If you have shingles or know anyone who’s had it, you know the pain can be intense. The sooner you start shingles treatment — ideally within three days after the rash appears — the sooner you’ll get relief, and the better your chances of avoiding a nerve condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) will be. PHN causes burning pain and stinging that lasts long after the shingles rash is gone.

What is shingles?

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a red, blistering and typically very painful rash. It occurs in people who have had chickenpox. The same virus, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), is to blame for both infections.

After you recover from chickenpox, VZV remains in the roots of your spinal nerves for life. Normally, your immune system keeps it dormant, but the virus can be reactivated when your immune system is weakened by age, disease, stress or medications that suppress it.

Shingles is most common in people over 50. Rates have been rising in younger and middle-aged adults, but the reasons are unclear. Children can get shingles, but shingles in children is uncommon.

Shingles symptoms

Shingles symptoms occur in stages. Early shingles causes pain, tingling or burning in the area where the rash will develop. These symptoms last for a day or two, and then the shingles rash appears, usually on one side of the body, often in bands. Scattered blisters may appear on other areas of your body.

In addition to pain, some people experience muscle aches, fever, headache, stomach pain or vomiting. As the rash clears, the blisters break, bleed and scab over. The shingles rash usually disappears in two to four weeks.

Shingles treatment

The dermatology providers at Riverchase Dermatology know how painful shingles can be and are ready to help ease the pain and reduce your risk of complications. Possible complications of shingles include not only PHN but also, if the rash develops near your eye, permanent vision damage. In very rare cases, shingles can cause pneumonia, hearing difficulties or brain inflammation.

We strongly recommend making an appointment ASAP if you think you have shingles. You’ll receive a prescription for an antiviral medication, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir, to shorten the duration of symptoms and prevent the rash from getting worse. Antivirals are most effective when you start them within three days after the rash appears, but it’s worth making an appointment if you miss this window because the medication can still provide some benefit.

If your shingles pain is intense and hasn’t responded to over-the-counter pain relievers, you may be prescribed pain medicine or given an injection of corticosteroids.

If you haven’t had shingles yet, talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine (Shingrix). It’s available for people 50 and older, and you may be able to get it sooner if you take medication that suppresses your immune system or have a medical condition that compromises it. If you’ve already had shingles, you should still get vaccinated to protect against another bout of the virus.

Locations with this service

38162 Medical Center Ave
Zephyrhills, FL 33540
2625 Executive Park Dr, Suite 7
Weston, FL 33331
Venice Health Park 
1295 Jacaranda Blvd.
Venice, FL 34292
Tampa Palms 
15310 Amberly Dr, Suite 150
Tampa, FL 33647
Sun City Center 
4002 Sun City Center Blvd, Unit 102
Sun City Center, FL 33573
St. Petersburg 
2299 9th Avenue N #1D
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Pembroke Pines 
603 N Flamingo Rd, Suite 350
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028
9015 US-301
Parrish, FL 34219
North Port – Commons 
14840 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287
North Port – Bobcat Village 
2481 Bobcat Village Center Rd, Suite 101
North Port, FL 34288
Naples – North 
1015 Crosspointe Dr.
Naples, FL 34110
Naples – Health Park 
11181 Health Park Blvd., Suite 2280
Naples, FL 34110
Naples – Downtown 
261 9th St S
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Colonial Square 
1108 Goodlette-Frank Rd. N.
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Central 
9125 Corsea Del Fontana Way Suite 100
Naples, FL 34109
Mercy Professional Suite 6008 
3659 S Miami Ave, Suite 6008
Miami, FL 33133
Mercy Professional Suite 6006 (Formerly Suite 102) 
3659 S Miami Ave, Suite 6006
Miami, FL 33133
Marco Island 
950 N Collier Blvd, Suite 303
Marco Island, FL 34145
Lakewood Ranch 
8340 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, #260
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Fort Myers – West 
9400 Gladiolus Dr, Suite 320
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Fort Myers – South 
7331 Gladiolus Dr.
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Fort Myers – The Forum 
3268 Forum Blvd. Suite 201
Fort Myers, FL 33905
19527 Highland Oaks Dr, Suite 201
Estero, FL 33928
406 N Indiana Ave
Englewood, FL 34223
Delray Beach 
15300 Jog Rd, Suite 202
Delray Beach, FL 33446
Deerfield Beach 
1880 W Hillsboro Blvd, Suite A
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
1122 Druid Rd E
Clearwater, FL 33756
Cape Coral – Surfside 
2366 Surfside Blvd Suite C111
Cape Coral, FL 33991
Cape Coral 
413 Del Prado Blvd S, Suite 101
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Bonita Springs 
25987 S Tamiami Trail, Unit 90
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Boca Raton – East 
200 Glades Road, Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Bay Harbor Islands 
1111 Kane Concourse, Suite 100
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154
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