Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent Pain Associated With Shingles?

Dr. Anne Oaklander answers the question: 'How Do I Prevent Shingles Pain?'

ByABC News
November 14, 2008, 1:43 PM

— -- Question: Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent Pain Associated With Shingles?

Answer: Shingles is bad enough. Most people will find it painful during the time that they have the rash. But the main concern is that for some people, the pain lasts and lasts even after the rash is long healed. For this reason, shingles is considered a medical emergency. And your actions during the first day can strongly affect your risk for being left with chronic pain after shingles. You must be seen by a physician and be prescribed medical treatment as soon as possible when you see little lesions come up that may be a shingles rash.

If you have a reasonable level of suspicion-pain on one half of the body-it's worth going to see your doctor, even without a rash. Some patients never have a rash, or you may be smart enough to catch a rash before it is fully erupted. Either way, if you're treated with antiviral medications, you may lessen your chance of chronic pain by as much as 50 percent.

There are currently three antiviral medications FDA-approved and marketed to treat shingles. They are acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These are the generic names.

If for any reason, your doctor is out of office, or the person that sees you does not take this seriously, then you need to go to an emergency room. Most people who have shingles unless they're very young or it's a very mild rash should be treated with these medications to lessen their risk of PHN.

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