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Is it normal to still have the shingles rash post antiviral therapy course?

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2960 Questions

Posted on Thu, 12 Jul 2018 in Infections
Question: I was diagnosed on week ago with Shingles. My medicine that was prescribed just ran out. Why did the Doctor only prescribe medication for one week as she said it would take two weeks to get rid of it. I've improved but still definitely have it. What should I do ?
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I had shingles a few years ago and also remember that the rash did not resolve at the end of the course of the antiviral.

The antiviral is given only at the beginning because it lowers the viral load somewhat as the lesions are erupting. It does not kill the virus. So it is only beneficial if taken at the beginning. It is still important to take though, because taking it at the beginning significantly reduces the possibility of pain that persists after the whole thing has resolved.

It is difficult to say how long the lesions and pain will last. If you took the antiviral within the first 72 hours of the eruptions beginning, the pain will likely resolve when the rash has cleared.

I remember in myself that there were new eruptions for 7-10 days then those eruptions persisted without improving for another week or two, then started to heal over. The worst pain was in the first 2 weeks.

Some people have milder cases, some have more severe.

Important to get plenty of rest as it is your own immune system that has to get it back in check.

The virus that causes shingles is the chicken pox virus. It remains in our nervous system for our entire lives. If our immunity to it drops, then it comes out along a nerve pathway (rather than causing chicken pox again). We build up antibodies to it again and it goes dormant once again.

Having good nutrition, no alcohol, and lots of rest can help your body deal with the virus.

The gabapentin can help with the nerve-pain. Further antiviral though won't help much after the first week though.

Does that explain it? I would be happy to explain further, both as a physician and someone who has personally dealt with it.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 2 hours later
Thanks for the comprehensive answer. I appreciate it !
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Your welcome!

Detailed Answer:
Your welcome! It is a strange type of infection.

The newer shingles vaccine, which just came out this year, looks like it may be more effective than the current one. It is something to talk about with your doctor after you fully recover.

I hope you are feeling entirely better soon.
Best regards,
Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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