Shortening Shingles With Treatment

Shingles is an unpleasant virus that affects the nerve and causes a rash on the skin along the nerve. The rash can be itchy and irritable and the virus can vary from causing mild pain to prolonged and severe pain.

Shingles is caused by a virus know as herpes varicella-zoster; the virus remains dormant in the nervous system following a bout of chickenpox and causes shingles when reactivated. There is no cure for the virus but shortening shingles with treatment is possible if medical attention is sought early enough. There are a number of things that can trigger reactivation and being aware of these, as-well as the early symptoms can reduce the severity and improve the condition.
Things that make reactivation more likely include:

  • Old age
  • Increased stress levels
  • HIV and AID’s
  • Leukaemia
  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Medications following organ transplants
  • Bone marrow conditioning


Being aware of the symptoms can also allow doctors to provide early help in the form of medication.

Early symptoms of shingles

Young adults and children rarely develop shingles and the early may not be noticeable until the rash begins to appear. Common symptoms of the shingles virus, especially in the over 50’s begin with a burning and tingling sensation in the affected area, numbness of the area and stabbing pains may also be felt. These pains can last for several days before the rash of raised red spots appear, the spots will be present for a number of days before turning to blisters containing a cloudy fluid. These blisters will begin to scab over and then drop-off similar to chickenpox.

Seeking advice early can lead to a shortening of shingles with treatment, the treatment provided by GP’s will often combine painkilling and antiviral medication, these treatments can be help along with a range of self-help methods that can be applied at home.

Medication used for shingles

Painkilling medication that is prescribed by GP’s will depend on the severity of the pain. In many cases the use of a mild to moderate painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will be sufficient for shortening shingles with treatment, these types of medication can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies and supermarkets. IN the pain is slightly more severe, a GP may prescribe opioids, this is a stronger painkiller and generally comes in the form of codeine. Another opioid is morphine but this is only used on the rarest of occasions.

Antiviral medication is a great way of shortening shingles with treatment. Antiviral tablets are taken in the early stages of shingles (usually within the first 72 hours) and can help to stop the virus from multiplying. Antiviral medication has the following benefits:

  • Reducing the severity of shingles, particularly so when in the early stages
  • Shortening the period of time that shingles lasts
  • Lowers the risks of complications which may occur as a result of shingles


Although the sufferers will benefit the most by taking antiviral medication with the first three days, it is still very effective up to a week after a rash has appeared.




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