Most people have Chickenpox in childhood, but after the illness has gone the varicella-zoster virus remains inactive (dormant) in the nervous system.
The immune system keeps the virus in check, but it can be reactivated later in life and cause Shingles.
It’s possible to have Shingles more than once, but it’s very rare to get it more than twice.
Most cases are thought to be caused by having lowered immunity, and thus lowered protection against infections and diseases.
This May be the Result of:
- old age – as you age, your immunity declines
- physical and emotional stress – the chemicals released by your body when you’re stressed can lower your immune function
- HIV and AIDS – people with HIV are much more likely to get Shingles, because of their weakened immune system
- Bone Marrow Transplant – the conditioning you require before the transplant weakens your immune system
- Organ Transplant – you may need to take medication to suppress your immune system so your body accepts the donated organ
- Chemotherapy – chemotherapy medication, used to treat Cancer, temporarily weakens the immune system
Young people who are otherwise healthy can also sometimes develop Shingles.
The main symptom of Shingles is pain, followed by a rash that develops into itchy blisters, similar in appearance to chickenpox.
New blisters may appear for up to a week, but a few days after appearing they become yellowish in colour, flatten and dry out. Scabs then form where the blisters were, which may leave some slight scarring and loss of skin pigment.
The pain may be a constant, dull or burning sensation, and its intensity can vary from mild to severe. You may have sharp stabbing pains from time to time, and the affected area of skin will usually be tender.
In some cases Shingles may cause early symptoms that develop a few days before the painful rash first appears.
Early Symptoms can Include:
- a headache
- burning, tingling, numbness or itchiness of the skin in the affected area
- a feeling of being generally unwell
- a high temperature (fever)
An episode of Shingles – typically lasts around two to four weeks. It usually affects a specific area on just one side of the body, which doesn’t cross over the midline of the body.
Any part of your body can be affected, including your face and eyes, but the chest and tummy (abdomen) are the most common areas.
While there’s no cure for Shingles, getting immediate treatment can help speed the healing process and reduce your risk of complications.
Most people who receive treatment soon after Shingles blisters appear will experience relief from pain and also heal from the lesions within three to five weeks.
Additionally, the blisters often leave no scars.
People with Shingles may experience symptom relief by taking cool showers, avoiding direct sunlight, and limiting scratching.
Bettamed Cleanse & Recover Tablets and Vitamin C is a brilliant first-line defence against Shingles. It increases immune function, as well as, inhibiting the Shingles virus.
The suggested daily doses are: 1,500–3,000 mg Vitamin C.
High-dose Vitamin B12 is a time-honoured treatment for Shingles. Vitamin B12 protects and calms the nervous system.
The suggested daily doses are: 1,000–2,000 mcg of vitamin B12
Bettamed CARE Cream (50g) is a compound herbal cream, which blends CHD-FA antimicrobial and plant extracts. (Use as per package insert).
Take these supplements in divided doses as soon as symptoms occur; continue until symptoms subside.
Medically Prescribed Shingles Treatment
To help diminish the length and severity of Shingles, your physician may prescribe an antiviral drug, such as the following:
- Acyclovir (Zovirax)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
- Famciclovir (Famvir)
In order to be effective, you should take antiviral drugs as soon as the Shingles rash appears.
These drugs may also help prevent Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN):
- a painful condition that occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain.
- People have severe pain in the areas where they had the Shingles rash for up to a few months after the blisters have gone away.
Depending on the severity, Postherpetic Neuralgia Treatments, may also include: Steroids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and gabapentin (Neurontin), pain medications (including Codeine)and topical creams.