Q. Three weeks after a shingles attack I was suffering excruciating nerve pain across the right side of my scalp and behind my ear. Acetaminophen with codeine was not working.
One morning at 3 am I finally turned on the light, grabbed my laptop and searched for websites that might offer alternative remedies for pain relief. At PeoplesPharmacy.com I discovered that several people recommended applying amber Listerine mouthwash directly to the affected areas.
I was skeptical but desperate, so I went to the bathroom, soaked my washcloth in Listerine and rubbed it gently into my scalp. Wow! Within three minutes I felt relief and for the first time in weeks I slept with the right side of my head on the pillow. It was wonderful to feel pain free, even for a few hours.
A. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir or valaciclovir can speed healing if taken at the first sign of shingles (a painful rash or blisters on one side of the body). The pain can be excruciating and may last a long time.
Some readers report temporary relief with topical Listerine and others say that oral L-lysine aids recovery. For those wishing to avoid shingles and the risk of lingering pain, a shingles vaccine (Zostavax) is available.