All you wanted to was roll out of bed and enjoy your retirement. Instead, you wake up to find your skin all red, irritated and bumpy. This is a rash known as shingles, but what are they? Are they deadly? Read this article to learn more about shingles and how to treat them.
What is shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is commonly known as a “one-two punch infection”. This is because it correlates with chickenpox. If you’re worried about dying from shingles, you have nothing to fear because shingles rarely kill people. If you had chickenpox in your younger years, this is how you would “contract” shingles. The reason for this is because they are a part of the same exact virus. The symptoms of shingles are also the same as chickenpox.
The symptoms of shingles include:
- Sensitive to touch
- Blister with fluid that can break open and make your skin crust
There are other symptoms include fevers and headaches, but these are rare. The first sign of shingles is usually pain however, some people can experience it without ever developing a rash.
How to Treat Shingles
While there may not be a direct cure to shingles or chickenpox, it can be treated using a variety of natural methods that doesn’t include any medication whatsoever.
These methods include:
Healing Baths – Taking a cool bath will help prevent the blisters from spreading. The fluids within them is how the infection will get around. Make sure to add a cup or two of colloidal cornstarch and do not use hot or warm water as it increases your blood flow as well as irritating the blister even further.
Cool Compresses – In correlation with the bath, apply a cool, wet washcloth to further reduce the itchiness and pain. Doing this multiple times a day can really help in the long run. It’s also worth noting to never put an ice pack on the rash because can increase the sensitivity even further and make the pain worse
Lotions – The itchiness can become somewhat unbearable even after the bath and compresses. Whatever you do, do not scratch the rash because the skin will become more irritated. Using gentle lotion might just do the trick. Make sure you use lotion with capsaicin, which has an inflammatory effect. You may experience some pain but it’ll fade after a few minutes.
Changing Your Diet – It’s no secret that when you get older, your health will start to decline. This goes for your immune system as well. If you have a weak immune system, the shingles will get worse. However, consuming foods like chicken, leafy greens, whole grains and orange fruits will strengthen your immune system. This will help prevent the shingles from spreading throughout your body.
Taking Preventative Measures
While there may not be a cure for shingles should contract them, there is a way to prevent them. You can prevent shingles by getting a vaccine known as Zostavax. It’s important to note that a vaccine isn’t guaranteed to prevent shingles, however, it will greatly reduce the chances of contracting them. However, with all vaccines, there are some side effects to watch out for.
The side effects of Zostavax include:
The dangers of Zostavax are much worse than the side effects and some people had to find that out the hard way.
Never get the vaccine if you had one or more of these factors:
- If you had a severe reaction to Shingrix
- If you currently have shingles
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- If you had a negative result for the zoster virus
It’s always important to make sure you are in perfect health, especially when you get older. Maintaining your health as an elder can be a bit tedious, but in the long run, it’s more than worth it.