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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest treatment for shingles infection

My husband has been diagnosed with shingles after 3 days of pain. Today a rash showed up on his back and was identified as shingles at the ER. He has been given antibiotics, but I do not yet know what they are..How long does the rash last? Does that incredible pain continue? Is it contagious? Do I need to change sheets regularly or sleep in a separate bed?
Mon, 23 Mar 2015
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Dermatologist 's  Response
Hello. Thank you for writing to us

Shingles is due to reactivation of varicella zoster virus/ VZV. This is teh same virus that causes chicken pox during childhood.
The virus once acquired remains dormant inside body and may reactivate at times to produce shingles.
Shingles usually presents as grouped, discrete, fluid filler vesicles.
There is associated pain which can vary in intensity from mild to severe and this may last even after the lesions of shingles have resolved.
Treatment is with Oral antivirals e.g acyclovir or valacyclovir for a week.
The rash usually heals in 7 or 10 days on oral antivirals.
Shingles is contagious and the virus can spread by direct contact with the infected fluids from the lesions.
The infectivity however only last as long as the lesions are moist and becomes zero when the lesions dry up.
It is better not to share any towels, clothing, bedsheets of shingles patients till the lesions resolve.
Keeping the lesions covered also decreases the infectivity.

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