Prevention & Treatment
Half of persons living until age 85 years will develop shingles.
The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain from post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is to get vaccinated. CDC recommends that people aged 60 years and older get one dose of shingles vaccine. Shingles vaccine is available in pharmacies and doctor's offices. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have questions about shingles vaccine.
The shingles vaccine is approved by FDA for people age 50 years and older. However, CDC does not have a recommendation for routine use of shingles vaccine in people who are 50 through 59 years old.
For more information about preventing shingles, visit the Vaccination page.
Several antiviral medicines—acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir—are available to treat shingles. These medicines will help shorten the length and severity of the illness. But to be effective, they must be started as soon as possible after the rash appears. Thus, people who have or think they might have shingles should call their healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
Analgesics (pain medicine) may help relieve the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.
Also see Shingles Transmission
- Page last reviewed: May 1, 2014
- Page last updated: May 1, 2014
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