What Is shingles?
Shingles is a virus that causes a painful skin rash. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The virus that causes shingles is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in your nervous system for years. For reasons that aren’t fully understood, the virus can reactivate and cause shingles.
The rash appears as small, red bumps on the skin and lasts for around two weeks. It can be very uncomfortable and cause serious complications if not treated quickly.
Shingles is most common in people over 50 years old, but it can also happen in people of any age.
The virus that causes shingles spreads through contact with saliva or mucus from the lesions (rashes). This means that you could get shingles even if you don’t have chickenpox.
There is no cure for shingles, but there are treatments that can help ease the pain and speed up healing time. If you’re experiencing a shingles outbreak, here are 15 science-backed home remedies, medications, and tips to help you find relief fast.
What Are the Symptoms of shingles?
Shingles Symptoms Include Pain, Itching, And Tingling
The most common symptom of shingles is a painful rash that appears on one side of your body. The rash is usually accompanied by fever, headache, and chills. Other symptoms include pain, itching, and tingling. Shingles can also cause fever and a red rash that looks like raw chicken skin.
Fever and headache are also common symptoms of shingles, and they can make the condition even more difficult to deal with. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly on One Side or in One Area of Your Body?
Shingles usually appear on one side of your body because the virus multiplies in nerve cells near your spinal cord and then travels along nerve pathways to your skin. The first sign of shingles is often burning or tingling pain (called prodrome) on one side of your torso, neck, face or arm followed by a red rash that appears a few days later.
What Over-the-counter Medications Can You Use to Ease the Pain of Shingles?
Some over-the-counter medications that have been shown to be effective in relieving pain include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Antiviral medications
- Naproxen (Aleve)
It is important to speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication for the relief of shingles symptoms
What Are the Home Remedies for Shingles?
There are many home remedies for shingles, and each one has been tested in some way or another. Some of the most popular include:
- drinking lots of fluids to relieve thirst and swelling
- applying ice packs to the affected area
- taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen (if prescribed by a doctor)
- using topical creams or ointments that contain lidocaine, benzocaine, phenylephrine, capsaicin, choline salicylate, menthol crystals or camphor oil
- using supplements such as ginger extract or garlic capsules
Relaxing Home Remedies for Treating Shingles
Having shingles is indeed a very uncomfortable and even painful experience. Try these relaxing ways to ease your shingles symptoms right at the comforts of your home:
- Apply a cool compress: Cooling the skin can help ease pain and itchiness. Apply a clean, cool cloth to the affected area for relief.
- Take a bath: Add soothing ingredients like oatmeal or baking soda to a lukewarm bath to help relieve shingles symptoms. Soak for about 20 minutes at a time.
- Use essential oils: Some essential oils may help ease pain and itchiness associated with shingles. Try applying diluted lavender oil or chamomile oil to the affected area several times per day.
- Apply aloe vera gel: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin and reduce irritation caused by shingles blisters. Apply aloe vera gel directly to the affected area several times per day as needed for relief from symptoms like pain, itching, and inflammation.
What Medications Can Be Used to Ease Shingles Pain?
There are a few different types of medications that can be used to ease the pain of shingles. These include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain medications, and antiviral drugs.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: These can help to ease mild to moderate pain. Examples include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Prescription pain medications: These can be used for more severe pain. Examples include opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
- Antiviral drugs: These can help to shorten the duration of the shingles outbreak and may also help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Examples include valacyclovir, famciclovir, and acyclovir.
Who May Be Prescribed Antiviral Medication?
- People who are at high risk for complications from the flu. This includes people who are 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.
- People who have severe flu symptoms.
- People who have been exposed to the flu but have not yet developed symptoms (this is known as prophylaxis).
Pregnancy And Antiviral Medication
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re pregnant and considering taking antiviral medication. First, it’s important to understand that not all antiviral drugs are created equal. Some, like Tamiflu, have been shown to be effective in treating influenza during pregnancy. However, others, like Zovirax, have not been as well studied in pregnant women and their safety is not as well understood.
Second, it’s important to remember that even though these medications can be effective at treating the flu, they are not a substitute for getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your baby from the flu during pregnancy.
Finally, if you do get sick with the flu while pregnant and need to take antiviral medication, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about which drug is right for you and how long you should take it.
Children And Antiviral Medication
There are a few antiviral medications available for children, and the most common ones are Tamiflu and Relenza. These medications can help to shorten the duration of the flu, and they can also help to reduce the severity of symptoms. However, they do come with some potential side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s important to talk to your doctor about whether or not these medications are right for your child.
Paracetamol is a medication that is used to relieve pain and fever. It works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that are responsible for pain and inflammation. Paracetamol is available over-the-counter and is often used as a first-line treatment for mild pain and fever. However, it is important to note that paracetamol can cause serious liver damage if it is taken in large doses or if it is taken for extended periods of time. Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and only take the recommended dose.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medication that is commonly used to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are hormones that play a role in pain and inflammation.
There are many different types of NSAIDs available, including over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. Some common OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Prescription NSAIDs include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), and indomethacin (Indocin).
NSAIDs are generally safe and effective medications, but they can cause side effects such as stomach upset, bleeding, and kidney problems. If you have any concerns about taking an NSAID, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.
What Are Some Tips for Managing Shingles Pain?
Shingles can be quite debilitating, and there are many things people can do to ease their pain. Here are some tips to help manage shingles pain:
- Use over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and fever.
- Seek medical attention if your shingles is causing severe headache, dizziness, blurred vision, seizures, or extreme fatigue.
- Apply a cool compress to the affected area.
- Apply a topical cream or ointment to the affected area.
- Keep the affected area clean and dry.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating the skin.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep to help your body heal.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and help your body fight off the infection
How Can Shingles Be Prevented?
There are several ways to prevent shingles. The most important way is to get vaccinated against chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before, you’re already immune to it so you won’t get shingles from that exposure.
You can also reduce your chances of getting shingles by avoiding close contact with people who have chickenpox or by using condoms if you’re sexually active with someone who has had chickenpox. Taking antiviral medications may also help protect against this disease; however, there’s not always enough evidence yet to show whether they work well enough for widespread use. Finally, taking painkillers such as ibuprofen may help relieve the symptoms of shingles.
When Should Someone See a Doctor for Shingles?
If you’ve had a severe rash for more than seven days and it has not improved, see a doctor.
You should always consult your doctor if you develop any unusual symptoms, such as fever, headache, or chest pain.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you develop redness, pain on one side of the face (especially near the eye), or sensitivity to light.
What Are the Complications of Shingles?
Complications of shingles can be serious, so it’s important to seek medical help if you experience them.
The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). This is a condition that causes pain to persist even after the rash has healed. Other possible complications include:
- Skin infections
- Eye problems
To avoid these complications, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you think you may have shingles. Early treatment can help shorten the duration of the illness and reduce your risk of developing PHN or other complications.
What Is the Prognosis for Shingles?
The prognosis for shingles is good. The majority of people who experience shingles have mild cases and do not require any medical attention. However, some people may experience complications such as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is a long-term pain after the shingles rash has healed.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles outbreaks are often contagious and can be spread from person to person through close contact with blisters or lesions. Although shingles is not normally deadly, it can be very unpleasant and debilitating if not treated properly.
How Long Are You Contagious If You Have Shingles?
If you have shingles, you are contagious for about two weeks after your rash has healed. During that time, you may be more likely to catch other infections.
Shingles usually starts as a band of blisters on one side of your torso or face. The blisters fill with fluid and then break open and crust over. You may also experience fever, headache, chills, and fatigue. The rash usually lasts two to four weeks.
You are most contagious during the blister phase of the rash. Once the blisters have crusted over, you are no longer contagious.
Natural Remedies for Shingles
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils are natural compounds extracted from plants. They have a wide range of uses, from aromatherapy to skin care.
There are many ways to use essential oils. You can add them to your bathwater, diffuse them in your home, or apply them topically to your skin.
Essential oils are a safe and effective way to improve your health and well-being. However, it’s important to choose the right oil for your needs and to use them safely.
2. Cold Compresses
A cold compress is a simple and effective way to reduce swelling and pain. To make a cold compress, simply wrap ice in a clean cloth or towel and apply it to the affected area. You can also use a frozen bag of peas or corn.
The benefits of using a cold compress include:
- Reducing inflammation
- Relieving pain
- Decreasing swelling
- Speeding up healing
3. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a very popular home remedy for a variety of conditions, including hemorrhoids.
The active ingredient in witch hazel is tannin, which has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an effective treatment for hemorrhoids.
To use witch hazel for hemorrhoids, soak a cotton ball or pad in the liquid and apply it to the affected area up to three times per day. You can also find witch hazel in medicated wipes or ointments.
4. Cool Baths
A cool bath can be a great way to relieve stress and tension, and it can also help to improve circulation and soothe sore muscles. Adding some soothing aromatherapy or a few drops of lavender oil to your bath can also help you to relax.
5. Oat Baths
Oat baths are a great way to soothe and relax the body, as well as provide some relief from conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The oats help to draw out impurities from the skin and leave it feeling soft and silky.
To make an oat bath, simply add 1-2 cups of oats to a tub of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to the bath for additional relaxation.
6. Gentiana Scabra
Gentiana scabra is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb. It has been used to treat various ailments for centuries. Modern research has shown that it has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Gentiana scabra is traditionally used to treat stomach and intestinal disorders, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. It is also used to treat respiratory disorders, such as bronchitis and asthma. Additionally, Gentiana scabra is sometimes used as a liver tonic and to improve circulation.
The active compounds in Gentiana scabra are thought to be gentiopicroside and swertiamarin. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects in vitro (in test tubes). However, more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
Diet plays an important role in our overall health and well-being. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent and treat many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
There are many different types of diets that people can follow for good health. Some common diet recommendations include eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less saturated fat and sugar, and choosing whole grains over processed grains.
People should also make sure to get enough protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water in their diet. Everyone’s needs are different based on their age, activity level, and overall health. It’s important to talk with a doctor or registered dietitian to figure out what type of diet is best for you.
8. Vitamin Supplements
Vitamins are essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. They play important roles in many different processes, including metabolism, cell growth and repair, and brain function. While we can get some vitamins from the foods we eat, many people also take vitamin supplements to ensure they’re getting enough of these vital nutrients.
9. Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and quitting smoking is notoriously difficult. However, there are a number of natural remedies that can help smokers to quit.
One popular natural remedy for quitting smoking is acupuncture. Acupuncture involves placing needles in specific points on the body, which can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Another popular option is hypnosis. Hypnosis can help to change your mindset about smoking, making it easier to quit.
There are also a number of herbal remedies that can help with quitting smoking. These include herbs such as lobelia and St. John’s wort, which can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
10. Reduce Stress
There are many natural remedies that can help to reduce stress. Some of these include:
- Exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It helps to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
- Meditation: Meditation can help to calm the mind and body, and has been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and aromatherapy can all help to reduce stress levels.
- Herbal supplements: There are many herbal supplements that can help to reduce stress levels, such as chamomile or lavender tea, passionflower extract, and magnesium supplements.
Treat Your Body And Mind
Next in Shingles Treatment
There are a few things that can be done to help speed up boost your immune system and prevent health complications such as shingles. Some lifestyle tips to elevate your immune levels include:
- Get regular massages.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness.
How to Boost Your Immunity
Boosting your immunity can help you fight diseases and conditions such as shingles that are caused by viruses. Here are a few tips on how you can elevate your lifestyle to boost your immunity.
- Get enough sleep: Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
- Eat healthily: Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and overall health. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
- Take breaks during the day: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Take a hot bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk outdoors.
- Connect with loved ones: Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress and promote positive emotions. Whether you stay in touch via text, social media, or in person, quality time with those you care about is crucial for a healthy mind and body