Managing Herpes Zoster With Lifestyle Changes and Medication
Treating Complications of Herpes ZosterEarly treatment with antiviral medications may also help stave off the painful aftereffects of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition in which the pain from herpes zoster persists for months, sometimes years, after the herpes zoster rash has healed. If a person does develop postherpetic neuralgia, depending on the severity of PHN symptoms, treatments may include:
- Painkillers, such as opioids
- Lidoderm® patch (anesthetic placed directly on the skin)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Not everyone responds in the same ways to these medications, so your doctor may need to try more than one medicine or different strengths of the medicine before the pain is reduced.
Lifestyle Changes for Herpes Zoster TreatmentIn addition to medications, certain lifestyle changes may help a person feel better. If you have herpes zoster, keep the following tips in mind:
- Good hygiene, including daily bathing, can help prevent secondary bacterial infections.
- It is a good idea to keep fingernails clean and well-trimmed to reduce scratching.
- Make sure you get enough rest, avoid stress as much as you can, and eat well-balanced meals.
- Simple exercises like stretching or walking can help. Check with your doctor first.
- Dip a washcloth in cool water and apply it to your blisters to ease the pain and help dry the blisters.
- It may also help to use cool compresses to reduce the pain.
- Do things that take your mind off your pain. Watch TV, read interesting books, talk with friends, or work on a hobby you like.
- Try to relax. Stress can make the pain worse. Listen to music that helps you relax.
- Share your feelings about your pain with family and friends. Ask for their help.