Symptoms Of Shingles, Medical And Natural Treatment Methods
A part of the body that could show symptoms of shingles could be just the left or right part. This condition begins with a rash looking like clusters of blisters. Older people as well as those with compromised immune system are at risk in developing this condition. This could even result in complications which include nervous system issues, vision loss and nerve fiber damage. This can get very painful.
What Triggers Shingles?
The varicella-zoster virus is the culprit for shingles. This is the very virus that also causes chickenpox. A patient who recovers from chickenpox will have the dormant virus inside his body for the rest of his life. In some people, though, this virus is activated and even goes to the skin’s nerves. This eventually develops into shingles.
People who have not had a vaccine against chickenpox could contract the disease and eventually suffer from shingles.
Experts have yet to discover the cause for the virus’ activation. It is speculated, though, that low immunity could be a huge factor. Note that the virus is a part of the genus Herpes virus so it can also be referred to as herpes zoster.
Who else is at risk in developing the symptoms of shingles? Here is a list of people who might develop it –
- People who are constantly under a great deal of stress
- People who have experienced a traumatic incident
- People with a weakened immune system such as those with HIV or cancer
- People who are older than 50
Symptoms are often itching, a shooting or stabbing pain, tingling feeling in your skin, redness on the affected area, chills, headaches, even high temperature.
After just a few days, the rash shows up as a patch or band of raised, watery dots often on just one side of your body. This rash can appear on your waistline, on one side of your torso or your face. Depending on the nerves that have been affected, the blisters can spread and appear on different parts of the body as well. This is a condition that eventually develops into round, fluid-filled, red, painful blisters. These blisters will dry out in a few weeks.
The scabs show on the 10th or 12th day. There are some cases where the blisters or rash are not even painful. The rashes tend to disappear as the scabs fall off in about 2-3 weeks. Scarring might result.
There are a few patients that even develop postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. This is a condition where the spot remains painful even after the rash is long gone. About 15% of shingles patients develop PHN. This is most common among those aged 50 and older.
The shingles can be diagnosed by a doctor based on the way the rash currently looks. The rash should appear on just one side of the body. The doctor could also scrape or swab the fluid and have the liquid analyzed in a lab.
Treatment or Cure?
There isn’t a single cure for shingles but there are several treatments for this painful condition. The medicines are supposed to provide alleviation from any discomfort or pain. The treatments also help in healing the rash and blisters.
Antiviral meds like Aciclovir, vlaciclovir, and famciclovir can help in easing the discomfort brought about by the illness. It can also reduce the symptom duration. In many cases, the antiviral medication is started within the 72-hour timeframe right after the initial sign of shingles.
Doctors may also offer painkillers to relieve the pain. Paracetamol and other over-the-counter medications are often effective in providing relief for mild pain. Severe cases of pain could require narcotic painkillers or prescription NSAIDs. A few cases ask for corticosteroid prescription to ease the inflammation, pain, discomfort, itching and redness.
If you want to walk the path of natural healing, then you can also consider other treatments. First among the natural methods is to take a cool bath. Cool water is an effective element that eases discomfort and pain. Just linger in the bathtub for several minutes then be sure to dry your skin completely as you finish. Just make sure that the water isn’t too cold or your skin would feel more painful.
Using a wet compress can also help. In easing irritation and pain. Just soak a towel in cool water then wring it out. Apply the compress to the rash for several minutes. Never use ice packs or reuse towels that have already come in contact with the rash. Be sure to wash towels so that the virus will not be passed on to someone else.
Natural topical medications can also help reduce the symptoms of shingles. Be sure to steer clear of perfumed lotions, find the ones with calamine and other soothing ingredients. Wash your hands after applying the medication so that you won’t transmit the virus to other people.