Best Treatment For Shingles

Shingles is a virus which affects a nerve and the surrounding area, and is most commonly associated with the over 50’s. However, it is possible to develop the virus at any age. Shingles develops as a result of the chickenpox virus herpes varicella-zoster (VZV) which lays dormant in the sensory nervous system after a bout of the virus; it is the reactivation of VZV which leads to shingles.

The best treatment for shingles is provided by a GP and understanding the signs of the virus early can prevent a more severe bout and lower the risk of complications as a result.

Early symptoms of shingles

The early signs of shingles will differ in children and adults. The first signs of shingles in children are often determined upon the appearance of a rash with no pain or feeling of unwell beforehand. In adults the signs are more noticeable.

Shingles will generally affect either the left or right side of the body and in the majority of cases, the chest and abdomen. The early symptoms of the virus will be a tingling or burning sensation and feeling of numbness in the affected area, this may be combined with stabbing pains. A feeling of tiredness, muscle pain and a high temperature may also present for several days before a rash appears.

Seeking medical attention for shingles

Seeking medical attention will ensure you receive the best treatment for shingles; there are methods of treatment that can be administered by a GP for both the pain and the rash.

As there is no cure for shingles, the virus has to be left to run its course; treatment can help a sufferer speed up the recovery. The most common form of treatment is painkilling medication; the strength of the painkiller given will depend on the level of pain being felt by the sufferer.

In most cases, the use of over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are enough to ease the pain, more severe pain may warrant the use of a stronger painkiller such as opioids, the most common being codeine.

Rare cases may call for medication such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants as the best treatment for shingles. Antidepressants can be provided in a low dose (compared to what is prescribed for depression) to help patients with severe and prolonged pain. Anticonvulsants are generally used to control seizures in epilepsy but can be used in shingles to help stabilise the nervous system and ease pain.

Antiviral medication is sometimes prescribed alongside painkillers by GP’s to stop the virus from multiplying. The use of antiviral medication can be beneficial in reducing the severity of shingles and shortening the virus’s timespan.

Antiviral medication is not considered the best treatment for shingles in all cases and is generally only used for patients over 50. The use of this medication in pregnant women is only an option if the benefits significantly outweigh the risks and children rarely have symptoms serious enough the warrant the use.

 

 

 

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