Shingles is a painful viral infection that affects more than one million people in the United States every year. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can lie inactive in your nerves for years, and reactivate later as shingles.
Home Treatment For Shingles
If you develop shingles, you can try these all-natural home remedies to relieve the pain and discomfort:
1. Cool compresses: Applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area can help soothe and reduce the pain. You can also take cool baths or showers.
2. Oatmeal baths: Adding colloidal oatmeal to a warm bath can help relieve itching and rash associated with shingles.
3. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel can help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
4. Capsaicin cream: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, which can help relieve the pain associated with shingles.
5. Essential oils: You can try applying essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and peppermint oil to the affected area to reduce the pain and inflammation.
6. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help fight the virus and prevent infection.
7. Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E oil can help reduce the scarring and promote healing of blisters.
8. Honey: Honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help heal the blisters and soothe the skin.
9. Epsom salt: Epsom salt can help soothe the pain and reduce inflammation associated with shingles.
10. Vitamin C: Vitamin C can help boost the immune system and fight off the virus.
How to Prevent Shingles
Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50 or those with weakened immune systems. Here are some tips on how to reduce your risk of developing shingles:
1. Get vaccinated: The CDC recommends getting the shingles vaccine if you are over the age of 50.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help boost your immune system.
3. Manage stress: Chronic stress can weaken your immune system, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress.
4. Avoid exposure to the virus: If you have never had chickenpox, avoid close contact with anyone who has shingles or chickenpox, as these viruses are highly contagious.
When to see a Doctor
Most cases of shingles will clear up on their own within a few weeks, but in some cases, complications can occur. You should see a doctor if:
1. The rash or pain spreads to one or both eyes: Shingles can affect the nerves in the face, and can cause blindness or other serious eye problems if left untreated.
2. The rash is widespread or severe: This may indicate a more serious infection or underlying health condition.
3. You have a weakened immune system: This includes people with HIV, cancer, or those taking immunosuppressive medications.
4. The pain is severe: Shingles can cause severe pain that can persist even after the rash has cleared up. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or other treatments to manage the pain.
1. Can Shingles be cured by natural remedies?
While there is no cure for shingles, natural remedies can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the infection. It’s important to talk to your doctor before trying any new remedies, especially if you are taking medication or have underlying health conditions.
2. How long does shingles last?
Shingles can last for several weeks, and can cause long-lasting pain even after the rash has cleared up. It’s important to see a doctor if you have severe or lingering symptoms.
3. Can shingles recur?
Yes, shingles can recur, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Getting vaccinated can help reduce the risk of recurrence.
4. Is shingles contagious?
Shingles is contagious, but only if you have never had chickenpox. If you develop shingles, you can spread the virus to someone who has never had chickenpox, and they may develop chickenpox as a result.