Understanding Shingles: A Comprehensive Guide 

nhs shingles treatment

NHS Shingles Treatment

As pharmacists at Knights Pharmacy, we are dedicated to providing excellent healthcare services to our community. One particular aspect of our role involves offering NHS Shingles treatment through the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that can cause a painful rash. In this comprehensive guide, we provide all the information that you need on shingles, its symptoms, treatment options, and how we, as pharmacists, can assist patients through the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus can remain dormant in the nerve tissues near the spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus can reactivate and cause shingles. While it is more common in older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems, anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles.

Symptoms of Shingles

The most recognisable symptom of shingles is a painful rash that typically appears as a band or strip of red blisters on one side of the body. This rash is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sensation of pins and needles

The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, with some individuals experiencing mild discomfort while others may experience intense pain.


shingles vaccine


Treatment Options

While there is no cure for shingles, prompt treatment can help alleviate symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. Antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir, are commonly prescribed to help reduce the severity and duration of the rash. These medications work best when started within 72 hours of the rash appearing, so it’s essential to seek medical advice as soon as symptoms develop.

In addition to antiviral medications, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate the pain associated with shingles. Calamine lotion or cool compresses may also provide relief from itching and discomfort.

NHS Pharmacy First Scheme for Shingles Treatment

At Knights Pharmacy, we are proud to participate in the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme, which allows patients to access treatment for minor illnesses and conditions directly from their local pharmacy without needing to see a GP first. Shingles is one of the conditions covered under this scheme, and our trained pharmacists can provide advice, support, and treatment to eligible patients. Patients who are eligible for NHS Shingles treatment through the Pharmacy First Scheme include individuals aged 18 and older

Our pharmacists are trained to assess patients’ symptoms and provide appropriate treatment or refer them to a GP if necessary. We can dispense antiviral medications and provide advice on managing symptoms and preventing the spread of the virus to others.





While shingles cannot be completely prevented, vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the risk of developing the condition. The shingles vaccine is available at some of our branches.

Book an Appointment

Shingles is a painful and uncomfortable condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. While there is no cure for shingles, prompt treatment with antiviral medications can help alleviate symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. At Knights Pharmacy, we are committed to providing support and treatment to patients with shingles through the NHS Pharmacy First Scheme. Our trained pharmacists can assess symptoms, dispense medications, and provide advice on managing the condition. If you believe you may have shingles or have any questions about the condition, don’t hesitate to visit us at Knights Pharmacy for expert guidance and support. Your health and well-being are our top priorities.


This blog was written on behalf of Knights Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.