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 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 with 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. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.