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To soothe an itchy, painful skin rash, use:

  • Cold compresses—can be applied to the rash for 5 minutes at a time, several times a day
  • Compresses soaked in Burrow’s solution—can be applied to the rash for five minutes at a time, several times a day
  • Oatmeal baths—may improve itching

You may spread the chicken pox virus to others until the rash has crusted over. Stay home until this occurs.


Herpes zoster. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated September 19, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.

NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated February 5, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.

Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: Accessed June 7, 2016.

Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated March 15, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.

Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8):2437-2444.

Last reviewed June 2016 by James Cornell, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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