Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a common virus that causes a painful rash, usually in a stripe of blisters that wraps around your torso. If you’ve ever had chickenpox (varicella-zoster), the virus stays in your body and can later reactivate as shingles.
Some otherwise healthy patients wonder if they need to visit a doctor for treatment, especially if their shingles symptoms seem mild. Here’s what you need to know about treating this contagious skin disease.
Can a Dermatologist Help With Shingles?
If you see any signs of singles, you should visit a dermatologist within three days of the rash appearing. While shingles are almost never life-threatening, an initially mild rash can worsen and cause severe complications.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication. This persistent nerve pain causes itching, burning, and tingling for months after your shingles have healed. In some cases, it lasts for years or is permanent. Shingles can also damage your eyes, causing glaucoma, nerve damage, and permanent vision loss. You’re also at risk for Ramsay Hunt syndrome if you develop shingles around your ears. This can cause dizziness, earaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, or facial paralysis.
Fortunately, early shingles treatment from a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Stanley Skopit at Dania Dermatology, significantly reduces the duration and severity. Taking a prescription anti-viral like acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir is the primary treatment for shingles. These oral medications decrease your risk of compilations and speed up recovery.
If you don’t currently have shingles symptoms but are over the age of 50 and have had chickenpox, consider getting the Shingrix® vaccine which prevents 90% of outbreaks.
How to Soothe Shingles at Home
After seeing a dermatologist, you’ll need to wait for your body to fight off the virus. A shingles rash is painful, but home remedies can provide some relief. These include:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath.
- Placing cold compresses over the rash.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing to reduce friction.
- Applying calamine lotion to relieve itching.
Most cases of shingles last around three to five weeks, but early intervention can shorten your recovery.
Get Shingles Treatment in Dania, Florida
If you’re experiencing any signs of singles, contact Dania Dermatology in Dania, Florida at 954-807-9433. Our skilled dermatologist can correctly diagnose your condition and provide treatment to reduce your risk of complications.