Shingles

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It is characterised by a painful rash and blisters, often accompanied by fever and headache. At My Pharmacy, we offer expert advice and a range of treatments to help you manage the symptoms of shingles and reduce the risk of complications.

Shingles typically affects older adults or those with weakened immune systems. It occurs when the varicella-zoster virus, which remains dormant in the body after a person has had chickenpox, reactivates. The main symptom of shingles is a painful rash that develops into fluid-filled blisters before crusting over.

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    • Symptoms of Shingles

      Common symptoms of shingles include:

      Pain, burning, or tingling sensation in the affected area
      Red rash that appears a few days after the pain
      Blisters filled with fluid that burst and form a crust
      Itching
      Fever and chills in some cases
      Effective Treatment Options

      Treatment for shingles aims to reduce pain and shorten the duration of the infection:

      Antiviral Medication: Aciclovir, valaciclovir, and famciclovir are commonly prescribed to reduce the severity and duration of the rash.
      Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, topical creams, and in some cases, prescription pain medications can help manage the pain associated with shingles.
      Postherpetic Neuralgia Treatment: For chronic pain that persists after the rash has healed, additional medications and therapies may be necessary.

    • Preventative Measures

      The shingles vaccine is recommended for older adults and those with weakened immune systems to reduce the risk of developing shingles and its complications. Vaccination is an important preventive measure that can help protect against the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus.

    • Complications and When to Seek Medical Attention

      Complications of shingles can include postherpetic neuralgia, a condition characterised by long-term nerve pain. If you suspect you have shingles, especially if the rash is near your eyes or if you have a weakened immune system, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and alleviate symptoms.

    • Accessing Treatment through the Pharmacy First Service

      The Pharmacy First service allows you to receive professional advice and treatment for shingles without needing a GP appointment. Our pharmacists can assess your symptoms, recommend suitable treatments, and provide guidance on managing the condition effectively.