Shingles is caused by a herpes virus, and is also known as herpes zoster. Perhaps you are reading this page because you have it yourself, or you may know a friend or relative who has it or has experienced this rather uncomfortable condition.
Shingles is caused by a herpes virus, and is also known as herpes zoster. Perhaps you are reading this page because you have it yourself, or you may know a friend or relative who has it or has experienced this rather uncomfortable condition. This page will expend on shingles, explain what it is, the causes, signs and symptoms as well as explore conventional and natural treatments which will give relief. There are many options you have in terms of natural treatment, and I’d suggest you look carefully at the dietary changes as well as boosting your immune system with natural medicines.
Shingles is essentially a herpes viral infection, and there are several kinds of herpes infections. For example, there is also Herpes Simplex Type 1 (cold sores) or Herpes Simplex Type 2 (genital herpes). Shingles can be most distressing, and in most all cases the very first symptom you will experience is usually a tingling, sharp, burning pain under the skin, typically followed after 2-3 days by a red rash and blisters.
Out of all the conditions to affect the skin, this would have to rank as the most painful of them all because it involves the underlying nerves and can cause you plenty of misery. I have seen a few elderly patients over the years who have really suffered with shingles, so let’s hope this page can help you identify this form of herpes and bring a speedy relief to your suffering.
Herpes zoster is caused by the same family of viruses which cause chicken pox (varicella zoster). Some experts believe that shingles can develop many years after a bout of chickenpox, because the herpes virus can lie latent in the nerve cells around a certain part of the spinal cord. It is my personal belief that it is particularly virulent in those in their who either contracted chickenpox early in life and suppressed the condition with drugs, steroid creams or other lotions or potions, or in those in which the chickenpox was not fully expressed or developed and remained in a latent form
All herpes viruses remain for life, whether they be in the form of shingles, cold sores or genital herpes. At some stage in a person’s life they become re-activated when a person is more susceptible and as their resistance drops for one of several reasons which we will explore.
Shingles can occur at any age but I have found that it usually occurs in adults and can affect both males and females equally. What you will find is that those generally who are at a greater risk of developing shingles include people whose immune systems have been impaired due to ill health, medications or diseases that have the potential to affect the immune system in general.
Burning, Stinging Pain – The interesting thing about shingles is that it is a skin rash that has a peculiar tendency to affect one side of a person’s body. The discomfort includes a tingling, sharp, or burning pain under the skin which can occur anywhere on the body but most commonly affects a person’s face, upper abdomen or back. Most patients I have seen with herpes zoster speak of a mild pain, but it certainly can be quite sever indeed. I have noticed that the longer one has shingles, and particularly the older one is, the more likely it is that the pain will be more severe.
Symptoms Accompanying Pain – Feeling not well at all, there could be a fever or a sensation of being hot, cold or clammy. The person may have a headache, have an upset tummy and in most cases there will be tender or enlarged lymph nodes around the neck, groin or armpit
Skin Rash – first thing that most always occurs is the actual infection, and you may develop a fever and be aware of tender or swollen lymph nodes close to where the rash will appear. After 2-3 days a red rash appears over the painful area of skin followed quickly by the development of small, fluid filled blisters.
The rash can be quite itchy indeed, and can even drive you crazy. Usually within a few days of appearing the blisters dry and crust over and clear away completely within 2-3 weeks. In some severe cases, is possible for the rash to cause mild scarring. Patients have told me over the years that hot water greatly alleviates the itch, and in some people they have found that the application of ice or a cold pack helps a lot, so it is a matter of trial and error to see what works for you.
Well, I can tell you from personal experience when I developed shingles in 2020 I found warm or hot water unbearable for the first several weeks, particularly through the acute (blister) stage. After the blisters had subsided, warm to hot showers were very comforting.
Be aware – herpes is at its most infective stage when the blister like vesicles appear, and they are filled with fluid so be careful not to scratch them and transmit this fluid to somebody else!
Shingles affects the nerves of the body, and it is common for the rash to appear in a band across the body or down the leg along the path of the actual nerve which has been affected. Occasionally the rash does not even eventuate after the initial pain has developed.
There are many potential causes of shingles, but is is thought that these factors have the most influence on the development of shingles:
It is not that hard to diagnose this condition, an experienced practitioner can (or should be able to!) easily pick up the diagnosis in the clinic, I have seen several cases over the years which presented with the fever then the pain and rash and turned out to be shingles. Any doctor should be able to make the shingles diagnosis based on its characteristic symptoms. A full medical history should be taken and your health care professional may take a sample of the fluid from the blister so that it can be tested in a laboratory for presence of the shingles virus.
Conventional medical treatment of shingles is basically limited to symptom relief, because shingles is caused by a virus and viruses are not affected to any degree by drugs such as antibiotics, and only in a minimal sense with anti-viral drugs. On rare occasions, the painful rash caused by shingles may even affect the eyes, and treatment by an ophthalmologist (an eye specialist) may be required to prevent damage to the cornea, which is the transparent part of the eyeball which covers the iris and pupil.
Here are some of the typical conventional treatments you doctor may recommend:
I always recommend that you wash the shingles lesions a few times a day with Tea Tree Oil Soap, and then leave them uncovered to breathe. It is important for you to note that the shingles virus can be passed to another person who has not had chickenpox via the open rash during the blister phase, so it is important for you to cover the sores.
There are many different natural health options open to you when it comes to herpes virus, both in terms of prevention as well as treatment. Here is a list of the best solutions:
Reducing your stress levels is most important, as is getting adequate rest, and along with a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is your best starting point for both the prevention as well as treatment of shingles.
My dietary recommendations have been especially formulated for those suffering form herpes type viruses, including Herpes 1 (cold sores) Herpes 2 (genital herpes) Shingles and Chicken Pox. It is recommended that you avoid or eliminate the foods which contain the amino acid Arginine, which aid in viral replication, particularly at the time of the outbreak (i.e., when you feel a ‘tingle’) Eat foods high in Lysine, an amino acid which inhibits viral replication of the herpes virus. It works like a charm and is particularly effective when used in conjunction with the diet below and additional Vitamin C.
Eric’s Specific Herpes Foods To Eat and Foods to Avoid List
The amino acid called arginine aids in the replication of the herpes virus, and the amino acid called lysine inhibits it, so common sense prevails here. Reduce or better still eliminate arginine containing foods if you have a bad case. Eat more lysine containing foods. The foods highlighted in bold are the top ones in their respective category.
|ARGININE FOODS – To Eliminate
|LYSINE FOODS – To Eat
Shingles is not a contagious skin disease all the time, only at one stage. It is highly unlikely that you will transmit it from one person to another. The varicella-zoster virus, on the other hand, is communicable, meaning, it can be passed from one person to another. If you have active shingles (blisters), you can spread the virus to another person, perhaps causing chickenpox. The virus that causes shingles (varicella zoster) is actually present in the fluid within the blisters of people who have shingles.
The spread of this virus mainly occurs through direct or indirect contact with the fluid in the blisters. Be careful, if you do have shingles you need to know that it is contagious from when the blisters first develop until after all of the blisters have crusted over. And, don’t scratch these crusted over blisters, you may find that they can become infected.
The interesting this to note is that if the virus is transmitted from a person who has shingles to a person who has not had chickenpox, that person will probably develop chickenpox, and not shingles!
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can only be spread from the moment blisters emerge until they form a crust. The danger of shingles transmission is reduced if the rash is covered. The varicella-zoster virus remains in the nerve tissue of that person for the remainder of their lives. The virus remains inactive for the majority of that time. It can, however, reawaken in some cases even years later.
The most common complication of shingles is a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia. This condition is characterised by persistent pain at the site of the shingles rash that lasts for more than one month. Anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications are sometimes used to treat the pain caused by post-herpetic neuralgia.
Most complications of shingles are very rare, but it is still important to consult a health-care professional as soon as shingles is suspected so that an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be given. This is especially important for those people with a weakened immune system.
What this essentially means is the pain you experience after shingles, namely nerve pain. Please bear in mind that the results can be variable and may be disappointing in long-standing cases. Here are the best tips:
Last Page Update: 18 September 2011