Understanding Shingles: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Understanding Shingles: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

10 / Jun

NHS Shingles Treatment

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It can affect anyone who has had chickenpox, as the virus remains dormant in the body and can reactivate years later. At Everest Pharmacy in Manchester, we understand the discomfort and distress that shingles can cause. Through the NHS Pharmacy First scheme, we offer effective shingles treatment to help alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After recovering from chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in the nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. For reasons not entirely understood, the virus may reactivate as shingles. While shingles is not life-threatening, it can be extremely painful and debilitating.

Symptoms of Shingles

The initial symptoms of shingles can be vague and might include:

Pain, burning, or tingling: This discomfort is usually localized to one side of the body and can precede the rash by a few days.

Rash: The hallmark of shingles is a red rash that develops into fluid-filled blisters. The rash typically wraps around the left or right side of your torso.

Itching: The affected area can be intensely itchy.

Sensitivity to touch: Even light touch can cause severe pain.

Other symptoms might include fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light. The pain associated with shingles can be severe and can persist even after the rash has cleared up, a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

nhs shingles treatment manchester

Risk Factors for Shingles

Several factors can increase the risk of developing shingles, including:

Age: The risk increases with age, especially after the age of 50.

Weakened immune system: Conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or taking immune-suppressing drugs can elevate the risk.

Stress: High levels of stress can weaken the immune system, potentially triggering shingles.

NHS Shingles Treatment at Everest Pharmacy

At Everest Pharmacy, we are proud participants in the NHS Pharmacy First scheme, offering accessible and efficient treatment for shingles. Our goal is to provide relief from symptoms, prevent complications, and support your recovery process.

Antiviral Medications

The cornerstone of shingles treatment is antiviral medications. These medications can:

Reduce the severity and duration of symptoms: If taken within 72 hours of the rash appearing, antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir can significantly lessen the severity and duration of shingles.

Prevent complications: Antiviral medications can reduce the risk of complications such as postherpetic neuralgia.

Pain Management

Managing pain is a critical aspect of shingles treatment. Our pharmacists can recommend several options for pain relief:

Over-the-counter painkillers: Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help alleviate mild to moderate pain.

Topical treatments: Creams containing capsaicin or lidocaine patches can provide localized pain relief.

Prescription medications: For severe pain, your doctor might prescribe stronger painkillers, anticonvulsants, or antidepressants to help manage nerve pain.

Self-Care and Home Remedies

In addition to medical treatments, certain self-care practices can help ease the discomfort of shingles:

Cool compresses: Applying cool, damp cloths to the rash can reduce pain and itching.

Calamine lotion: This can soothe irritated skin and relieve itching.

Rest: Adequate rest can support your body’s healing process.

Loose clothing: Wearing loose, cotton clothing can help avoid irritating the rash.

nhs shingles treatment manchester

Prevention: The Shingles Vaccine

Prevention is better than cure, and at Everest Pharmacy, we advocate for vaccination as the most effective way to prevent shingles. The shingles vaccine can:

Reduce the risk of developing shingles: The vaccine significantly lowers the chances of getting shingles.

Lessen the severity: If you do develop shingles after being vaccinated, the symptoms are usually milder.

Prevent postherpetic neuralgia: The vaccine reduces the risk of long-term nerve pain.

The vaccine is particularly recommended for adults over the age of 50 and for those with weakened immune systems.

Why Choose Everest Pharmacy for NHS Shingles Treatment?

Everest Pharmacy in Manchester is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for those dealing with shingles. Here’s why you should consider us:

Expert pharmacists: Our team of pharmacists is highly trained and experienced in managing shingles and providing personalized care.

Accessibility: Through the NHS Pharmacy First scheme, we offer convenient access to shingles treatment without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Holistic care: We provide a full range of services, from antiviral medications and pain management to vaccination and self-care advice.

Community-focused: We are committed to the health and well-being of our local community, ensuring that you receive the best possible care close to home.

Get NHS Shingles Treatment

Shingles can be a painful and distressing condition, but with the right treatment and care, you can manage the symptoms and prevent complications. At Everest Pharmacy in Manchester, we are here to support you every step of the way through the NHS Pharmacy First scheme. Whether you need antiviral medication, pain relief, or advice on vaccination, our expert pharmacists are ready to help. Don’t let shingles disrupt your life – visit us today for comprehensive NHS shingles treatment and care.


This blog was written on behalf of Everest Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.

Get in touch

Everest Head Office
117B Withington Road
Whalley Range
Manchester, M16 8EE