What is shingles?
Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Everyone who has had chickenpox can later get shingles.
After a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in certain nerve cells and if reactivated, it causes shingles. Certain researches have shown that approximately 20% of people who have had chickenpox are at risk of developing herpes zoster, also known as shingles. Most people get this virus only once during a lifetime.
What is the cause of shingles?
It has not been entirely clarified which factors make the virus reactivate from the idle state so far. Transient weakness of the immune system may cause the multiplication and spread of the virus through the nerves to the skin surface. An illness, trauma and stress can also lead to the emergence of the disease.
The early symptoms of shingles
Fever, flu and general fatigue are most common early symptoms of shingles, which are very similar to the flu-like symptoms, but can also be easily confused with heart attack and brain tumor symptoms or other serious conditions.
About a week after the first symptoms occur, a straight line of red, itchy blisters appears along the sensitive nerves attacked by the virus. These blisters often appear above the waist and in only one side of the body.
The most common affected areas
The blisters are typically located in: ribs, lower back, chest, neck, forehead or eyes, depending on the affected nerve ganglion. The rash soon becomes a cluster of bubbles or water blisters. Approximately ten days later, the bubbles begin to dry up and fall off, in many cases leaving scars and long-lasting pain as a reminder of shingles.
How does shingles occur?
After having chickenpox, usually in early childhood, our immune system does not completely cleanse the body of the virus varicella – zoster. The virus travels to a remote nerve center (researchers believe that the center is located in the pelvis or skull area) and remains there inactive, until some circumstances make the virus reactivate and attack the body again. This often happens years later.
Medical researchers have almost certainly shown that the herpes virus (varicella – zoster) which causes shingles is actually the same, highly contagious virus that causes chickenpox. This explains why someone who has shingles can infect some other person, usually a child, with chickenpox. However, in order to get infected with shingles, we must first get over chickenpox.
If the infection spreads to the eyes it can seriously affect your vision and can even cause blindness, but in very rare cases. Therefore, it is advisable to visit an ophthalmologist as soon as you notice that the infection has reached your face. If you begin with treatments at an early stage, the chances to prevent serious complications are high.
Although shingles is a very serious disease it is rarely life-threatening. But when you get one, prepare yourself for a few weeks of constant pain. Duration of the disease in most cases ranges from seven to ten days, although it can sometimes last up to four weeks before the rash does not heal completely.
Home natural remedies for shingles
Garlic and honey
• Grate 3 larger garlic cloves and mix it with 100 g of honey.
• Apply the mixture to the affected skin area.
• Repeat this process once a day for a week, or until the infection heals completely.
• Drink propolis tincture each day in order to strengthen your immunity.
• Also, it is advisable to use propolis extract for the treatment of shingles. Apply it to the affected skin, several times a day.
• Apply the oil to the affected skin areas, 4 times a day.
• You can get it from any health food store.
Colloidal silver compress
Colloidal silver has anti-viral properties.
• Soak a piece of cheesecloth in colloidal silver and wring out the excess.
• Apply the compresses to the affected skin area every day for a week.
Baking soda and salt
• Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt and add water.
• Stir until the mass becomes uniform.
• Apply this mixture to the affected area, with a clean cotton pad.
• Take 1 tablespoon of buckwheat flour and pour 2 cups of boiling water over it.
• When it cools down, apply it to the affected skin areas 2 to 3 times a day.
• Take a few aloe Vera leaves, cut them lengthwise and apply them to the affected skin areas.
• Wrap it with elastic bandage to hold it in place.
• Leave it overnight. You can repeat this routine for several days, until you start seeing improvement.
• Take 1 tablespoon of dried mint leaves and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it.
• Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit for 30 more minutes.
• Strain the tea and apply it to the affected areas.
• It is also advisable to drink the mint tea during this therapy.
Additional tips – Strengthen your immunity:
• Drink Echinacea tea
• Eat plenty of garlic
• Drink liquorice tea
• Drink ginseng tablets
• Eat plenty of ginger
• Eat Japanese mushrooms: maitake, reishi, shiitake
• Consume 200 mg of vitamin C, 5-6 times a day