Shingles is a viral infection. After one has had chickenpox, also known as the varicella-zoster virus, the virus remains in the body and hibernates in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. This virus may reactivate years later, though not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles. According to William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, “the virus crawls along your nerve fibers and disrupts and chews on them.”
Some of the symptoms of shingles include pain, burning, itching, numbness or tingling, sensitivity to touch, red rash, fluid-filled blisters, fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and fatigue. Most often, the virus manifests as rash in a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the torso, although sometimes the rash can occur on the face or neck.
The risk of shingles increases with age and is most common in people over 50, but it may occur at any age. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will get shingles in their lifetime, with 1 million shingles cases diagnosed in the U.S. every year.
Shingles usually lasts 2-4 weeks with new blisters occurring for up to a week. Shingles is spread through direct contact with blister fluid. Until the blisters scab over, the infected person is contagious. The blisters usually scab over within 7-10 days. Before the blisters develop, and after the blisters crust over, the infected person is not contagious.
There’s no cure for shingles—the virus must run its course. However, it is possible to decrease discomfort and irritation and speed up the healing process. Keep your rashes and blisters dry and clean. Daily cleansing reduces the spreading of infection. Make sure the water is lukewarm or cool. Extreme water temperatures can worsen the condition. Hot water worsens blisters and slows the healing of sores. Cold water increases skin sensitivity.
Add 2 cups of Silver Rain to lukewarm or cool bath water and soak for 15-20 minutes. No scrubbing necessary (scrubbing makes sores and blisters worse). Avoid scratching as that prolongs blisters and causes scarring. To help ease itching and burning sensations, use a compress. With a natural cotton cloth or towel, apply Silver Rain soap to the area. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Repeat as needed. Be sure to wash your towel after bathing to avoid spreading it to others.
Dietary changes can also speed healing by strengthening your immune system and preventing spreading. Focus on eating orange, yellow, and red foods like carrots, pumpkin, apricots, watermelon, red pepper, grapefruit, and cherries; leafy greens like kale, parsley, spinach, lettuce; also eat legumes, beans, and whole grains. Avoid eating sugar, refined carbs, saturated fat, chocolate, nuts, and gelatin.
Shingles Care Kit
Silver Rain Bacteriostatic Soap: soothe skin and dry out blisters
African Black Pepper: anti-inflammatory and blood purifier
Alfalfa: boost immune system with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
Tea Tree Oil: antimicrobial to promote wound healing
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