The best treatment for shingles and chickenpox is prevention. A varicella vaccine is now routinely given as part of childhood immunizations. It is intended to prevent chickenpox, prevent latent VZV, and so decrease the number of people who get shingles later in life. There is also now a Herpes zoster vaccine for those over 60 years of age, Zostavax, which is intended to decrease the risk of developing shingles and the risk of postherpatic neuralgia.
Those who do get shingles are treated with antiviral medications to decrease symptom severity and shorten the duration of the illness. Treatment may also reduce the risk of developing postherpatic neuralgia and reduce its duration.
Topical therapies and pain medications may be used to relieve the symptoms associated with shingles. Those who have shingles with eye, ear, or central nervous system complications may need to consult with specialists.
Those with severely weakened immune systems may sometimes be given zoster immune globulin, as an external source of VZV antibodies, to lessen the severity of the condition.