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Shingles (cont.)

Home Treatment

You may reduce the duration and pain of shingles by:

  • Taking good care of skin sores.
    • Avoid picking at and scratching blisters. If left alone, blisters will crust over and fall off naturally.
    • Use cool, moist compresses if they help ease discomfort. Lotions, such as calamine, may be applied after wet compresses.
    • Apply cornstarch or baking soda to help dry the sores so that they heal more quickly.
    • Soak crusted sores with tap water or Burow's solution to help clean away crusts, decrease oozing, and dry and soothe the skin.
    • Ask your doctor about using topical creams to help relieve the inflammation caused by shingles.
    • If your skin becomes infected, ask your doctor about prescription antibiotic creams or ointments.
  • Using medicines as prescribed to treat shingles or postherpetic neuralgia, which is pain that lasts for at least 30 days after the shingles rash heals.
  • Using nonprescription pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, to help reduce pain during an attack of shingles or pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. If you are already taking a prescription pain medicine, talk to your doctor before using any over-the-counter pain medicine. Some prescription pain medicines have acetaminophen (Tylenol), and getting too much acetaminophen can be harmful.

If home treatment doesn't help with pain, talk to your doctor. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

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