Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, it is a painful condition and it is noticeable by a line-like rash which develops around the body. The rash can last for up to 7 weeks, however the pain can continue for months and sometimes even years in rare cases. Once you have had it though you do not get it again. Symptoms include the following:
Pain and tenderness usually on one side of the face or body
Slight fever, upset stomach and chills
Itching, prickling or tingling skin followed by an inflamed red rash
Deep burning, stabbing or aching pain which can be occasional or continuous.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. A person that has had chickenpox is unlikely to suffer from shingles as they should be immune to the virus, unless their immune system is adversely affected by a serious stress, illness or trauma. It can occur in some people and not others.
To help alleviate symptoms once the disease has begun, take the amino acid L-lysine, but only for one week, it is also wise to avoid foods containing amino acid arginine such as nuts, seeds, cereal grains and chocolates so that L-lysine is more effective. Supplements of Vitamin A, B complex, zinc and magnesium have also been found to be helpful.
Try to keep the affected area clean, dry and exposed to air. Apply calamine lotion to the affected area as it helps relieve itching and do not pick or scratch the blisters. Gel from the Aloe Vera plant or Vitamin E oil will also help soothe the skin
When to seek further professional advice
If you have any reason to suspect an outbreak is beginning. If you get shingles on your face or if the affected area becomes re-infected with bacteria. If the rash lasts for more than 10 days without any improvement.
Herbalists often recommend sponging or dabbing lesions with a solution of calendula or lemon balm as it has been found to help reduce inflammation. There is also a commercially prepared gel made from an extract of liquorice that can be applied three times a day as it seems to interfere with virus growth. St. John’s wort ointment can also be used to help reduce inflammation. You could also strengthen the immune system by taking Echinacea, goldenseal or vervain.
Treatment can only help relieve the symptoms, it cannot prevent or stop the disease. Your doctor will only be able to prescribe the appropriate medications for you.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.