How Do I Treat Shingles Blisters?

Lainie Petersen

Typical treatments for shingles blisters include anti-viral medications, over-the-counter medications and ointments, and various types of self-care. If you are experiencing shingles blisters, you should inform your doctor immediately. Your doctor can begin your treatment by prescribing an antiviral drug that can help to treat the underlying cause of your shingles blisters and shorten the outbreak. In some cases, he or she may also prescribe corticosteroids, though this treatment is controversial. While you have the blisters, you should refrain from scratching or irritating them and make use of over-the-counter pain relievers, topical ointments, and cool compresses to address your pain.

Cold compresses offer temporary relief of the pain caused by shingles blisters.
Cold compresses offer temporary relief of the pain caused by shingles blisters.

Shingles blisters are caused by varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Individuals who have suffered chickenpox in the past may suffer an attack of shingles later on in life. Shingles causes itchy, painful blisters that may take some weeks to heal. In some cases, even after shingles blisters heal, shingles victims often experience lingering pain known as postherpetic neuralgia. This pain can be debilitating, although early treatment of shingles blisters can often help prevent this condition from developing.

Shingles blisters should not be scratched or picked.
Shingles blisters should not be scratched or picked.

If you begin to develop a condition that you believe is shingles, see your doctor for proper diagnosis and so that you can receive a prescription for an antiviral as well as professional advice on managing your condition. Your doctor may advise you to manage pain with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen, are typically available at a low cost at drug and grocery stores. Calamine lotion can be applied to your blisters in order to soothe pain and itch, and cold compresses can also be effective at providing temporary relief. You may also want to purchase an antibiotic ointment if you have unconsciously been scratching your blisters and wish to prevent infection.

It is always a good idea to ask your doctor about any over-the-counter remedies and home treatments before actually using them. You may also want to ask if there are any topical ointment brands that he or she recommends over others. If your condition becomes worse, talk to your doctor about further treatment options. If you do develop postherpetic neuralgia, you will generally need professional medical care and prescription treatment. This treatment may include the prescription of antidepressants, topical anesthetics, and in some cases even opioid painkillers or anticonvulsants. In rare cases, postherpetic neuralgia may require surgery in order to address and manage the ongoing pain.

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Discussion Comments


@burcidi-- I'm guessing that some of them will work because as far as I know, shingles and herpes are in the same category of viruses. But it's still better to seek treatments specifically for shingles blisters.

Some home remedies might help though, such as treating with salt or essential oils with antiviral properties like eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil. But make sure to dilute these oils before you use them.

I've also heard that applying vitamin E oil or apple cider vinegar on the blisters quickens healing. I haven't tried them personally though.

One easy treatment I can vouch for is multi-vitamins. A strong immune system is very important for beating viral infections.

I read that during WWII, soldiers who were having shingles outbreaks would apply a mixture of aspirin powder and petroleum jelly on the blisters to treat them. I tried it recently and it works! I crushed five tablets and mixed it with petroleum jelly. It takes away the itch and pain and prevents infection.

Will herpes blister remedies work for shingles blisters?

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