This is the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. If you are lucky enough to have forgotten what chicken pox feels like, shingles will remind you. It begins with burning, itching, or pain in one part of the body; after a few days, blisters and a rash appear. Zoster, the Greek word for "belt" or "girdle," refers to the tendency of the disease to ring the body on the abdomen or chest area, although it can also affect the neck, lower back, forehead, and eyes. The blisters will usually last for one to two weeks before they crust over and heal. Unfortunately, the pain of shingles can continue long after the initial attack, particularly in older people. Moreover, attacks can recur at any time.
Even though your case of chicken pox is long gone, the virus that caused it may have been hibernating in your spinal nerves for years. A trigger such as fatigue, stress, exposure to someone with chicken pox, the use of anticancer drugs, immune system deficiency, Hodgkin's disease, and other cancers cause the virus to travel through the nerve endings near the skin surface, resulting in the pain and blistering rash that is shingles. You cannot catch shingles from someone else unless you've never had chicken pox. This is important. If you have shingles, you should take care to avoid pregnant women who have not had chicken pox as you could infect both the woman and her unborn baby.
The pain of shingles can be excruciating. The treatment is twofold: to the pain and to prevent the aftereffects, in particular postherpetic a persistent debilitating pain that is probably caused by what the virus has done to the nerves.
You should adopt natural remedies to help prevent symptoms. You should avoid the routine use of steroids unless they have been prescribed by a doctor and their use is being monitored. There is still controversy about the effectiveness of steroids in relieving shingles; moreover they can negatively affect the immune system and may cause complications. You also should avoid the use of any pain-relieving or itch-relieving cream that contains steroids.
People with shingles are looking for immediate relief. Fortunately there are a few natural remedies that have proved helpful for many people. The first and most basic is to apply cool or cold wet dressings to the affected area. Wet a washcloth or towel, wring it out, and then gently press it to the lesions. Some people put the cloth into the freezer for a while after wetting it to make it colder. Just as coolness is soothing to the lesions, heat is irritating. Avoid heat as well as tight clothes and itchy fabrics like wool. Some people find that calamine lotion can relieve the pain and help dry the lesictus.
Something else that can give relief is Vitamin E, used both orally an on the lesions themselves. While no one is certain exactly why vitamin E is useful in treating shingles, there's ample evidence that it does wonders for many people. In addition, you can take one or more vitamin E capsules, cut off the tip and squeeze it onto the lesions.
Vitamin C is another aid in treating shingles. There is speculation vitamin C increases the body's production of interferon, an infection fighting protein that promotes healing.
The amino acid Lysine inhibits herpes activity and can help shorten an attack. You only need to take lysine supplements during the course an outbreak. In addition, avoid arginine-rich foods such as chocolate, peanuts, seeds, and cereal grains. Arginine is another amino acid, but its effect on the virus is the opposite of lysine's: It promotes herpes growth. You can also use lysine cream to hasten healing. It's available in health food stores. I usually advise applying it topically, twice a day, but check: with the directions on the package label.
Once the shingles lesions have healed, cayenne pepper may reduce any lingering pain you may experience. The important ingredient is capsaicin, which is a naturally occurring irritant found in hot peppers. Like hot peppers, it can sting your eyes or irritate a cut. It might well sting when you first apply it to painful areas on your skin, but It's supposed to. It works to deplete a substance manufactured by your skin that transmits messages of pain to the brain.
- Cold Compresses Apply towels or washcloths wrung out in cold water (and stored in the freezer if you want them colder) to the lesions.
- Lysine Cream, available in health food stores, can be applied topically daily or as directed on package label.
- Calamine Lotion can be applied to the lesions.
- Vitamin E Capsules can be squeezed directly onto lesions.
- Cayenne Pepper may reduce pain
- St. Johns Wort: 450 mg. twice daily.
- Echinacea: 300 mg. twice daily.
- Lysine: 1,000 mg. three times daily during an outbreak.
- Vitamin B 12 (Methylcobalamin): injections have also helped with postherpetic neuralgia.
- Vitamin C: 2 to 3 g. daily taken 1 g. (1,000 mg.) every six hours at first sign of pain and continued until the lesions clear.
- Vitamin E: 600 I.U. daily.
- In Addition: Acupuncture can be helpful in relieving symptoms of an, acute attack as well as postherpetic pain.
Eighty-eight percent of patients in one study have been freed from pain after receiving intramuscular injections of adenosine monophosphate (AMP), a natural cellular metabolite. Patients remained pain-free from three to eighteen months after the treatment.
Shingles Information: Natural News 3/6/2011 - Relieve And Eliminate Painful Shingles Outbreaks
Shingles Information: Natural News 3/13/2013 - Wipe Out Shingles FAST With Easy To Use Homeopathic Remedies
Shingles Information: Dr. Mercola 11/2/2010 - Why A Shingles Epidemic Is Bolting Straight At The U.S.