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How to shower with shingles

Updated January 17, 2019

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This virus is responsible for the outbreak of chickenpox. In fact, a person cannot break out in shingles if he has not first contracted chickenpox. Shingles is quite painful and usually shows up as a rash that looks like tiny blisters on the skin. These blisters eventually break open and form scabs. Shingles is not contagious, so showering will not spread the rash. There are a few things individuals can do to make showering less painful on sore skin.

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  1. Adjust your shower head so that it lets out less pressure. The higher the pressure, the harder the water is going to hit your skin. This will hurt in the area where you have the shingles.

  2. Apply a lidocaine patch to the affected area about an hour before taking your shower. According to Patient UK, lidocaine works to stop the nerve from sending any pain signals to your brain. That way, you can shower without experiencing pain.

  3. Turn on your shower and make the water as cool as you can stand it. According to Mayo Clinic, cold water actually feels good on the shingles.

  4. Apply calamine lotion to the shingles after your shower. Showering can dry out the shingles, which will cause excessive itching. A little calamine lotion will soothe the itch. You don't want to scratch because that will cause pain.

  5. Tip

    Shingles can take a few weeks to clear up. That means you cannot avoid taking a shower until the episode is gone. Wear loose cotton clothing after your shower. Tight clothing will rub against the shingles and cause pain.


    If you have shingles on your face, don't put your face in the path of the shower water. Rather, cup your hands to gather the water and softly splash the water over your face.

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Things You'll Need

  • Lidocaine patches
  • Calamine lotion

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.

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