Managing Problems Associated With Shingles
Early treatment with antiviral medications may also help stave off the painful aftereffects of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition where the pain from shingles persists for months, sometimes years, after the shingles rash has healed. If a person does develop postherpetic neuralgia, depending on the severity of PHN symptoms, pain relief for shingles may include:
- Painkillers, such as opioids
- Lidoderm® patch (anesthetic placed directly on the skin)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Not everyone responds to these medications in the same way, so your healthcare provider may need to try more than one medicine or different strengths of the medicine before the pain is reduced.
Lifestyle Changes as a Shingles TreatmentIn addition to medications, certain lifestyle changes may help a person feel better. If you have been diagnosed with shingles, keep the following tips in mind:
- Good hygiene, including daily bathing, can help prevent secondary bacterial infections.
- It is a good idea to keep fingernails clean and well trimmed to reduce scratching.
- Make sure you get enough rest, avoid stress as much as you can, and eat well-balanced meals.
- Simple exercises like stretching or walking can help. Check with your healthcare provider first.
- Dip a washcloth in cool water and apply it to your blisters to ease the pain and help dry the blisters.
It may also help to use cool compresses to reduce the pain.
- Do things that take your mind off your pain. Watch TV, read interesting books, talk with friends, or work on a hobby you like.
- Try to relax. Stress can make the pain worse. Listen to music that helps you relax.
- Share your feelings about your pain with family and friends. Ask for their help.