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How to Shower With Shingles
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus 1. This virus is responsible for the outbreak of chickenpox. In fact, a person cannot break out in shingles if he has not first contracted chickenpox 1. Shingles is quite painful and usually shows up as a rash that looks like tiny blisters on the skin 1. These blisters eventually break open and form scabs. Shingles is not contagious, so showering will not spread the rash 1. There are a few things individuals can do to make showering less painful on sore skin.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Adjust your shower head so that it lets out less pressure. The higher the pressure, the harder the water is going to hit your skin. This will hurt in the area where you have the shingles 1.
Apply a lidocaine patch to the affected area about an hour before taking your shower. According to Patient UK, lidocaine works to stop the nerve from sending any pain signals to your brain. That way, you can shower without experiencing pain.
Turn on your shower and make the water as cool as you can stand it. According to Mayo Clinic, cold water actually feels good on the shingles 1.
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Apply calamine lotion to the shingles after your shower 1. Showering can dry out the shingles, which will cause excessive itching 1. A little calamine lotion will soothe the itch. You don't want to scratch because that will cause pain.
Shingles can take a few weeks to clear up. That means you cannot avoid taking a shower until the episode is gone.
Wear loose cotton clothing after your shower. Tight clothing will rub against the shingles and cause pain.
If you have shingles on your face, don't put your face in the path of the shower water. Rather, cup your hands to gather the water and softly splash the water over your face.
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- MayoClinic.com: Shingles
- Patient UK: Postherpetic Neuralgia
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Clinical Overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated August 14, 2019. cdc.gov
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Shingles Vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 25, 2018. cdc.gov
- John AR, Canaday DH. Herpes Zoster in the Older Adult. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2017;31(4):811-826. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2017.07.016
- Cohen KR, Salbu RL, Frank J, Israel I. Presentation and management of herpes zoster (shingles) in the geriatric population. P T. 2013;38(4):217–227.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Shingles: Hope Through Research. Updated August 13, 2019. ninds.nih.gov
- White PF, Elvir lazo OL, Galeas L, Cao X. Use of electroanalgesia and laser therapies as alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management. F1000Res. 2017;6:2161. doi:10.12688/f1000research.12324.1
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chickenpox Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know. Updated August 7, 2019. cdc.gov
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Shingles: Overview. 2014 Nov 19 [Updated 2019 Nov 21].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279624/
- Albrecht, M. Shingles (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. Updated June 12, 2019.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What Everyone Should Know About Zostavax. Updated January 25, 2018.
- Shingles can take a few weeks to clear up. That means you cannot avoid taking a shower until the episode is gone.
- Wear loose cotton clothing after your shower. Tight clothing will rub against the shingles and cause pain.
- If you have shingles on your face, don't put your face in the path of the shower water. Rather, cup your hands to gather the water and softly splash the water over your face.
Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.