Topical Treatment For Shingles

Shingles is virus which causes an infection in a number of nerves and results in pain and a rash following the route of the nerve. Shingles affects around 250,000 people each year in the UK and is brought about by a virus known as herpes varicella-zoster which lays dormant in the sensory nervous system following a chickenpox. The exact cause of the reactivation of herpes varicella-zoster is not known but common cases of the virus are found in people over 50 and those with a lowered immune system. The virus is generally helped with the use of medication, drugs and topical treatment for shingles.

What are topical treatments?

A topical treatment for shingles is generally classed as the first line of treatment and can be prescribed by a doctor or purchased over-the-counter. A topical treatment is something that is applied to skin as opposed to taken orally or injected, topical formulas generally come in creams, gels, lotions and balms which are rubbed into the skin to provide relief and help to heal a problem.

What topical treatments are used in shingles?

A topical treatment for shingles will generally be an antiviral formula, a steroid and antibiotic combination or an antipruritic (anti-itching agent).

Antiviral treatments are normally prescribed by a doctor of GP as tablets to be taken orally but cream such as aciclovir and penciclovir can also be applied to affected areas of skin to help stop the shingles virus from multiplying and to heal the rash.

Creams which contain a combination of steroid and antibiotics are generally used for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis but may also be prescribed to provide relief from irritation and itchiness which is caused by the shingles rash. Common creams in this form are Betamethasone and Clindamycin.

Capsaicin cream for shingles

The use of capsaicin cream is prescribed by GP’s as a topical treatment for pain relief caused as a result of shingles. Capsaicin is available in varying strengths and can be applied directly to the affected area of a short term relief of pain; the cream is designed to be used over prolonged periods and is often prescribed to help with pain suffered from a common complication of shingles which is postherpetic neuralgia.

DMSO cream for shingles

Another topical treatment for shingles that is highly recommended for both acute and chronic symptoms is DMSO. The cream is made up of equal parts of zinc oxide, aloe vera and vitamin E and is commonly used as a natural alternative to pain relieving medication. DMSO also has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion is an over-the-counter lotion that is commonly used to sooth itchy skin and provides relief from the irritation caused as a result of the shingles rash. This lotion is recommended by doctors as a topical treatment for shingles that can be used at home. Calamine lotion can be applied to all affected areas but does not provide any benefits in terms of helping to heal the virus.




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