Because there is no cure for shingles, a shingles treatment plan involves administering drugs, such as tricyclic antidepressants, opioids and steroids, to lessen the pain associated with the virus, according to Everyday Health. A shingles sufferer who recognizes shingles symptoms early should schedule an immediate appointment with his doctor to obtain antiviral medications. If administered within 72 hours of the appearance of the shingles rash, antiviral medication can lessen the length of the infection and associated pain by several days.
Tricyclic antidepressants lessen shingles pain from the initial infection and help to prevent postherpetic neuralgia, notes Everyday Health. This shingles complication causes lingering pain after the shingles rash disappears. Steroids also lessen the duration and swelling of the shingles rash in addition to minimizing pain. A doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or opioids to treat shingles pain and swelling.
A shingles sufferer should also practice good home care to stay as comfortable as possible and minimize the chance of complications, according to Everyday Health. He should bathe daily and keep his fingernails trimmed short. This helps prevent the chance of bacterial infections developing. Drinking lots of water and hydrating the skin with soothing lotions can prevent skin irritation. Cold compresses also can soothe painful rashes. An individual with shingles should get plenty of rest to bolster his immune systems.
If the shingles rash spreads or the pain increases, the patient should contact his doctor for an amended treatment plain. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend a visit to a dermatologist to treat any infections or to a neurologist to treat lingering nerve pain.