I have shingles. How do I dry out the infected area?
Shingles is caused by activation of varicella-zoster virus (the same one that causes chicken pox). It causes a variety of symptoms, but is most assocaied with a rash and blisters accompanied by pain that can feel like burning, shooting, or stabbing. In most cases, itching occurs as well.
Blisters that occur due to a shingles infection are often "wet", as they constantly break. It is important to realize that weeping blisters are contagious, so care must be taken to prevent contact with others.
How To Dry Shingles Blisters
Perhaps the most effective therapy for shingles are oral antivirals, which are most effective when started as soon as possible after symptoms occur. They reduce viral replication and will prevent new lesion formation. In most cases they will speed healing as well according to most studies.
In terms of drying out your blisters, be cautious as to not to dry them out too much, as this increases the chance of itching. Strategies to dry out weeping blisters from shingles include:
- Apply a cool water compresses to the blisters. Although this will temporarily wet them, it will have a net drying effect over time as the water evaporates from the lesions.
- Products like calamine lotion can be applied directly to the blisters. This will dry them out over time.
- Astringents, such as witch hazel and aluminum acetate (Domeboro solution) are very effective drying and "shrinking" agents.
Remember not to pick your shingles blisters. Not only will picking break the lesions, it increases the risk of scarring.