The virus varicella-zoster that causes chickenpox is also responsible for causing shingles. It is a viral infection that causes painful rashes on the skin. Usually, those who have been infected with chickenpox are more likely to acquire shingles. It appears as a stripe of blisters typically on the neck, face, or torso. In most cases, shingles take two to three weeks to clear up. Usually, if a person gets shingles once, it rarely happens again. According to various medial study reports, shingles is so common in the country that it affects almost one in the three people at some point in their lifetime. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms of this viral infection along with the ways of how to treat shingles.
Symptoms of Shingles
The most common symptom of this viral infection is burning and pain. It can be a constant gnawing, stabbing, or sharp pain that comes and goes. Along with this pain, the affected person may experience blistering skin rash. The characteristics of the rashes may include
- red patches,
- rashes on the ears and face,
- rashes wrapped around the torso starting from the spine, and
- blisters filled with fluid that breaks out easily.
Some shingles-affected patients can experience symptoms beyond these rashes and pain. Some of these symptoms are
- muscle weakness, and
- sensitivity to light.
Other than all these abovementioned signs and symptoms of shingles, it can involve some rare as well as serious complications. Intense pain in one of the ears or loss of hearing, loss of taste on the taste buds, dizziness etc. All these can be the symptoms of the Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Rashes and pain, which involve the eye. To avert permanent damage of the eye, it is important to know how to treat shingles.
Usually, those who are in their 60s or are older and are suffering from diseases that involve radiation treatment or chemotherapy and consuming medicines that weaken the immune system are more likely to get shingles.
How to Treat Shingles
If you are wondering how to treat shingles and get rid of this painful viral infection, you should know that until now, no cure for this is available. The treatment involves antiviral medications prescribed by your doctor to help in shortening the duration of the viral attack and reducing the intensity of the symptoms. Other than the antiviral medication, some natural remedies are available to reduce the discomfort and pain.
- Healing Bath
To reduce the risk of infection spreading, you can clean the blisters daily. Taking a cool shower or bath is a good option to soothe the skin. Also, you can pour 1 cup to 2 cups of cornstarch or colloidal oatmeal into the lukewarm bathwater. Then soak for around 20 minutes. When you are done, dry the body completely. This healing bath is quite effective in soothing the itching and burning skin.
- Cornstarch and Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste by mixing baking soda or cornstarch with water. Then, apply the paste on the infected part of the skin and the rashes. After 15 minutes, rinse the paste off. Applying this paste for quite a few times in a day is an effective answer to how to treat shingles.
- Dietary Remedies
Having a weakened immune system worsens the symptoms of shingles. A few healthy changes in the diet can help in strengthening the immune system and preventing this viral infection to spread further. Add foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin B-12, A, E, and C. Also, foods containing amino acids and lysine promote healing. Leafy green vegetables, eggs, red meat, yellow and orange fruits, whole grains, chicken, dairy products, wild-caught fish, spinach, legumes, tomatoes, beans etc. are part of a shingles diet.
Try to avoid foods containing high saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, arginine (gelatin, nuts, and chocolate), high amounts of sugar.
- Soothing Creams and Lotions
Applying soothing creams and lotions is another effective answer if you don’t know how to treat shingles. Scratching the rashes can prolong blisters and scarring. Well, these creams and lotions do not augment the healing process, but the application of these creams and lotions can give you instant comfort and temporary relief. Try to avoid perfumed or scented lotions as they may cause further irritation. It will be better if you can use any lotion or cream containing capsaicin, which is a natural ingredient that offers anti-inflammatory effects to ease the pain. Also, some herbal or homeopathic remedies are available to heal this viral skin infection.
Following any one of the above options can help one who does not know how to treat shingles. However, it is advisable to consult a medical expert before taking any medication or supplement as these might have several side effects. Consider taking the medications only under doctor’s guidance.