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Prevention & Treatment

Español: Prevención y tratamiento

Prevention

Four smiling adults

Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime.

The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain from postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is to get vaccinated. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix® to protect against shingles and the complications caused by the disease. Shingles vaccine is available in pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have questions about shingles vaccination.

For more information about preventing shingles, visit the Vaccination page.

Treatment

Several antiviral medicines—acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir—are available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of illness. People with shingles should start taking these medicines as soon as possible after the rash  appears to be the most effective. 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

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