As kids, we dealt with that notoriously itchy rash caused by chickenpox. Unfortunately, as we get older, the same virus that caused our childhood chickenpox can also cause shingles. If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, then that same virus is lying dormant within the body. This means that at some point during your lifetime, the virus does have the ability to reactivate, causing a painful, blistering rash on the stomach and sides. This is known as shingles.
Think You Have Shingles?
If you notice a blister-like rash developing on one side of the body it’s possible that you could have shingles. If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see a doctor.
Those over the age of 60 years old as well as those with chronic conditions such as diabetes are more at risk for complications related to shingles, so you must seek immediate dermatology care from a qualified doctor. A dermatologist can also rule out other possible conditions or infections.
For the antiviral medication to be most effective, you must see a doctor right away if you think you have shingles. The most common types of antiviral medications used to treat shingles include acyclovir and valacyclovir. These antivirals can speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
There are also simple home remedies that you can use to ease the discomfort associated with the rash. Some of these remedies include:
- Applying cold compresses to the rash
- Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath
- Wearing light, loose-fitted clothing that won’t rub against the rash
- Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
- Managing stress effectively and finding ways to help you relax
- Eating healthy, balanced meals
- Getting good quality sleep every night
The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine that can protect you against this infection. If you are over the age of 50, you could benefit from the shingles vaccine so ask your doctor. The vaccine can protect you from shingle for up to five years.
If you are worried that you might have shingles, or if you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should get the shingles vaccine, a qualified dermatologist will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the custom dermatology treatment you need to ease your symptoms.