Shingles or Herpes Zoster: Causes, Symptoms and Home Remedies

If in the past you have suffered from chicken pox then you can develop shingles any time in future.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster is caused by virus herpes zoster or varicella- zoster. This condition affects about 1 in every 5 people once in their lifetime and may result into life time pain.

Shingles or Herpes Zoster

Shingles or Herpes Zoster


What is Shingles

Shingles is a reactivation of chicken pox and result in painful rashes. It is the infection of a nerve and the skin supplied by that nerve.

What is Shingles

What is Shingles


What is the Cause of Shingles

The causative agent of shingles is a herpes zoster virus that is also known as a Varicella-zoster virus. When contracted for the first time this virus causes chickenpox. Once you catch the infection even after you recover from chickenpox, the virus does not leave your body. They secretly reside in your nerve cells. When the body’s immunity is low they reactivate. The cause of reactivation of the virus is uncertain. Herpes zoster is more common in people above 50 years of age and immune-compromised people. Stress and injury may be one of the reactivating factors.

What are the Symptoms of Shingles

You will experience tingling, pain, fever and weakness before the appearance of the rashes. The rashes of shingles appear after a few days. They are blistering in appearance filled with fluid and seems similar to the blisters of chickenpox. The blotchy patches of the rash clusters along the nerve pathway, but do not spread all over the body. They may give a band like an appearance. Along with the rash, there is an intense shooting pain, burning, and itching. For a week new blisters may keep on developing. Common site of their appearance are the face, waist and rib cage. A direct contact with these blisters may transmit chicken pox infection to others. Thus, those who never had chickenpox in the past or have not been vaccinated should be cautious.

Symptoms of Shingles

Symptoms of Shingles

Usually, herpes zoster is self-limiting. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for the blisters to crust, dry out and disappear. In most of the cases, the patient may recover completely, but the pain may be left be behind and is known as postherpetic neuralgia.

What is the Treatment of Shingles

In the case of herpes zoster your doctor may prescribe certain medication to alleviate pain and discomfort. But when you have equally effective home remedies for shingles then why to mess your condition with conventional medicines.

Shingles or Herpes Zoster and Home Remedies

Shingles or Herpes Zoster and Home Remedies


Home Remedies for Shingles

  1. Cut Arginine Rich Foods-

    The first thing to acknowledge is that the virus that causes herpes zoster thrives on Arginine. So better exclude foods rich in Arginine from your diet until the outbreak of herpes zoster passes. Foods that are rich in Arginine are tomatoes, sugars, wheat Germ, cashews, grapes, brussels sprouts, pumpkin Seeds, pecans, blueberries, blackberries, peanuts and chocolate

  2. Shift onto Lysine Rich Foods for Daily Protein Requirement-

    Protein is required by the body to make new cells and repair of the damaged cells. But as we have to cut Arginine we must switch on to lysine rich foods such as pineapples, meats, fish, cheese, milk, yogurt, apples, pears, eggs, apricots, avocados, green beans and asparagus.

    Lysine Rich Foods

    Lysine Rich Foods

  3. Apple Cider Vinegar-

    To clear the blisters apple cider vinegar will be the best choice among all home remedies for shingles. It has antimicrobial properties and also effectively masks the pain being astringent. Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and apply it to the affected part. This should be done gently so that blisters do not peel up. Just after the application, you will experience relief in the pain. Repeat this 2 times in a day.

    To promote the internal healing you may also take apple cider vinegar orally. For this Mix 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink it daily till the outbreak subsides.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple Cider Vinegar

  4. Garlic to Treat Herpes Zoster-

    Known for its antiviral properties, garlic is considered an effective alternative to antiviral medicines. Also, it is anti-inflammatory and thus reduces pain and other symptoms. It also encourages quick healing of the blisters.

    Crush 3 garlic cloves. Make a paste. Swallow this paste with water empty stomach in the morning.

    Applying garlic topically is also effective. Add the crushed garlic paste to olive oil and apply over the blisters. This will help them to scab over and dry fast.

    Garlic

    Garlic

  5. Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil-

    By combining both lavender and tea tree essential oils you will make a powerful natural solution that will act as an analgesic, antiviral and also have a cool calming effect. You will be relieved from pain, itch and healing will be speeded.

    Add a few drops of lavender oil and tea tree oil to a tablespoon coconut or olive oil. Apply the mixture 3 times in a day.

  6. Neem Oil or Neem Leaves-

    This is another effective home solution to treat herpes zoster. It possesses antimicrobial properties that can uproot harmful microbes out of your body completely.

    Tale a cotton swab and soak it with neem oil. Gently apply it on the rashes. Repeat this several times in a day.

    If in the case neem oil is not available take dried neem leaves and boil them in a liter of water. Cooled down the solution and strain it. Now soak a towel with this solution and place it on the affected part for 5 minutes. Repeat this for 10-15 minutes for 3 times in a day. Bathing with neem water is also helpful.

    You may also crush the neem leaves and apply it directly to the rashes. This will ease itching. 

    Neem Oil or Neem Leaves

    Neem Oil or Neem Leaves

Home remedies for shingles not only eliminates pain, itching, and burning but also encourages healing.

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