Skip to content

Shingles Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Shingles - 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 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.

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

Recommended Related to Shingles

Shingles: Are You Risking Nerve Pain?

Shingles, a viral infection of the nerve roots, affects 1 million people in the U.S each year. Most people recover from their bout, but for as many as 50% of those over age 60 who have not been treated, the pain doesn't go away. It can last for months, years, or even the rest of their lives. These people have what's called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin. In some cases, the pain is mild. In others, even the slightest touch -- from...

Read the Shingles: Are You Risking Nerve Pain? article > >

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

varicella zoster virus
How to recognize this painful rash.
shingles rash
Symptoms, causes, and treatment.
 
nurse administering flu vaccine
8 questions, answered.
senior woman
Are you more likely to get it?
 
shingles rash
Slideshow
woman holding her lower back
Article
 
New PHN Drug Cuts Lingering Shingles Pain
Article
mature man with serious expression
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections