How Is It Treated?
Antiviral medications can make a shingles flare-up heal faster and reduce the chances of having complications. Not everyone needs to take antiviral medicines, though - your doctor will prescribe them if necessary. If you do need to take them, the earlier you start, the more effective they will be.
Antiviral medicines can't eliminate the virus from the body completely, so they won't stop someone from having future flare-ups.
To ease any pain that might come with shingles, doctors or nurse practitioners may prescribe a cream, spray, or skin patch to numb the skin. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications also can help treat pain. Don't take aspirin, though.
It can put teens at risk of a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.
If you have shingles that itch, your doctor may recommend lotions or medicines called antihistamines.
Keep the rash area clean by washing with water and a mild soap. Apply cool, wet compresses to the blisters several times a day to reduce the pain and itching. Oatmeal baths also can bring relief.
Can I Prevent Shingles?
It's not possible to prevent shingles entirely. The chickenpox vaccine can make a case of shingles less serious.
So if you haven't had chickenpox, it's not too late to ask your doctor about getting the chickenpox vaccine.
There is a vaccine against shingles, but doctors usually only give it to older adults. That's partly because the older someone is, the more severe shingles can be. As a teen, you're unlikely to be seriously affected by shingles.
If you get shingles, you can help keep the virus from spreading by keeping the rash covered at all times and getting treatment if you need it.
People with shingles can spread it pretty easily. Until their rash is completely healed, they need to stay away from newborn babies, pregnant women, anyone with a weakened immune system, or anyone who is not vaccinated against chickenpox. So teens who get shingles may need to stay home from school for a while. It all depends on the person and the situation. Your doctor will give you advice.
Shingles may sound scary, but that's mainly because of how it affects older people. The good news is that the infection doesn't usually happen to teens.
And, even when teens do get shingles, it's usually not serious.
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