Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is an infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated one million cases of shingles occur in the United States every year.
The varicella zoster virus also causes chicken pox. When a person gets chicken pox, the virus remains dormant in the nerve tissues of the body even after treatment. Shingles occurs when the virus gets reactivated. It is not yet known what causes the virus to reactivate.
Anyone who had chickenpox can get shingles. The elderly and those who had chickenpox before one year of age are at higher risk. Also, people with weak immune systems and those suffering from health conditions like cancer, lymphoma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and leukemia are at higher risk of shingles.
The main characteristic of shingles is a red skin rash with pain and burning sensation. The rash is usually on one side of the body and occurs in small patches mostly on the trunk, buttocks or face.
The rash can be very itchy and can develop into blisters. Other symptoms of shingles are headache, fever, body pain, fatigue and sensitivity to light.
Shingles can clear up on its own in about three to four weeks. There are antiviral medications that are very effective for treating shingles. You can also use some natural home remedies to help ease the discomfort of shingles and possibly speed up the healing process.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for shingles.
Cold water can help control the pain from blisters. It can also help ease itching and irritation.
Note: Do not use ice packs or water that is too cold. Also, make sure to wash any used towels to prevent spreading the virus.
The anti-irritating and soothing properties of oatmeal can give you much relief from the irritation, pain and constant itchiness associated with shingles.
Apple cider vinegar is another very effective remedy for shingles. It will help dry out the sores and stop the itching. Being a natural disinfectant and antiviral, it will also speed up the recovery process.
Due to its soothing and cooling properties, aloe vera is also considered an excellent home remedy for shingles. It can soothe the affected skin, reduce pain and itching, and speed up the healing process.
Licorice contains several antiviral and immune-boosting compounds that help in the treatment of shingles.
Garlic is one of the strongest antiviral foods available and a great home treatment for shingles.
Honey is a good remedy to treat the blisters associated with shingles. The healing and skin-reviving properties of honey will help clear up the blisters as well as relieve pain and irritation.
Pure virgin coconut oil has anti-inflammatory as well as antiviral properties that help treat shingles.
Lemon balm has polyphenols that give this herb its antiviral property. Lemon balm can help get rid of the pain and discomfort from blisters and rashes.
Sea salt has antiseptic properties, and hence it will help treat shingles naturally. Sea salt will help dry up the blisters quickly for faster recovery.
Along with these remedies, you need to follow certain precautionary measures, including:
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