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Healing Shingles

healing shinglesWaking up and seeing rashes on the mirror makes the person annoyed. Working or attending classes will be disrupted due that the affected person will be embarrassed to show his or her face to the public. Healing shingles might be the solution for this.

What is shingles?

The word “Shingles” is derived from the Latin word cingulum meaning “girdle”. It is the common name that is used to refer to a viral infection that is medically referred to as Herpes Zoster.

The term “Zoster” originates from the Greek word meaning “belt” because of the characteristic “belt-like” or “stripe like” rash that is caused by this disease.

What causes shingles?

This disease is caused by the reactivation of the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) which is primarily responsible for causing chicken pox in childhood. After the primary infection has subsided this virus remains latent for several years together in the dorsal root ganglia of the body only to get to get reactivated in individuals who are either immunocompromised or have recently experienced a stressful life event. It is more common after the age of 60.

How do I know If I have shingles?

  • A person who has contracted this disease would initially experience only non-specific symptoms like  low grade fever, headache and malaise followed by sensations of itching, “pins and needles “or tingling numbness. This is accompanied by a tingling, aching, stinging or throbbing nerve pain which may vary from mild to severe. This is the initial phase of the disease and would typically last anywhere between two to three days and three weeks.
  • Next there would be the appearance of a rash which initially gives the appearance of hives but gradually changes to give the characteristic belt-like or stripe like appearance. It is always confined to a single dermatome or one single side of the body and never crosses the midline to the other side. It is this peculiar feature of the disease which helps to aid in its diagnosis.
  • The most common area of the body where you would expect to encounter such a rash would be on the torso or lower back but it can also occur on the face, eyes, mouth and tongue due to the involvement of the branches of the trigeminal nerve. When it occurs in the eyes it is referred to as Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus.
  • Finally vesicles appear on the skin which are blister like in appearance and are filled with a clear watery fluid. They continue to form for the next 3-5 days.
  • These painful blisters eventually become filled with blood. Later they develop crusts which eventually fall off. The disease may last for as long as 7-10 days and it may take as long as 2-4 weeks for the skin to return to normal.

What Shingles remedies can I find at home?

While it is mandatory to see a physician in the event that you have contracted the disease, home remedies may often help to provide temporary relief. Some home remedies that may prove effective include:

  • Using Cold packs or cold compresses to  help relieve the pain
  • Gently place a cold towel or pour ice water over the affected area. It can help to soothe the pain.
  • The affected portion of the body should be washed with soap and water.
  • Calamine lotion can help to alleviate any itching or discomfort.
  • Get plenty of bedrest in order to hasten a speedy recovery from the illness.
  • Ibuprofen helps reduce inflammation is therefore considered the drug of choice. Aspirin may be another useful option and is available at your local pharmacy. If you are allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen, ask your doctor to prescribe something for the pain.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a topical local anesthetic cream to be used for the blisters.
  • A wet compress soaked with aluminum acetate can be both soothing and cleansing.
  • Further spread of bacteria can be avoided by meticulous skin care, particularly with cutting of fingernails.
  • Resist the temptation to pop the blisters! It will only worsen the scarring and prolong the healing process.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Avoid any close contact with those people who have not had chickenpox, or are immunocompromised.

What is the treatment for Shingles?

The main aim of treatment is to reduce the severity of the pain, shorten the duration of a shingles episode, and prevent complications from occurring in the future.

Analgesics

People with mild to moderate pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.

Antivirals

  • Patients with herpes zoster benefit from oral antiviral therapy.
  • Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, or Famciclovir administered daily for 5-7 days leads to accelerated healing of lesions and resolution of the pain.
  • For low-risk immunocompromised patients, oral therapy with Valacyclovir or Famciclovir may be beneficial.
  • Corticosteroids may be useful to deal acute pain but have not shown any beneficial effects on long term pain.

Steroids

  • In addition opioids like morphine or oxycodone should be used to treat postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) as they minimize the pain.

Can Shingles Be Prevented by Vaccines?

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has approved a vaccine for adult shingles known as Zostavax in those individuals who are over the age of 50 and have had chicken pox.
  • Only one dose is required to be administered in adults and subsequent booster dozes are not required.
  • Research has shown that this vaccine greatly contributed to reducing the risk of a shingles outbreak. In addition it was found to be very effective in reducing symptoms of this disease and also preventing the occurrence of post-herpetic neuralgia.A systematic review by the Cochrane Library concluded that 1 episode of shingles was prevented for every 70 patients who received this vaccine.
  • Previous attacks of Herpes Zoster have been shown to confer immunity on the individual and reduce the risk of a recurrence.
  • Always insist on getting vaccinated regardless of whether you have had Herpes in the past .Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ACIP recommend the vaccination of all adults irrespective of whether they have contracted the disease in the past or not.
  • A study conducted in 2007 found that the zoster vaccine was likely to be cost-effective in the United States.
  • Ongoing studies are being used to evaluate the effectiveness of this vaccine long-term. In the Shingles Prevention Study (SPS), vaccine efficacy was maintained through four years of follow-up.
  • However this vaccine cannot be administered to pregnant women.
  • If you have taken the shingles vaccine you should wait at least three months before trying to get pregnant.
  • Those individuals who have a weakened immune system due to HIV, cancer treatment or other conditions should not take the shingles vaccine because it contains live attenuated viral particles.

Healing shingles is a way to enjoy your life again and return to normal activities. Maintain a healthy diet and often go to non-polluted places for you to have a longer healthy life.

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Natural treatment of shingles

natural shingles treatment

Did you ever feel headache, nausea or any side effects using drugs or pills? If yes, natural treatment of shingles is for you. Aside from taking organic and healthier alternatives, fewer side effects will be experienced. Having second thoughts about using this? Well, just take a look at the information provided below.

Okay, Please tell me what is Shingles?

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox or varicella zoster virus in adults. It usually occurs in people over the age of 60 who have a weak immune system, are stressed or ill. The most common symptom of shingles is the itchy, painful fluid-filled blisters that are present on the skin, usually on one side of the body. These blisters or sores will eventually dry out, crust over and heal on their own within 3 to 5 weeks.

While there is no known cure to treat this, certain natural remedies can be used to reduce the painful, burning sensation, duration and severity of the disease. Natural treatments are better to be used in combination with anti-viral medicines prescribed by a physician.

I need to soothe my rashes, how will I make these less itchy?

Soak the affected area with blisters in cool water or use a cool and wet towel as a compress to ease discomfort. Dip the affected part in hot water for around 30 seconds, so for you to have a temporary relief from itching.  Colloidal oatmeal or starch powder added to lukewarm baths can relieve the irritation and help you relax. Zinc and Vitamin E or aloe vera balms can also be applied to the sores to bring temporary relief. These powders and salves are available by over the counter at pharmacies.

How do I manage the pain?

Several natural or homemade treatments can be used topically to lessen pain and itching. Capsaicin is a chemical extracted from peppers, which when applied on the skin, causes nerve cells to release all their pain-sensing “substance P” neurotransmitters at once. Nerves then become incapable of transmitting pain signals to the brain for a while and because of this, capsaicin acts now as a natural pain reliever. Capsaicin is available by over the counter at drug stores in the form of creams and powders for topical treatment.

Can I use ice to manage pain and inflammation?

Yes. During the first few days, while the blisters are fresh, applying an ice pack for a few minutes several times a day can help you manage the pain and inflammation. Turmeric paste, honey, peppermint and geranium oil have been proven to reduce pain, possess antiseptic properties and are widely used for natural Ayurvedic treatment of shingles. Just be careful of using turmeric because it can stain your clothes so make sure you will just wear your house clothes. The Apple cider vinegar compress can also help you to control pain and itching.

I am done in soothing the blisters and managing the pain, how do I naturally heal shingles?

Apply cornstarch or baking soda so blisters will dry faster and will hasten the healing. These can be applied a few times a day, left on for a quarter of an hour and then properly wash off. Garlic juice mixed with olive oil can be applied to ease itching and speed up healing.

How will I have a good or balanced diet?

Diet can also affect the healing process. The essential amino acids, L-Lysine, interrupts viral replication while L-Arginine promotes the increase of the viruses. Because of these, patients are advised to maintain a higher L-Lysine to L-Arginine ratio. Lysine-rich foods include protein from meat, dairy and vegetables. Foods like sugar, chocolate, berries, nuts and tomatoes that are rich in Arginine should be avoided. Studies have proven that consumption of 1000mg of Lysine thrice a day decreases the duration and intensity of shingles. Natural dietary supplements like vitamin A, B complex, C, D and E are beneficial for shingles treatment. Vitamin A, C and D can strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C inhibits viral replication, Vitamin E aids in the healing of blistered skin and will prevent nerve damage and Vitamin B12 can be taken to decrease nerve pain that is commonly associated with shingles. Another supplement that is known to heighten immunity and speed up the healing process is flax seed or acidophilus bacteria powder which can also be bought at drugstores or pharmacies.

Proteolytic enzymes are protein-digesting enzymes that occur naturally in the human body and additional supplements can be obtained from papayas (papain), pineapples (bromelain) and animal sources (pepsin, trypsin, etc.). These enzymes digest the protein casing of the herpes zoster virus, slowing down its replication, decreasing pain, improving the condition of the skin and reducing the side effects of the anti-viral medicines. Naturally derived proteolytic enzyme supplements are available at most drugstores and can be taken orally.

Are there herbs and other alternative medicines?

Research is also underway to find herbal remedies like licorice root, passionflower and lemon balm. These have been found to heighten immunity, soothe inflammation and reduce anxiety. Lemon balm specifically attacks herpes viruses and can be applied topically to reduce blistering and heal the affected skin.

Some may prefer to be treated by alternative medicine such as having acupuncture and hypnosis to lessen the pain successfully.

How do I prevent it from making it worse?

Pat the skin dry after its exposure to water to prevent bacterial infection. The skin should be kept clean by washing this with a mild soap several times a day. Once the blisters crust over, soaking these blisters in tap water can help clean away crusts, decrease oozing and soothe itching and pain. The rashes should not be covered with bandages, plasters or tight clothes. Not only do this slowdown the healing process, but this can also cause bacteria to proliferate and infect the area.

Since shingles is communicable, all towels or clothes coming in contact with the affected skin should be washed in hot water before reusing or disposing it off. If you do not wash the towels and clothes properly, the virus can easily infect others due to skin contact and inhalation of airborne disease.

How long does it heal?

This viral disease will take its own sweet time to clear up despite all medications and natural treatments so it will be best if you will use your three weeks’ time to catch up on your rest and relaxation which can help to speed up the healing process.

While these natural treatments can help you cope with the shingles pain, it is strongly advised that patients should visit a doctor within 24 to 72 hours from the first appearance of the rashes so proper diagnosis and antiviral treatment prescription can be given and chances of complications and long-term effects are also reduced as well.

You don’t have to fret about side effects and pills. You can just use natural shingles treatment and become less worried about taking other important medications. You can now live and heal as naturally as possible but remember if the disease gets worse, seek a doctor’s help and take both natural and drug treatments so you can escape as soon as possible from the agony of having shingles.

Shingles home remedies

Shingles home treatment

Luckily, here, in front of you, is the answer for the shingles home remedies. Many will consult friends, relatives or search the Internet if they feel something unusual and then, the consultant will simply say that you must see a doctor. Common sense right? Let’s face it, if money or health insurance is not a problem especially to economically-challenged countries, one will see a physician immediately to be sure about his or her condition but how about if frequently answered questions about a certain disease in books and the Internet will help the affected person to save time, cost and effort if symptoms of the disease are just mild and can simply be remedied at home.

Summary about Shingles

The varicella-zoster virus which causes chicken pox can attack again that will cause  Shingles (zoster or zona). Shingles is a skin disease caused by a viral infection resulting to a painful clustered blisters or rash. Its other name is zoster or herpes zoster. This skin disease usually happened in older adults especially from ages 50-60 but it doesn’t mean that young people would be exempted. Everyone can get shingles from having weak immune system, stress, medications, aging and cancer treatments.

Upon aging, there’s the possibility that shingles will strike. An individual can be surely attacked by this virus if his or her mother during pregnancy have shingles or chicken pox or if he or she have already acquired chicken pox during his or her childhood years. When someone has already been healed from the chicken pox, the virus still remains in the nervous system.

When does a Shingles symptom needed to be taken seriously?

Please read “SHINGLES: A DREADFUL SKIN CONDITION” in this website first before reading this post so you will know if this shingles can be treated at home or if the affected individual must be admitted to the hospital immediately.

If the affected area is on the head including face and if you are pregnant, seek medical help because:

  • Shingles in the eye can cause pain and inflammation that may lead to temporary or permanent loss of vision.
  • Shingles in the ear causes hearing problems
  • Shingles in the tongue (herpes simplex) can cause not only eating problems but can also develop tongue sores or mouth ulcers as well.

If there is a pain but without rashes or blisters, it might be shingles that can lead from months to years of nerve pain if not treated properly.

Do it yourself Shingles home care

To relieve symptoms and prevent further complications, these tips must be followed for faster healing.

  • Rest and sleep to strengthen the immune system.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to lessen irritation by staying hydrated so skin can be prevented from drying out.
  • Good hygiene (including trimming your fingernails to reduce scratching)
  • Use cool and moist compress to ease the pain or itch. A compress with aluminum acetate solution might help too.
  • While waiting to have medicines, these baking ingredients, baking soda or corn starch may also be applied to dry the sores for a shorter healing process.
  • Regular hand washing, avoiding picking and scratching blisters, making the crust fall off naturally will prevent infection of shingles.
  • To clean away crusts and decrease oozing, the affected area must be soaked with tap water and dressing must be applied to it.

Non-prescription painkillers

Analgesics, acetaminophen, topical anesthetic or topical lotions containing calamine, anticonvulsants, optoids, antidepressants, aspirin or ibuprofen can ease the pain caused by shingles.

To reduce inflammation and complications, antiviral medicines might be prescribed such as Aciclovir (Zovirax), Valaciclovir (Valtrex) and Famciclovir (Famvir). During the healing stage, shingles will dry up forming scabs or crusts and will begin to fade within 7-10 days.

For mild shingle rashes, people who have this can manage these rashes without pain medications but majority still needs medications to manage pain. Some are content with buying over-the-counter painkillers such as:

  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Medications aiming the nerves such as gabapentin or tricyclic medications such as nortriptyline, desipramine, or amitriptyline could be used.

These over-the counter painkillers prescribed by a physician are still needed. Worse, if severe pain persists, the person must be admitted to the hospital and will have to be treated by intravenous pain medications.

Other home remedies for shingles rashes or blisters:

  • Dab the cotton with colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the infected rashes or blisters.
  • The popular Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg) is a big help. Mix ½ cup of it in 2 cups of water and use a cotton to dab to the affected areas.
  • Combine or make a mixture of leek juice, raw honey and aloe vera gel. Then, apply this mixture  to the rashes.
  • Lemon balm is the only herb in the mint family that has antiviral properties against herpes.
  • Many said that using Cayenne or chili pepper is effective. It contains capsaicin which is used topically for pain relief. If using it is very messy, try the ointment form, Zostrix. It is recommended to apply this four to five times daily to the affected area.
  • While on shingles, enjoy eating by adding garlic to food every day. Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties to fight diseases.
  • Licorice, known for having immune-boosting compounds, can be bought in pharmacies as licorice cream or ointment. Drinking licorice tea or applying a strong one to the rash three times a day might help.
  • Lomatium root can enhance the immune system and the recommended dosage for this is 500 mg four times a day every day.
  • The nutritional supplements to fight shingles are vitamins C, E, B12 and Zinc.
  • Vitamin C for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It boosts the immune system.
  • Vitamin E for solving persistent nerve pain caused by zoster virus which is known as postherpetic neuralgia.
  • Vitamin B12 for good nerve function and relieving pain.
  • Zinc for reducing the frequency, duration and severity of shingles rashes or blisters outbreak.

The final say

Shingles home remedies or treatment is a big help and can be a first aid in treating shingles. If rashes or pain becomes worse or if you are pregnant, stop self-medicating and seek medical help to prevent danger in life.