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When will my herpes zoster settle down?

Q: I am a 72 years old male suffering from type 2 diabetes, which is now under control with medication except PP level, which is still around 225. A month back, I experienced itching on my right back. I consulted a doctor and was diagnosed with herpes zoster. The doctor has prescribed 5 tablets a day of Zovirax (800 mg) and local application of Silverex cream twice a day. After a week, I again visited a doctor, who asked me to continue the medication for another week. There is no further new eruption but the earlier eruptions are still there. I have a fear of using antibiotics for long as they might have side effects. Will long term use of medication lead to kidney dysfunction? How can my eruptions be treated completely? My four months old granddaughter and her mother want to visit me, but I am not allowing them as they might get the infection. The doctor told me that contagious effect of infection will be over after a couple of days of medication. We don’t wish to take any chance.

A:As with any disease, the amount of medicine required for treating herpes zoster, depends upon the severity and the extent of the eruption. Generally in an uncomplicated, usual case, antiviral for 7-10 days is more than enough. Comorbid conditions may necessitate additional medicines. The patient is potentially infective, till the last blister dries up. Generally the doctor is well versed with the side-effects of the medicines he/she has prescribed. The patient is reviewed periodically to see if the response is as expected and also for any side-effects which the patient maybe unaware of. Therefore visit your doctor as and when he/she calls you.

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