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Treatment Options for Shingles Infection

Posted May 02 2010 10:20pm
There is no argument that shingles is a painful ordeal to have to endure, particularly for the elderly who are the ones mostly frequented by this disease. Treatment for zoster is mainly palliative, but it is the antiviral meds that can help to interrupt the virus’s ability to replicate, which can lessen the severity and length of time the disease is active.

Medications are utilized to lessen pain, decrease the duration of the disease and decrease the risk of onset of complications.

Complications:

Cellulitis: This complications a bacterial infection that can spread to the lymph nodes and blood and is often a high risk for fatality. Postherpetic Neuralgia: A painful condition of the nerve fibers and skin. Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain Hearing loss Visual problems that can be temporary or permanent Facial paralysis Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: Infection of the facial nerve with painful rash and facial muscle weakness.

The active stage of shingles can prove to be a very painful and debilitating condition. The good news is there are medications to combat the affects that an outbreak can have on your life.

Medications:

Pain medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, to decrease pain Antiviral medications such as Acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), and Famciclovir (Famvir) Corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone and prednisone taken orally or by injection Topical antibiotics applied to the skin to prevent bacterial infection on open and leaking blisters

Drugs for Postherpetic Neuralgia:

Acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline Analgesics Topical medications, such as a lidocaine patch Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin or pregabalin (Lyrica) Corticosteroids, such as prednisone Nerve block Opioids, such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine

The Zostavax Vaccine:

In 2006, Zostavax, a chickenpox booster vaccine was licensed to prevent zoster. Research studies conducted on the vaccine showed that it eradicated the infection in 50% of people who were age 60 and older. In addition, the vaccine was found to significantly reduce the severity of the pain associated with this disease. However, those with certain allergies such as gelatin and reactions to certain antibiotics such as neomycin were contraindicated by the vaccine.

Contraindications:

Immune system problems such as HIV/AIDS Drug treatments that affect the immune system such as steroids, radiation, or chemotherapy History of leukemia or lymphoma Active TB Expectant mothers

Women who have received the Zostavax vaccination should avoid getting pregnant for at least 12 weeks after inoculation. Furthermore, anyone who has been feeling ill or experiencing a recent illness should avoid receiving the vaccine until a full and complete recovery has been made, especially if a fever was present during the illness.

Any medication comes with the possible risk of side effects and Zostavax is no different.

Mild problems include: Redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the injection site and headache.

Severe Reactions: Respiratory distress, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, rapid heart rate, and dizziness. These symptoms would manifest within a few hours of being vaccinated.

Contact your health care provider if you think a shingles infection is about to take place. Early and fast treatment can prevent serious complications.

Barb Hicks is a licensed registered nurse who loves to share her knowledge about Shingles Vaccine Pros and Cons with others. You can find all her articles including Shingles Signs and Symptoms on Clivir.com.

categories: shingles,chicken pox,skin rash,skin disorder,disease,illness,health,fitness

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