What Is Shingles?
Shingles is a viral skin infection which causes the appearance of very painful, reddish rash or blisters. Shingles is normally localized in different parts of the body, but it’s able to spread all over the body, especially around the side of your face and the middle of your torso.
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Shingles mostly affects adults with weak immune system, but rarely affects children. Most people who contract shingles get better quickly and will not get it a second time all through their life. However, in some cases, people who have contract shingles can still get it, especially if their immune system is weak or if shingles wasn’t properly treated the first time it appeared.
Causes of Shingles
Shingles is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, also called herpes zoster because it’s related to both herpes and zona zoster viruses. Shingles occur when the same virus that causes chickenpox decides to attack your body again, probably because the infection wasn’t properly treated and the virus remained dormant in the nerve roots of your system. Factors such as stress, disease, weaken immune system, ageing process, can trigger the dormant virus to attack your body again. As time goes by, different factors, such as aging, disease, stress, and anxiety weaken your immune system. However, once the virus has awakened again, it can only cause shingles, but not chickenpox.
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One utmost thing about shingles is that you cannot catch it from someone else because that is not the way it spreads. Shingles cannot also be gotten from another person because children are always vaccinated against chickenpox from an early age. This means you are protected against the virus itself, so you cannot contract the disease.
However, if you haven’t been vaccinated against the disease, you risk getting shingles from another person who currently has it.
Symptoms of Shingles
Symptoms of shingles occur in different stages:
Stage 1: The first stage includes severe headache or/and sensitivity to light. Symptoms may be similar to the flu, but without the fever and stuffy nose that goes with it.
Stage 2: Symptoms in the next stage may include tingling, itchiness, and pain in a particular area of your body where the disease is silently developing. Rashes will appear within a few days after this itchy sensation. The rash will then transform into shingles blisters which will clump together into clusters. Next, the blisters will fill up with fluid, and, as time goes by, a crust will form on them.
Other symptoms may include;
- Impaired vision (if the rash appears on face)
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking
Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of these shingles symptoms. There are a number of treatments and home remedies for shingles which you can undergo to get rid of shingles.
Effective Home Remedies for Shingles
Baking soda and cornstarch paste
You can ease the itchiness that goes with shingles rash by using baking soda and cornstarch paste. Simply form a paste using cornstarch or baking soda and water. Pour two parts cornstarch or baking soda into a cup, and add one part water to form a slightly thick consistency. Apply the mixture to your rash, and leave for 20 minutes. Repeat several times a day as required.
Wet, cool compress
Using a wet, cool compress can help relieve the pains and itchiness associated with shingles rash. Simply apply a cool, wet compress to the affected area several times throughout the day to relieve symptoms. Soak a cloth in cool water, wring out the water, and apply the cloth to the rash and blisters. The coolness of the compress can reduce pain. Repeat the process as often as you need.
Note: Avoid applying an ice pack to the rash because the coldness may increase skin sensitivity and aggravate pain.
Herbal or homeopathic remedies can be used to relieve shingles symptom. Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that embraces the approach of allowing the body to heal itself.
Currently, there is little scientific evidence that supports the use of homeopathic medicine as a treatment for any condition. Consult your doctor first before using any homeopathic remedies.
Some supplements and herbal medicines may also help your body fight the virus, and treat insomnia and anxiety due to shingles. These include:
Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
You need to observe a proper personal hygiene always, especially when you have shingles. Daily cleansing of the body parts affected by shingles reduces the risk of spreading the infection. Take a cool bath or shower to soothe skin. You can also take a healing bath to ease symptoms by pouring 1 to 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal or cornstarch into lukewarm bathwater and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes. Dry your body properly and then wash your towel to avoid passing on the virus to others.
Soothing lotions and creams
You must avoid scratching shingles rash no matter how itchy they get. Scratching can lead to scarring and prolong blisters. Use soothing lotions and creams if itching doesn’t improve after a healing bath, a cool compress, or a baking soda or cornstarch mixture.
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Lotions and creams can increase your comfort level, though they cannot speed up the healing process. Scented or perfumed lotions should be avoided because they can cause further irritation. Use lotions and creams sparingly, as heavy application can keep sores from drying out and lengthen the healing process. Go for creams or lotions that contains capsaicin, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on shingles rash.
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Disclaimer: The content provided on healthdiary365.com is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.