It is imperative to seek medical help as soon as you develop shingles-related symptoms to manage and control the infection. The standard anti-viral medication prescribed for shingles is most effective in the early stages of infection.
Anti-viral medication reduces the time taken by the blisters to heal and also help in managing pain. However, they are several steps you could take to speed up your recovery.
Touching the rash repeatedly or scratching it should be avoided. Avoid pricking the blisters as this increases the risk of secondary bacterial infections and may cause permanent scarring. It can also spread the infection to those coming in contact with you.
- Keep the area clean with mild soap and water. Do not add strong antiseptics or perfumed additives to your bath water.
- Use a towel dipped in cold water to compress the rashes several times a day. This helps to relieve the pain and itchiness while keeping the area moist and clean.
- Apply petroleum jelly and calamine lotion to keep the area moist.
- Apply a thick paste containing two parts of cornstarch and one part water to the blisters for 10-15 minutes every day to alleviate the itchiness associated with them.
- Wear loose clothes to allow air circulation around the blisters, which helps them to dry faster.
- Apply manuka honey and clover honey to the blisters to manage the pain and speed up the recovery process.
- Raw honey, leek juice and aloe vera mixture also have soothing properties.
- Several studies claim that essential oils are an effective treatment for the pain associated with shingles. Germanium oil, tea tree essential oil, lemongrass essential oil and peppermint essential are some of the options you may consider. However, exercise caution while administering these potent essential oils. It is best to perform a patch test to eliminate the chances of sensitivity. If the patch test turns out okay, you can mix 2 drops of an essential oil with 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil and apply it over the painful areas. Another alternative is to diffuse the essential oils in the air.
- Several people have found acupuncture therapy to be quite effective in relieving shingles pain.
Food for shingles
- Keeping yourself well hydrated at all times is essential for good health. Besides, a good diet goes a long way in strengthening your immune system to fight the virus. You should try to include the following items in your diet:
- Food items high in Vitamin B including low-fat dairy, eggs, organic chicken and wild-caught fish
- Raw garlic and onions
- Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C
- Green leafy vegetables
- Try all of these alternative treatments for faster relief, but remember, they are not an alternative to medication. For the right treatment, shingles affected patients must consult a doctor as early as possible, and check with them if trying the alternative therapies in conjugation with the medication is recommended.