The diagnosis of shingles is pretty straightforward: the clinical presentation and the symptoms usually give a clue to the diagnosis. Only in the rare case are cultured obtained.
Once the diagnosis of shingles has been obtained, one can do a number of things to take care of the disorder. These include:
Rest: Shingles does make one tired and worn out. The best remedy is to rest, drink fluids and avoid any strenuous exercise.
Stay away from work. The pain may be unbearable and make work uncomfortable. The best thing to do is to take a few days off work and relax. This will help you recover faster.
Avoid stress: Avoiding stress is key in maintaining the duration of shingles short. Stress levels do worsen the symptoms and duration of shingles. So avoid anything that causes both physical and emotional stress. This is the best time to read a book or go to a movie.
Pain relief: There are many over the counter pain medications which may provide some relief. In addition to the pain medications, there are various topical preparations of local anesthetics available.
Itch: Itch is a frequent complain in shingles. To prevent scratching the sores, apply a moisturizing cream and keep the area moist
Anti histamines: There are many varieties of oral anti histamines which can be bought over the counter. They decrease the itch and provide sleep.
Topical steroids: In some cases, the itch is severe and one can apply a topical corticosteroid for a week or two.
Clean: Do not scrape the blisters or squeeze them. Wash then in warm water and pad them dry. There is no need to apply any dressings or bandages
Compress: When the pain is severe, one may apply a cool compress. Sometimes the addition of vinegar has been found to be soothing and diminish the pain.
Baking soda: Others recommend a cool bath in baking soda. This has been found to decrease the itch and pain
Babies: Even though shingles is not contagious, the same virus can cause chicken pox in those who have not had chicken pox. The chicken pox virus is alive in the sores and can easily spread. One should keep away from pregnant females and young infants.