Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
is a disease caused by an acute viral infection of the
central nervous system. It affects areas of the skin.
three to four days before skin outbreaks occur, symptoms
of fatigue, fever, chills, and, sometimes, gastrointestinal
upset, start to manifest, followed by the affected area
of the skin becoming sensitive to touch. Then small,
crusty, painful blisters erupt along a nerve path so
that the reddened outbreak affects a strip of skin,
forming a line. This most commonly occurs over the ribs
in the thoracic area and is usually limited to one side
of the body. In rare cases, shingles can also affect
the lower part of the body or the face. During shingles
outbreaks the pain can be severe, but the eruptions
usually heal within five days without further complications.
In some people, however, especially the elderly, pain
can last for months and even years, and be recurring.
can be due to chicken pox (in children), pleurisy, Bell's
palsy, herpes simplex, appendicitis, colic, gallstones,
colitis, trigeminal neuralgia, or contact dermatitis.
All of these conditions must be screened for and, if
present, properly treated to provide lasting relief
Shingles eruptions that last longer than two
weeks can be a sign of underlying immune problems or
cancer (particularly Hodgkin's disease), and therefore
require immediate medical attention. In addition, see
an ophthalmologist immediately if herpes zoster occurs
near the eyes or on the forehead, as it can cause blindness.
Eat an organic, whole foods diet that emphasizes
fresh fruits and vegetables and minimizes carbohydrates
(avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars altogether).
At the first sign of outbreak, apply zinc oxide along
the path of the affected nerve area two to three times
daily. Other helpful nutrients include L-lysine, vitamin
B complex, vitamin B12, calcium, and high doses of vitamin
C plus bioflavonoids. Topical application of vitamin
E can also be helpful.
Massage the essential oils of lemon, geranium,
bergamot, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, or chamomile
along the affected area.
Combine equal parts of oat straw, St. John's
wort, and skullcap tinctures and take one teaspoon of
this mixture four times a day. Peppermint oil applied
topically can also help reduce pain, unless the skin
is excessively dry, in which case it is contraindicated.
Useful homeopathic remedies include Arsen
alb., Rhus tox., Sepia, Natrum mur., Hepar sulph., Caladium,and
Soak in bath of water at body temperature
for 30-60 minutes.
Drink carrot and celery juice with one tablespoon
of parsley juice once or twice each day.
Apply apple cider vinegar to the affected area.
If your symptoms persist despite the above measures,
seek the help of a qualified health professional.
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