Shingles is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. It presents like a skin infection and can in fact be mistaken for one. The disease is caused by varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. For this reason, you can only get shingles if you have ever had chicken pox. Most people had chicken pox during their childhood years but may not remember.
Typical signs of shingles are a painful rash and blisters. Most patients experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue and nausea. Before the rash appears, pain, tingling, burning and itching are usually present on localized areas where the rash will develop. A shingles rash only appears on one side of the body and forms a band-like appearance. This can be better illustrated with pictures of shingles on face. Can you get shingles on your arm? Any part of the body can be affected by shingles, including the mouth, genitals and arms. Regardless, most cases occur on the face, chest and torso.
There is no known cure for shingles. However, a variety of treatment options are available to manage its symptoms and shorten the recovery period. In this article, we look at the use and side effects of calamine lotions, prednisone, and terrasil for shingles.
Prednisone for shingles; use, dosage and side effects
Prednisone is a man-made oral corticosteroid. It is in a class of drugs used to treat inflammation by suppressing the immune system.
Use of prednisone for shingles treatment should be directed by a doctor. While the drug may be helpful, it comes with a list of side effects.
Prednisone is not used to cure shingles. It is used to improve symptoms like pain, itching, inflammation, discomfort and redness caused by shingles. For this reason, the drug is commonly used alongside antiviral drugs or other medications. Taking prednisone alone will not shorten the recovery period from shingles.
Correct prednisone for shingles dosage depends on factors such as age of patient and severity of infection. Starting dose is between a 5mg and 60mg daily dose. Dosage measurement will be adjusted based on how the patient responds to the drug. As it is with other corticosteroids, the effects do not manifest immediately.
Corticosteroids bring along many side effects and prednisone is not an exception. Common prednisone for shingles side effects include:
- Muscle weakness
- High blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- Rise in blood sugar
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Sleeping problems
These side effects may reduce with reduction in prednisone dosage measurement. Note that a number of other side effects not mentioned here may occur. This is why it is important to have a doctor prescribe the drug before use.
Since prednisone works by suppressing the immune system, complications such as bacterial infections can occur. People with diabetes may require to higher doses of diabetic medicines when on prednisone. The drug can also cause allergic reactions, so patients should inform their doctors of any history of allergic reactions to medications.
Calamine lotion for shingles; use, benefits and precautions
Calamine lotion derived from mixing zinc oxide with several other compounds. It is a very effective anti-itch topical lotion. So can you use calamine lotion for shingles? While calamine lotion is not specifically indicated for shingles, it is one of the most popular over the counter medications for how to treat shingles in adults. But like other lotions and creams, its use for shingles symptoms eye is limited.
Zinc oxide has for a long time been known to relieve itching and also to prevent bacterial infections. To use calamine lotion for shingles, first ensure that affected areas are clean and dry. Apply the lotion all over the affected areas as directed. Normally, the lotion is to be applied after every 6-8 hours.
Calamine lotion doesn’t cure shingles or help with inflammation. Zinc oxide works by drying the skin. As a result, shingles blisters heal faster. Since zinc oxide in calamine lotion is not that strong, its effects are generally mild.
The best approach is to use calamine lotion with other medications such as antiviral drugs and corticosteroids. In this way, you will address several problems caused by shingles at the same time.
Zinc oxide causes redness, irritation and itching. But since the effects of shingles occur inside the nerves and not on skin, the benefits are usually more than calamine lotion for shingles side effects. There are no reports indicating interactions between calamine lotion and other medications.
Terrasil max for shingles treatment
Terrasil is used to promote skin healing and keep the skin from damage. It contains at least two active ingredients.
Terrasil max for shingles promotes healing of blisters. It also prevents further skin damage such as caused by irritation due to itchiness. If there is risk of infection, terrasil max may prevent the same.
Terrasil should only be used externally. It is not to be applied in eyes or open wounds. Before use, ensure that affected areas are clean and dry before applying a thin layer to affected areas. To avoid it washing off, cover the treated areas with a clean bandage.
Other than the active ingredients in terrasil, others like essential oils and magnesium oxide may provide added benefits. You can check out terrasil shingles ointment reviews for more details on its benefits.
Terrasil is not a conventional treatment for shingles. If symptoms continue to get worse several days into its usage, check with your doctor. Also, if the medication is accidently ingested or gets into the eyes, get medical attention immediately. Terrasil works best when applied to the skin. For this reason, it may not be the medication to use for shingles in the ear symptoms.
Other treatments for shingles
As mentioned earlier, quite a number of medications and treatments are available for shingles treatment. They include:
The three medications discussed above do not treat shingles. What they do is improve its symptoms, mostly itchiness and pain. Prescription medications are usually the best option to start with. Normally, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs and painkillers for mild shingles. When severe nerve pain such as caused by post-herpetic neuralgia is involved, other medications such as antidepressants and analgesics may be used.
Can shingles be internal? Internal shingles occurs when rash and blisters do not materialize. It is a more serious form of shingles since it can result in complications such as pneumonia and inflammation in the brain. If you are experiencing pain on localized body areas accompanied by other symptoms of shingles, check with your doctor.
Over the counter options:
Over the counter treatment products for shingles seek to improve the condition and not to cure it. Good examples include lidocaine patches and capsaicin ointments. Pain killers such as ibuprofen can also help.
It is advisable to check with your doctor if symptoms continue to worsen even when using over the counter treatments. You can take photos and compare them with shingles pictures early stages to know if you have improved or not.
Home treatments are yet another popular option for treating shingles. Like over the counter options, treatment at home is not aimed at curing shingles. It is a way of keeping the shingles symptoms managed in such a way that the patient will recover without having to endure too much discomfort.
Good examples of home treatments include cool compresses, essential oils and colloidal oatmeal baths. You find that herpes zoster virus only reactivates when the immune system is down. To address this problem, try maintaining healthy diets or consider taking supplements like L-lysine.
A shingles vaccine is recommended for people over age 60. Currently, there are two shingles vaccines that have been approved by FDA. These are Zostavax and Shingrix.
Zostavax is a live vaccine with estimated effectiveness of 5 years. It is given in a singles shot. Shingrix is a nonliving vaccine. It is given in two shots, 2 years apart. Shingrix is estimated to be effective for more than 5 years. A patient who has been given Zostavax can still get Shingrix.
Shingles is not contagious. However, the herpes zoster virus can be passed to healthy persons during direct contact. Patients are contagious when shingles is in its blister-phase. Keeping the rash covered and shingles airborne precautions can help reduce spread.
Can you get shingles if you never had chicken pox? If you have never had chicken pox, you cannot get shingles. First contact with the varicella-zoster virus causes chicken pox and shingles thereafter.
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