This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Pain relief in the treatment of shingles: a guide for nurses

Written by: | Published:

Figure one: Skin rash seen with early presentation Figure one: Skin rash seen with early presentation of shingles

Shingleshingles are caused by the Herpes Zoster virus and early identification and prompt treatment with antiviral drugs reduces symptoms and leads to reduced risk of ongoing nerve pain.1 Infection causes a painful blistering rash and it is more common in older people. It affects 3.5 per 1000 person-years among 50–54 year olds to 7.1 per 1000 person-years among 75–79 year olds.2 In England 50,000 people over the age of 70 develop shingles every year.3 Around 40% of people infected experience ongoing nerve pain lasting three months or longer and one person in a thousand over the age of 70 dies as a result of infection.4 People who are at greatest risk of infection can now be immunised. Immunisation can reduce the risks of shingles by 75%.5 Shingles is a painful blistering rash caused by reactivation of varicella zoster virus, the chickenpox virus. It is correctly known as herpes zoster.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.