Q: What is the name of the cream you mentioned in your article on shingles? A small patch on my back appeared after having gastro surgery, during which 18 inches of small intestines were removed. The following year, sores appeared. I have never had it checked because I didn’t have pain, but it itches about three times a day. It’s different than mosquito bites that are itchy all the time.
A: I am not sure if the sores are shingles. I am wondering if losing 18 inches of bowel has anything to do with it. If it was a result of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the rash may be a symptom of an autoimmune disease such as Lupus. Certain bowel diseases are associated with rashes. Irritable bowel syndrome may also be accompanied by a rash. Food allergies such as gluten sensitivity might be to blame.
Shingles lesions are usually very painful but do not generally last for more than a few weeks. The rash follows the distribution pattern of the affected nerve because the shingles or chicken pox virus lives in the nerve roots.
It can affect any nerve, even the nerves to the eye. Most often, it is seen on the trunk or torso and the red and weeping blisters follow a curved pattern close to the ribs. It can be on one side or both sides of the body. Pain can sometimes persist for months or even years after the rash has disappeared and is called “post herpetic neuralgia.”
Analgesics may be needed. Cream is slightly helpful in dealing with the pain and itching of the shingles rash. Over-the-counter remedies include antihistamines by mouth or as an ointment, or anti-itch soothing lotions such as calamine lotion. Low dosage hydrocortisone ointments that are used for itchy insect bites can be used.
Because the virus is in the body, the best treatment is prescribed anti-viral medications taken orally.