Shingles is a viral infection that, unlike poison ivy, can be quite painful. In addition to feeling itchy, this virus may create a burning or tingling sensation. Since viral infections can affect people differently, the basic facts are extremely important.
How Do You know If You Have Shingles?
Shingles, also known as the varicella-zoster virus, can create a painful rash around the torso. It is usually seen as a single stripe of blisters on the right or left side of the body. Blisters are not the same as bug bites or the tiny, red bumps seen in allergic reactions. Blisters generally look like tiny fluid-filled bubbles under the top layer of skin.
In addition to pain, numbness is also a common side effect. The varicella-zoster virus may make the affected area feel dull to the touch. As the virus progresses, the numbness is usually replaced by a tingling or burning sensation.
Once the pain starts to subside, a rash will form. Sensitive skin is prone to additional irritation and may benefit from over-the-counter treatment.
What Ointment Is Best For Shingles?
The varicella-zoster virus causes physical pain in multiple areas of the body. Many individuals who develop this rash will also experience headaches and sensitivity to light. Fatigue and fever is also a sign of a viral infection.
For pain that is non-skin related, pain relievers can help. When timed correctly, these tablets can ease discomfort for multiple days. Blisters and skin-related conditions, however, will need specific treatment.
Shingles ointment can be found in many grocery stores and pharmacies around the country. Since shingles ointment does not require a prescription, it is relatively inexpensive and easily accessible. Applying topicals directly to the skin can also cause the ointment to work much faster than medication.
When asking “what ointment is best for shingles”, review the back of the label. Certain topicals include additives that can cause further skin irritation. Natural ointment works well for most skin types.
What About The Doctor?
Some cases of the varicella-zoster virus require a physician. Prescription treatment may help those who are experiencing extreme pain. Symptoms can also extend beyond headaches and a rash. For certain symptoms, professional care is necessary.
If the rash occurs anywhere on the face, this can be problematic. Usually, rashes are found on the torso, but they can happen anywhere on the body. Even rashes that do not cause blisters can be dangerous if it’s close to the eyes or mouth. If the infection is left untreated, eye damage can occur.
Age is also a factor. Those who are over sixty may find additional complications from the varicella-zoster virus. Even if the rash is well-maintained, visiting a primary care doctor is advised.
If the rash is widespread, this can make it difficult to function. The varicella-zoster virus can influence everyday tasks such as driving and even sitting. A rash that takes up the majority of the torso may need medical attention. Especially painful rashes may become further infected if proper precautions are not taken.
While it is rare to spread the varicella-zoster virus, it can occur. This usually happens when the person who is infected has close contact with another person. If opened-blisters are able to touch another individual, the virus can spread from contact. Other household members may be unsafe if they have a weakened immune system.
Individuals who have contracted this virus should stay away from those with chronic illnesses. Certain medications can weaken the immune system causing a particularly adverse reaction should they contract the varicella-zoster virus.
Once It’s Gone, Is It Gone?
The varicella-zoster virus is uncomfortable and can last for several days. Once an individual has contracted the virus, however, it is unlikely to return. Those with compromised immune systems may experience another episode, but it is rare.
Prevention is often the best cure. There are ways to potentially avoid it for those who are worried about a recurrence of the varicella-zoster virus.
Individuals who can benefit from prevention methods include women over 50 and anyone diagnosed with lymphoma or leukemia.
The vaccine is the primary way to reduce risk. A single dose can help adults who are over the age of sixty. The shot will protect individuals from experiencing the varicella-zoster virus again by receiving the prescription from a healthcare professional.