Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful condition caused by the same virus (varicella) which causes chickenpox. The virus is not destroyed after antecendent chickenpox illness, but survives in nerve cells. When the organism is weakened, it may reactivate and cause shingles – it is characterized by clusters of painful blisters on the skin. Most often, it affects the abdomen, chest or back skin. Shingles itself is not contagious, but from open blisters the virus can transfer on children or adults who have not had chickenpox and infect the disease.
Some of the other symptoms of shingles herpes include:
- upset stomach or abdominal pain
It’s assumed that the virus that causes shingles is being revitalized when our immune system is weakened – age, stress, various diseases or use of drugs. So far, it’s now known what causes a change in the behavior of the virus and causing symptoms. The disease mainly affects the elderly and the weak, which is manifested most often by itching, erythema, general fatigue, fever. After a few days blisters dry out and turn into scabs. For some people, however, even in this stage, the pain may persist.
What are the complications of shingles?
Complications are more frequent and more severe if the patient has a weakened immune system. Some serious complications include:
- Infection – the rash can get infected. Typically, in this case it’s sufficient to take antibioticsd.
- Loss of pigmentation – the disappearance of the skin rash may leave white spots.
- Scarring – blisters can sometimes leave scars, but it’s relatively uncommon.
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome – infection of the facial nerve. The formation of this infection can be quite scary – some people may think that it is a stroke. In this case, you must act quickly because in rare cases it can lead to a permanent facial nerve weakness or even loss of hearing. Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include ear pain, deafness, dizziness and facial paralysis. Pain usually resolves within 48 hours.
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) – the patient has a high fever, is confused, has headaches, lethargy and feels weakness in the limbs. This disease is quite rare.
- Postherpetic neuralgia – may be the result of nerve fibers damage. Damaged fibers are not able to send nerve impulses from the skin to the brain. Impulses become chaotic, causing pain – neuralgia – which may persist long after other symptoms have disappeared.
Shingles – Tips for good Nutrition
Treatment of shingles is focused on the treatment of acute manifestations of this disease, it’s necessary to take supplements to heal the blisters and treatment of persistent pain after a running infection (which can take months and sometimes even years).
Supplements used to treat acute symptoms are divided into two groups:
- supplements used locally on affected areas
- supplements used internally to boost the immune system and for better healing of inflamed skin and nerves
The combination of some products applied to the skin can bring quick relief – recommended are aloe vera gel mixed with oil with a high content of vitamin E. Both substances calm and soother the pain and itching, promote skin healing and reduce the likelihood of secondary infection of the skin damaged by the virus.
For oral treatment, it’s appropriate to use an antioxidant – a very effective is vitamin C combined with bioflavonoids (at least 1 gram of vitamin C per day divided into several doses). The immune system will also be supported by the use of echinacea extract (200 mg triple per day) and omega-3 fatty acids (2 grams daily).
The amino acid lysine (1000 mg three times a day) and the trace element selenium (50 mg twice a day) promote the growth of healthy skin and generally accelerate the healing process.
All supplements can be taken together with prescribed medications.