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Common Diseases > Shingles


Shingles is caused by a virus called herpes zoster, a normally dormant form of the virus 'varicella zoster' which causes chickenpox.

While Chickenpox is very common in children and usually only causes mild illness. Once someone has had chickenpox, they are immune to further infection. However, the virus remains in the body for life.

Normally, the varicella virus lies dormant and does not cause any further health problems. But if the immune system, which normally protects the body against infection, is weakened the virus can reactivate and cause shingles, which are experienced as a painful rash of small blisters that typically appear on the body and are often crusty in appearance, often appearing on the chest and back.

In the initial stages of shingles, they are experienced as a mild itching or tingling feeling which if left untreated result in increasing sharp, aching, or stabbing pains to the extent sufferers can't even bear the feel of clothes and at its worst, shingles can appear on the face where there is a danger of them causing blindness and anyone with shingles is very contagious to anyone who has not had chickenpox, however, shingles itself is not contagious.

An episode of shingles is a sign of imbalance and a weak immune system. In this condition, the body is vulnerable to many diseases.

Treatments

Generally antiviral and pain medications are prescribed for the control of symptoms and the affected area showing kept covered and dry.

Doctors may prescribe treatment with Famvir, Zovirax (aciclovir) creams or Valtrex tablets which do not work for all the patients, but generally if treatment if taken up within 72 hours of the first appearance of symptoms, they often reduce the severity of an outbreak.

Holistic treatment recognises a weakened immune system and recommends nutrition and exercise to improve general health and often prescribes silver cream and other herbal preparations to relieve the rash and discomfort.

1st Aide at Home
Apply cold moist dressings to the affected area.  (coolness is soothing & heat is irritating, so avoid heat, tight clothes and fabrics like wool.)
Apply silver cream
Apply calamine lotion
Apply lysine cream
Take vitamin E and C, apply vitamin E (as an oil) to the affected area.
 




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All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended
to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose,
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While attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information,
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ęCopyright 2014 The Health Information Network