If you have herpes zoster, you will usually be treated with antiviral medications. In most cases, you can take this medicine by mouth, but in some cases you may need to receive treatment through a vein (intravenously). These drugs help reduce pain and complications and shorten the course of the disease.
Your doctor may also prescribe steroids as part of your treatment. Cool wet compresses can be used to reduce pain. Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion, may help to relieve itching and discomfort.
Because herpes zoster is contagious, any materials that come in contact with open sores should be disposed of or disinfected before being reused.
If herpes zoster affects your eye, your ophthalmologist will treat you depending on the problem. Some conditions only require monitoring, whereas other problems may require lubricants for your eye, steroid pills or eyedrops. Most cases of herpes zoster clear up in a few weeks without complications. However, in a small number of cases, patients develop long-term pain that is more difficult to control.
Image Reproduced, with permission, from Sutphin JE, Basic and Clinical Science Course Section 8: External Disease and Cornea, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2006-2007.