Over the counter treatment for shingles involves the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
Shingles is a skin problem that is typically caused by the infection of herpes zoster virus. People who have had a history of chickenpox are the ones who actually develop this infection. This is because the reason behind the onset of chickenpox and shingles is no different. The virus that triggers chickenpox symptoms is the one that strikes again to cause shingles, and is typically marked by the development of an itchy rash, usually in the chest and the upper back area. The blisters forming a band like pattern is the characteristic feature of a shingles rash. The affected area typically causes radiating pain that generally lasts till the duration of the viral infection. The infection generally goes within a month’s time, but how does one make the pain more manageable during this time is often a cause for concern for all shingles’ patients. The answer to this question is discussed below:
Medications for Shingles
Over the counter painkillers for shingles are non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Now NSAIDS not only help to reduce the swelling but also provide relief from the pain. Also, many times, the painful symptoms of shingles respond quite well to these NSAIDS. So when it to comes to combating the aches and pains of shingles, going for OTC NSAIDS can definitely serve the purpose. Although NSAIDS may not completely block the pain, it can substantially reduce the severity of the pain. In order to ease the inflammation and pain, NSAIDS like ibuprofen and naproxen are helpful to treat shingles. Medications like acetaminophen (for children) or aspirin aren’t effective enough to reduce inflammation, but are very much capable of bringing down shingles pain. When it comes to dosage, opting for lower or regular strength tablets is recommended. Extra strength tablets may harm the lining of the stomach and lead to the formation of ulcers.
As aforementioned, the site of the rash not only causes pain but also appears inflamed. To reduce swelling, one can go for hydrocortisone creams. Apart from relieving inflammation, hydrocortisone creams are also effective to alleviate the itchy sensation. Therefore, if the relentless itchiness of shingles rash is bothering you a lot, it’s time you got hold of a hydrocortisone cream. It is one of the best anti-itch treatment for this skin problem.
Application of creams that contain 1% hydrocortisone are found to be extremely effective to get relief from the itchy skin. One can apply cortaid cream or calamine lotion (Caladryl) for shingles rash. Basically, hydrocortisone is a topical corticosteroid that displays anti-inflammatory properties, hence usage of these creams works to decrease the skin inflammation. Application of antiseptic agents like benzoin can also contribute to reduce irritation and discomfort associated with shingles. Benzoin gum offers amazing relief from shingles. Just dab it on the blisters that have not burst and expect no scars after the skin disorder clears away.
When the shingles rash develops, the body releases histamines (chemicals) as a response to a viral infection. The production of histamine is yet another reason why the skin becomes itchy. Studies show that decreasing the amount of histamine being produced during the infection can go a long way in alleviating the itchy feeling. This can be achieved by anti-histamines, medications that restrict histamine production. Histamines cause severe itching, and so when the itchiness does not subside with the aforementioned anti-itch creams, one can use antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec orally or topically, to soothe the itchiness.
Unfortunately, antiviral drugs cannot be taken without having a doctor’s prescription These medications in most cases, work as they target the underlying cause. A point to note is that over the counter shingles treatment merely relieves the symptoms. They do not help in any way to kill the virus, hence provide temporary relief. There have been cases wherein painkillers proved ineffective in subsiding the symptoms. So, in such a scenario, one has to immediately contact a doctor and opt for oral anti-viral drugs.