Shingles is a viral infection that affects the nerves. It often causes a painful rash and can sometimes lead to complications. If you are experiencing a Shingles rash, you may be feeling a lot of itchiness. This can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. In this article, we will discuss ways to cope with the itchiness caused by Shingles. We will also provide tips for managing the rash itself.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection that affects the nerves. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles often cause a painful rash and can sometimes lead to complications.
Where does Shingles come from?
If you had chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus, and physical signs of infection fade away. Although chickenpox is deemed as a ‘childhood disease’ that can be fought off with good health practices, in adulthood, there is a high chance the same virus can emerge again as Shingles.
Is Shingles Common?
An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in the United States alone. One in every six people will develop shingles at some point in their lives. The risk of developing it increases with age. About half of the cases occur among those over 50 years old – primarily because they’ve had chickenpox before, which leaves them more susceptible later down the line when reactivating varicella-zoster virus – the cause behind actual outbreaks.
What are the early symptoms of Shingles?
Early symptoms of shingles may include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Stomach pain
These symptoms usually last for three to five days. The rash usually appears one to two days after the onset of these symptoms.
Other signs and symptoms that appear a few days after the early symptoms include:
- An itching, tingling or burning feeling in a particular area of your skin.
- Redness on your skin in the affected area.
- Raised rash in a small area of your skin
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Mild to intense pain in the area of skin affected
What can I do to cope with a Shingles rash?
The itchiness caused by Shingles can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. There are a few things that you can do to help cope with the itchiness:
- Take an antihistamine.
Antihistamines can help relieve itching, pain, and swelling. Some of them include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
- Use a topical cream or ointment.
Topical creams and ointments can help relieve itching and pain. It is important to pick out a product that has anti-microbial benefits.
- Talk to your doctor about other options.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe you medication catered to your condition to help relieve the itchiness and pain more effectively.
- Wear loose-fitting, natural-fiber clothing.
Wearing tight clothes will only irritate your skin further. This may further trigger a reaction to your Shingles rash.
- Do things that take your mind off your discomfort.
For instance, watch your favorite TV program, read a book, or even simply just listen to calming music.
- Try simple exercises
Stretching or walking are good ways to keep yourself active. It is important not to do anything vigorous.
- Avoid scratching the rash
Although it may be tough to resist, scratching the rash can lead to further irritation and even infection. If you must scratch, try to do so lightly.
Are there any at-home remedies for Shingles?
There are a few home remedies that may help relieve the symptoms of shingles:
- Apply a cool compress.
This will help soothe itching, pain, and inflammation.
- Take oatmeal baths.
Oatmeal has soothing properties that can help relieve the itchiness caused by shingles.
- Use baking soda or cornstarch on your rash
Baking soda can help relieve itching and pain. Create a paste using cornstarch or baking soda and add about one part water to naturally relieve itching caused by a shingles rash.
- Use aloe vera on your rash
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin. All you have to do is gently rub the gel inside the leaf onto those sore blisters.
If my Shingles rash condition persists, what should I do?
If your rash does not go away after a few weeks, or if it gets worse, you should see a doctor. You may need prescribed medication to help your body fight off the virus.
Shingles can be an excruciating and frustrating condition. However, there are things that you can do to help ease the itchiness and pain. If home remedies do not work, be sure to see a doctor as you may need medication. With the proper treatment, Shingles will eventually go away.
How long does a shingles outbreak last?
The rash usually lasts for two to four weeks. The pain and itchiness can last for several weeks or, for more severe cases, months; it may take months after the rash goes away. It is important to know that healing does not happen overnight. Be patient and take care of yourself during this time!
Shingles can be a very frustrating and uncomfortable experience. We hope that these tips will help you cope with the itchiness and pain. Remember to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any problems. Healing takes time, so be patient and take care of yourself.