How to Treat Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a distressing skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has had chickenpox, VZV. If you have shingles, your doctor can prescribe drugs that might shorten how long your outbreak lasts and treatments for your pain and itching. Shingles is a reaction to the same virus as chickenpox and causes a painful rash. Find out the first signs and symptoms of shingles, whether you can still go to work and how long it takes to recover. You can do some things at home to help relieve the symptoms of shingles Shingles causes a painful rash that can be accompanied by fever, fatigue, and sensitivity to light. While antiviral medication is an effective treatment for shingles, it's not the only option. You can’t make shingles go away, but you can give yourself some relief. Learn tips you can use at home to calm your itching, soothe your pain, and ease your mind. How to Treat Shingles? If you suspect you have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis and help you shorten the rash and feel better faster. Some doctors will recommend the use of antiviral medications. Diagnosis. Shingles is usually diagnosed based on the history of pain on one side of your body, along with the telltale rash and blisters. Your doctor may also take a tissue scraping or culture of the blisters for examination in the laboratory. An outbreak may last between one to four weeks; after that the rash dries out and disappears, but scars can remain for the rest of your life. One characteristic of shingles is that it usually appears on only one side of the body, often on the chest but occasionally on the thighs or face. Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website. Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.