Herpes Zoster Treatment
Herpes zoster is also more commonly known as shingles. This is a viral disease that attacks nerve roots, causing flu-like symptoms and then a painful rash. The worst part of herpes zoster is that those who develop it can have long term pain, well after the rash has abated. Herpes zoster treatment can help reduce the immediately pain from the rash as well as hopefully prevent the long lasting pain that can develop after the rash has run its course.
At this point in time, there is not a cure for shingles, but there ways to treat the symptoms so that those who have shingles can go about their daily routines. Some of the best choices for herpes zoster treatment include antiviral medicines, pain medication, antidepressants, and creams and lotions. These are designed mostly to drive down the pain from the rash and to prevent the rash from developing into longer lasting postherpetic neuralgia.
Call Your Physician Immediately
Once you begin to notice symptoms, especially the internal symptoms, it is wise to contact your physician to begin herpes zoster treatment. This is important because early detection and treatment can help prevent long lasting pain.
The most commonly prescribed antivirals include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. Doctors also recommend taking over the counter medications to relieve pain, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Lotions and creams with antibiotic ingredients can help reduce the chance of infection from the blisthers that come with the rash. Sometimes, doctors will recommend corticosteroids, but studies show that they do not help the antiviral medicine, which is a powerful enough treatment on its own.
Postherpetic Neuralgia: One to Watch
Between ten and fifteen percent of people who develop shingles have a long lasting neural problem called postherpetic neuralgia. This is a long term problem where the nerves feel excess pain from the softest touches. The best treatment seems to be a round of antidepressants paired with topical treatments like benzocaine and lidocaine to anesthetize the skin and prevent excessive pain. Some doctors like to prescribe opiods like codeine and anticonvulsants to help numb the pain. Capsaicin is another common topic ingredient that can help reduce the pain from postherpetic neuralgia; however, capsaicin can cause burning sensations on some people, so it is recommended with caution.
Treatments for a Variety of Problems
Herpes zoster treatment will also depend on the area of the body that the rash occurs. If the rash is all over the body, it could begin to create problems with the internal organs and the joints. Some doctors might need to prescribe antibiotics as well as antiviral medications to prevent more spreading of the virus. If the rash is on the face, then a family doctor will make a referral to an ophthalmologist to keep the virus from spreading into the eyes which can eventually lead to blindness. The ophthalmologist will treat the problem with antivirals meds, rest, and cold compresses. The final herpes zoster treatment will occur if the virus begins to affect the cranial nerves, which could happen if the rash occurs on the face. This is rare, but there are treatments available.