The red, painful rash and blisters that are indicative of shingles are caused by a virus that has been in your body since your childhood bout of chicken pox.
So what exactly is shingles? And can I be taught how to treat shingles naturally?
Of course you can. Let’s find out more –
What is the Shingles Virus?
In order to treat shingles naturally, it helps to know what you’re dealing with.
Shingles is the same viral infection that causes chickenpox. Once the chickenpox has run its course, instead of dying, the virus goes dormant in your body.
For some people, that’s the end of it. However, for other people, the virus will eventually come out of the dormant state and reactivate.
When this happens, you develop the tell-tale rash and discomfort that means shingles.
No one is sure why shingles develops in some people but not in others. However, there are two factors that seem to come into play in predicting a shingles outbreak:
- Shingles tends to show up in older people. While some children develop shingles, it’s mostly seen in older people. In fact, 50% of all shingles outbreaks occur in people over 60 years old.
- Immune system plays a role in a shingles outbreak. If your immune system is weakened or compromised due to age, illness, or other reasons, your risk of developing shingles is greater.
Identification and Diagnosis of Shingles
You can develop a rash for so many reasons – so, how are you supposed to know if you’re dealing with shingles?
After all, in order to treat shingles, you have to have shingles.
First, since the virus spreads along nerve paths, it often starts with burning, tingling, even itching where the rash will eventually develop.
For some people, it’s an annoying warning symptom. For others, it’s extreme pain and skin sensitivity.
Many people also experience other, flu-like symptoms, including (but not limited to) headache, fever, chills, body aches, and malaise.
Once the rash develops, it’s identified by clusters of red patches that develop into blisters. Not surprisingly, they often resemble chicken pox.
These blisters will eventually break open and crust over.
It’s important to know that shingles is contagious under the right circumstances.
While it cannot be passed through sneezing or coughing, direct contact with the rash or fluid contained in the blisters can spread shingles. However, once the rash has dried up, it’s no longer contagious.
The Nitty Gritty – How to Treat Shingles Naturally
So, okay. You and your doctor have officially identified it as shingles. But knowing what it is doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable.
Now it’s time to find out how to treat shingles naturally, so you can get back to your life.
That’s where these five natural treatments for shingles come in –
Soak in a cool tub. This is especially helpful if you’re treating the shingles rash on your torso or lower body, rather than on your head and neck. Run a cool – but not cold – bath and soak for several minutes. Make sure the temperature isn’t so warm that you aggravate the blisters, but not so cold that you cause your skin to react to the chill. Either can cause more pain. Dry thoroughly, but gently, when you’re out of the tub, and be sure to wash any towels that came in contact with the blisters in hot water.
Make it a healing tub. Tap water is often an effective, natural treatment for shingles, but if you’re looking for something more soothing, try adding colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm tub. It’s good for relieving itching, flaking, and other skin conditions. You can buy colloidal oatmeal or make your own. Either works just as well.
Use a wet compress. If you don’t care for baths, or your rash is somewhere difficult to soak, there’s still a natural way to treat shingles for you, too. Soak a towel in cool water, ring it out, and apply it directly to the rash. Be careful not to rub or intentionally break open the sores. Just let the cool water soothe the discomfort. Do not use an ice pack or heating pad, however. When you’re done, be sure to wash the towels in hot water.
Apply the right lotion. Your instinct may be to apply a lotion to the rash. If you choose the right lotion, that can be helpful. Avoid anything with harsh chemicals or strong perfumes. Instead, use a lotion that’s meant for healing, such as calamine lotion. This can feel especially nice when you apply the lotion after a tub or using a compress. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done. If someone else has to apply the lotion for you, have them wear disposable latex gloves and wash their hands well afterward also.
Sprinkle for soothing. Corn starch or baking soda are helpful ways to treat shingles naturally. Sprinkle either one of them like powder on the rash and it will help the blisters dry and heal faster. Use pure corn starch or baking soda, though. Avoid perfumed talcum or body powdered.
Shingles and the associated rash can be a painful, frustrating condition. But there are ways to treat shingles, naturally and effectively.
So talk to your doctor and together, you can come up with a treatment plan that has you feeling better – naturally – in no time.