If you wake up and find you have painful or extremely itchy lesions across your face or body, you may be diagnosed with shingles (herpes zoster). This is a viral infection that typically looks like a single stripe. Shingles predominately affects the skin. However, it can affect the eyes in some cases too.
While it is essential to visit your GP for treatment, there are home remedies and natural treatments you may want to consider looking into as they could relieve symptoms. It must be noted that the following aren’t medical treatments but could provide some solace.
For many years, people have sworn by essential oils for skin conditions. Some of them include properties that could potentially help with skin irritation, which is a common symptom of shingles. Some of the essential oils include chamomile oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. Before you go down this route, you need to be aware that pure essential oils can bring on an allergic reaction. Therefore, always conduct a patch test before trying them out.
If you have any sores and blisters, you need to do what you can to keep them clean. This will lower the risk of infection. One way to do this is by taking a cool shower or bath each day, with minimal scrubbing. Cool water can also help in relieving itchy and sore spots. What’s more, cool water will help prevent scratching. If you do scratch, this can lead to permanent scarring. Before climbing in the bath, be careful of what gels and creams you use. Some can cause further irritation and soreness. Patient have a guide that explains other general measures you can take to treat shingles. They have guides on a wide variety of health conditions and skin diseases.
Holding a cool compress or cloth against the rash site may help in relieving itchiness and lowering inflammation. Soak a natural cotton towel or cloth lightly with cool water before wringing it out. Once you have done this, place on any sore or itchy areas. You may need to repeat this step to find relief. Make sure not to expose your skin to extreme temperatures. Avoid using very hot water or ice baths as this could cause further irritation and discomfort. If you use hot water, this will increase blood flow and may slow down the healing of sores. Using ice can increase skin sensitivity too.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Creating a paste using bicarbonate of soda and water can be a big help in naturally relieving itching brought on by a shingles rash. Simply our two parts bicarbonate of soda into a cup. Follow this with one part water and you’ll be left with the perfect consistency for the paste. Next, apply the mixture to the affected area. Leave this on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off. Make sure to repeat these steps several times a day if you are still experiencing discomfort. Bicarbonate of soda has an array of other health benefits too. It’s believed bicarbonate of soda may help treat heartburn, improve exercise performance, and even improve certain cancer treatments.
For those who have a weakened immune system, this can make shingles symptoms worse. The good news is there is something you can do about it. Making changes to your diet can quickly boost your immune system and stop shingles from spreading to other areas of your body. Now is the time to pay closer attention to what is on your plate. It’s good to include foods packed with vitamins A, B-12, and C into your diet. Foods that promote healing include red meat, eggs, chicken, and leafy green vegetables. As you cope with the implications of shingles, you may crave comfort foods. Although, there are certain foods you must avoid during this time. These include juices and food with high levels of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Those who live a healthy, active life shouldn’t need to take supplements. Although, for those who are immune-compromised and susceptible to shingles should consider taking supplements. These are great for maintaining good health and strong immunity. Taking magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C supplements can help in improving immunity in older adults. Make sure you do not take high doses of minerals and vitamins. This is because they can end up doing more harm than good.
Something as simple as relaxing your mind and body can be a major help when navigating shingles. With a calmer mind, you’ll find it easier to handle your discomfort. Most cases of shingles last between 2 and 4 weeks. During this time, you may benefit from going for walks, trying yoga exercises, and meditating. All three may help in lowering stress and discomfort.
While there is no cure for shingles, there is treatment available that can be used to relieve symptoms alongside those listed above. Like with any other virus, make sure you factor in plenty of time to rest and eat well. Both of these will help speed up the recovery process.