Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Skin Health- 8 Home Treatments for Shingles

What is Shingles?
 
Shingles
Do you or someone you love have shingles? I have heard of shingles of course as a health nut but had never seen the effects of the illness. It wasn't until one of my relatives and a close friend were diagnosed with shingles that I learned some interesting facts about this horrible virus.

Shingles is an extremely painful skin rash. It is mostly common in adults over the age of 50 and people that have weak immune systems. The actual cause is "varicella zoster virus" which comes out in the form of "chickenpox" originally. Once your bout with the chickenpox is over you feel as if you've been cured. But guess what, this virus intends on hanging around perhaps for years or forever and may never become active again. However, it "sleeps" or stays in a dormant stage in your nerve roots whether it becomes active or not it's there. Imagine that living inside of you until it wants to come back.

For some people, the virus will stay dormant forever. However, unfortunately for some people the virus becomes active again when disease, stress or aging weakens the immune system. If the symptoms continue for long periods of time it is considered "postherpetic neuralgia". I've seen this stage of shingles once and it was horrible.

There are some cases documented where some medications can "wake up" the virus and cause the shingles rash. One characteristic of shingles you must understand is that once the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles not another fight with chickenpox. It's really not clear why this occurs with some medications and why the virus will become active again only in the form of shingles. 


Chickenpox
There is a distinct difference in chickenpox and shingles which is that you can't catch shingles from someone infected however you can catch chickenpox. There have been some incidents where shingles was spread to another person who hadn't had chickenpox and hadn't had the chickenpox vaccine.
 

What are the symptoms?
 

Now that you know a little more about this painful virus, let's talk about the symptoms. There are several distinct symptoms and patterns to shingles. In the initial stage you may have a headache, sensitivity to light and feel like you have the flu without a fever. 

OMG this itch!
op in the area a few days later. The rash will then turn into clusters of blisters in the same area of the previous symptoms. The blisters will fill with fluid like water blisters and then crust over. The blisters will take from 2-4 weeks to heal but they may leave scars. There are some people that get a mild rash and some don't get a rash at all.

You can also feel dizzy, weak & can have pain or the rash for a long time. An interesting symptom is that it can affect how well you think! It's amazing how this virus can actually affect your thought process or brain. The rash can spread to other parts of your body as well.

How is Shingles Treated? 


The main treatment of choice is medication, antiviral medicines and medicines for pain. Remember to always see your physician for any medical problems you may be having. Once your physician confirms you have shingles a treatment plan can be developed for you. I would like to give you the top 8 home treatments that may reduce the amount of time the shingles is active and pain. 
  • Don't pick or scratch the blisters. They itch so you may want to scratch but it will only disrupt the virus and healing process.
  • Use cool, moist compresses. This helps cool the area because with the shingles rash you will feel some heat in the area of the outbreak.
  • An old remedy used back in the day for many skin problems is cornstarch or baking soda. In fact, a friend of mine uses baking soda for cold         sores and it clears it up almost overnight! You will want to apply the baking soda or cornstarch after you've applied a wet compress.
  • Soak the crusted sores in tap water or Burow's solution. This will clean away the crusts, decrease the oozing, dry and soothe the skin.
  • Topical creams can be used to relieve the inflammation. Ask your doctor before applying any topical creams.
  • If your skin becomes infected, you will need to alert your physician and ask about prescription antibiotic creams or ointments.
  • Use medicines prescribed by your physician for shingles or postherpetic neuralgia correctly and consistently.
  • Shingles is very painful so use of nonprescription pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen will help during a shingles attack.

Well there you have it! This is one skin problem I hope you know a little more about and it may help you detect a possible issue you may be having. In conclusion; you must go to your physician if you have any of the symptoms and determine if in fact you have shingles as early as possible.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another skin problem. I'm focusing on skin problems this week. As my previous post revealed that "skin" is the largest organ in our body! Being healthy does include your skin. Hope this article helped you understand what shingles is and some top home treatments to help you in your fight for relief from shingles symptoms. For more information regarding shingles click here.

To find out how you can turn back the hands of time and get healthy skin, click here.

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