In many cases, shingles will last around two to four weeks. Some people, though, experience the effects for the rest of their lives, either as an ever-present nerve pain or occasional flare-ups. Even if you’re lucky enough to have the disease pass through relatively quickly, two to four weeks can still feel like a very long time. No matter how long your symptoms last, you can use these tips to help you go on with your life as you deal with shingles.
The Shingles Vaccine
Most doctors recommend the shingles vaccine for anyone who is over 50. It’s at this age that complications from the disease can be serious and have longer-lasting effects. While most people think of a vaccine as being a preventative measure, you can still take the vaccine if you’ve had shingles. It’s a one-time shot and will reduce the chances of getting the illness again or having flare-ups.
Cool baths can reduce pain and itching when you’re experiencing the shingles rash. It also helps to keep the blisters clean and free from infection. Use only gentle soaps. If you don’t have time to take a bath, a cool compress can offer similar relief.
Stress can make your shingles symptoms last longer or cause the rash to come back when you least expect it. Manage stress in your life by refusing to take on too much, practicing yoga or tai chi, or doing other things that make you feel more relaxed.
Wear Softer Clothes
Pain can linger even after the rash goes away. Many people find that wearing silky or soft fabrics, particularly on the areas where the rash is or used to be, is a big help. Invest in a few quality pieces that you’ll be happy to wear.
Most doctors will prescribe medication for those who have severe cases of shingles. If the pain is debilitating or it’s lasting a long time, seek professional help. Those who have recurring bouts of shingles might find that taking an antiviral medication at the first signs reduces the symptoms and duration. Other medicines like antidepressants or topical creams can bring welcome relief.
Don’t think of shingles as a burden you have to carry for the rest of your life. While some people do deal with the illness long-term, there are still ways to get some relief from the pain.