten the duration of an attack, lessen its severity, as well as prevent long-term complications.
The good news about shingles is that although there isn't much you can do once you have the virus, there are several important and effective ways you can deal with the matter, and these are things that you can take care of yourself.
First, take care of your skin which, of course, means keeping it clean with frequent washing with a gentle soap and a washcloth. Bathe as you normally would, but use cool water to soothe to a rash. You can also get relief by using a colloidal oatmeal bath.
Another method of soothing the rash associated with shingles is to use cold compresses on the affected area. Soak a paper towel or washcloth with cool or cold water and apply it to the affected area. You can also use menthol creams, topical lotions, petroleum jelly, calamine lotion, and hydrocortisone creams. Whatever you use, avoid putting anything on your skin that you think would cause irritation.
When you are having an attack, try to stay out of the sunlight as much as possible. This is due to the fact that sunlight makes your skin change color, which can affect the blemishes that are caused by shingles. Sunlight will cause scar tissue that will be lighter than the rest of your skin, especially as your skin tans.
Avoid picking at blisters, which will dry up and fall off anyway. Applying cornstarch or baking soda to a rash will help the area to dry and heal.
If you have pain associated with your shingles, have your doctor prescribe lidocaine patches. These numb the skin in the affected area and can give considerable relief.
Use nonprescription pain medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce pain during an attack of shingles. If you are already taking a prescription pain medication, talk to your doctor before using any over-the-counter pain medication. You should be careful about taking too much pain medication since many of them contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), and getting too much of this in your system can be harmful.
Getting pain under control as quickly as possible is important because if you don't address the discomfort shingles can cause nerve damage, the effects of which can linger for months or years.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, avoid scratching the affected area as much as possible. It will be difficult to avoid, but scratching can open the sores of the rash allowing bacteria on the surface of your skin to get in and cause an infection. The best overall remedy is to simply relax, baby yourself, and use the remedy that works best for you. The symptoms will eventually go away. If they don't go away, make an appointment with your doctor's office for different treatments and advice.
Finally, avoid scratching as much as possible. We know. It's difficult, but scratching can open the sores of the rash allowing bacteria on the surface of your skin to get in and cause an infection. There are many shingles treatments available. Surely, one is available that will help you.