Shingles treatment available online today

To diagnose & treat your rash that may be shingles, consult with one of our board-certified primary care doctors online today. Get a new prescription to treat shingles or refill an existing prescription today.*

Book an appointment

Common in Adults: One in three adults affected

Early shingles is diagnosis crucial for treatment

Expert screening for shingles

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of shingles. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about shingles

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after your chickenpox infection clears up, the virus can remain dormant in your nerve cells for years before reactivating as shingles.

For many adults, the chickenpox virus is inactive and never leads to shingles. However, for about one in three adults, the virus will reactivate in life.

Shingles causes

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox infection. If you've had chickenpox, you can develop shingles when the virus reactivates in your body. The reason why shingles develops in some adults but not others remain unclear. Shingles is more common in older adults due to their lower immunity to infections. Some possible risk factors for shingles include:

  • A weakened immune system

  • Heightened emotional stress

  • Older age

  • Undergoing cancer treatments or major surgery

Symptoms of shingles

According to the CDC, the first symptom of a shingles outbreak is pain and burning on one side of your body along a certain area of skin. After the initial symptoms, you may experience:

  • A linear rash that appears a few days after the pain

  • Rash may tingle, burn, and/or be sensitive to the touch

  • Fluid-filled blisters that burst open and crust over

  • Intense itching

    A shingles rash does not always appear red. Depending on your skin tone, your rash may look dark pink, dark brown, or purple. You may also experience other symptoms, such as:

    •Chills, fever, or a headache

    •Nausea and fatigue

    •Sensitivity to light

How to treat shingles

If you experience any symptoms of shingles, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to diagnose your shingles and determine the best treatment plan.

Treatment for shingles often includes:

  • Medications: Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication or anti-inflammatory to relieve itching and pain. 

  • Home remedies: Home remedies can help soothe your skin, reduce pain, and relieve itching. For example, you might apply calamine lotion to calm irritated skin, or take a cool bath to clean your rash.

Shingles medications

If you're experiencing pain or itching, talk to your doctor about shingles medications to ease your symptoms. If you want to skip the visit to a doctor's office, you can book a virtual appointment with a board-certified physicians at PlushCare to get shingles treatment online. Your doctor may recommend:

How to prevent shingles

According to the National Institute on Aging, getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent shingles. The current shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is a safe, easy, and effective way to prevent shingles. It’s over 90% effective at preventing shingles and long-term nerve pain.

All children should receive two doses of the chickenpox vaccine (varicella immunization) to prevent severe shingles symptoms and complications in adulthood. Adults who have never had chickenpox should also get vaccinated.

When to see a doctor for shingles

It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you experience shingles symptoms, especially if you face an increased risk of developing shingles.

Seek medical attention if:

  • A rash appears near your eye. If left untreated, a shingles rash can lead to permanent eye damage.

  • Your shingles rash is widespread and painful.

Shingles Treatment FAQs

  • What are shingles symptoms?

    The most common symptoms of shingles include:

    • A tingling, burning, numb, or painful sensation on your skin

    • A rash that forms in a belt-like pattern and affects one side of the body

    • Painful fluid-filled blisters that burst, dry up, and crust over 

    During the early stages of shingles, you may also experience other symptoms, such as:

    • Fever or chills

    • Upset stomach

    • Headache or sensitivity to light

  • What causes shingles?

    Shingles happen when the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox infection, becomes reactivated. It’s unknown why the virus becomes reactivated in some people and not others, but many people who develop shingles have a weakened immune system.

    Your risk of developing shingles may be higher if you:

    • Have had a transplant

    • Are currently undergoing chemotherapy

    • Have HIV or AIDs

    • Take immunosuppressant treatment

    Age and gender are also important risk factors for shingles. Most cases of shingles happen over the age of 50, and women are more likely to develop shingles than men. Even young adults, however, can get shingles.

  • What do the early stages of shingles look like?

    As the varicella-zoster virus reactivates in your body, you may notice a tingling, burning, or itchy sensation on your skin. Within 5 days, you’ll notice a rash in the affected area.

    A few days after the rash appears, you may notice small groups of oozing, fluid-filled blisters in the same area. People who have had shingles often describe the early stages as similar to the beginning of the flu, with a headache, fever, and nausea. 

  • What does a mild case of shingles look like?

    A mild case of shingles may include a rash without blisters. The shingles rash is a distinct characteristic of the illness. Many people who experience mild shingles do not experience headaches, fever, fatigue, or other flu-like symptoms.

    Whether mild or severe, pain is the most common symptom of shingles. Most people describe a deep burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensation. The pain usually subsides within 30 days.

  • How long does it take for shingles to progress?

    Shingles starts with increased nerve pain and numbness in the affected area, which usually lasts for 48–72 hours. Within 3–5 days, a blistering rash will form over the area, which will turn into fluid-filled blisters. Then, the blisters will burst open, dry up, and crust over after 7–10 days.

    Once the rash blisters, it can last another 3–5 days before the lesions scab over. After the lesions crust over, it may take 2–4 weeks to heal completely.

    At this time, pain may still be present. After the rash heals and the scabs clear up, some people continue to experience pain. This condition is called post-herpetic neuralgia.

  • What are some home remedies for shingles?

    If you have shingles, home remedies can help reduce pain and soothe skin:

    • Wearing loose-fitting clothing to let your rash breathe.

    • Take a cool bath with colloidal oatmeal or use calamine lotion to calm your skin.

    • Apply a cool washcloth or cold compress to your blisters to ease the pain.

    • Keep the area dry. Avoid scratching your blisters to avoid skin infections and scarring.

    • Take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve pain.

    • Get plenty of rest.

    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water to avoid spreading the virus. If someone has never had chickenpox, they may develop it if contact from your shingles rash occurs. They will not get shingles from your rash.

  • Is there a shingles vaccine?

    Yes, a shingles vaccine is available for healthy adults over the age of 50. The current shingles vaccine, Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), is a two-dose vaccine series. The doses are separated by 2–6 months to prevent shingles and potential complications. It’s incredibly effective, with over 90% risk reduction in developing shingles if received.

  • Is shingles contagious?

    Yes, shingles is contagious. A person with shingles can pass the varicella-zoster virus to anyone who isn’t immune to chickenpox.

    The virus usually spreads through direct contact with open sores. If you pass the virus onto someone else, they’ll become infected with chickenpox—not shingles. 

  • What are some common treatments for shingles?

    Common treatments for shingles include home remedies and medications. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to shorten the length and severity of the illness. 

    If you have any shingles symptoms, book an appointment with a virtual PlushCare doctor to learn more about online shingles treatment. 

  • What is the best medicine for shingles?

    The best medications for shingles are antiviral medications, which help shorten the length and severity of the illness. At PlushCare, our online doctors can prescribe: 

    • Cyclovir (Zovirax)

    • Famciclovir (Famvir)

    • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

    Antivirals can ease the discomfort of shingles, especially if you take them within 72 hours of symptom onset. They can also prevent pain that happens after the rash disappears, called post-herpetic neuralgia. 

  • What are the complications of shingles?

    Especially if left untreated, shingles may rarely result in long-term nerve pain that may persist for months or years. This is called post-herpectic neuralgia. Talk with one of our primary care doctors at Plushcare today to learn more.  

  • What pain relief is available over the counter for shingles?

    While a shingles rash itself requires a doctor's visit for diagnosis and antiviral medication, there are some over-the-counter options that can help manage the discomfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by the shingles rash. Applying calamine lotion or cool compresses to the itchy rash can also provide some relief.

    Seeing a doctor for shingles is important for early diagnosis and treatment with antiviral medication, which can shorten the duration and severity of your shingles outbreak. Your doctor will also help assess your pain level and decide if you need prescription pain management. With PlushCare, online doctor's appointments are fast, convenient and affordable.

3 simple steps to get treated for shingles today

Step 1: Book an appointment

Step 1

Book a shingles treatment appointment.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2: Visit with a doctor on your smartphone

Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your shingles symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

Pick up a prescription for shingles.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Related conditions to shingles

Shingles treatment pricing

How pricing works

To request Shingles treatment and get a new prescription or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.