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Herpes Zoster

Call your doctor if you have pain or rash in a band on one side of your body. If you think you have shingles, you should be seen as soon as possible. Antiviral medication is effective only if given early.
  • If the rash with blisters is on your nose or near your eyes, you should be seen right away because the virus may spread to the eye and cause eye damage or vision loss.
  • You should also be seen as soon as possible if you have a medical illness that decreases your ability to fight off infection. You may be able to avoid complications.
Go to a hospital's emergency department if these conditions develop:
  • If you have shingles and a high fever or feel sick
  • If the blisters are spreading to other areas of your body
Self-Care at Home
  • Do not scratch. This may increase the risk of secondary bacterial infection and scarring. Antihistamines can relieve the itching.
  • Pain medication is often necessary.
  • Apply cool tap-water compresses to weeping blisters for 20 minutes several times a day to soothe and help dry the blisters. It also aids in removing the scabs and decreases the potential for bacterial infection. Tap-water compresses must be stopped once the blisters have dried, so the surrounding skin does not become too dry and itchy.
  • Keep the area clean with mild soap and water. Application of petroleum jelly can aid in healing. Wear loose clothing to avoid extra pain from clothing rubbing against the rash. Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with others who have not had chickenpox, are ill, or who have a weakened immune system


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