Shingle is a painful rash caused due to the herpes zoster virus which also causes chickenpox. This generally needs prolonged treatment to reduce the pain caused by the outbreak and lower the chances of postherpetic neuralgia. Apart from medical treatments, certain home remedies can be done for easing the symptoms. Read on to know more.
Home Remedies for Shingles:
1. Therapeutic Bath:
Here are the different types of therapeutic baths that can be opted for treating shingles:
i. Cool Water Baths:
- The itchiness and pain caused by Shingle can be reduced to some extent by taking a cool shower for 15 minutes.
- Besides this, it cleanses the skin, lowering the chances of a skin infection. Ice cold water must be avoided as the skin sensitivity increases with this.
- It is crucial to avoid harsh soaps or scrub the skin vigorously while taking the shower.
- A fragrance-free, mild cleanser is preferable.
- The rash needs to be pat dry after bathing, using a cotton towel which needs to be immediately washed before reusing, to avoid the virus from spreading through contact.
ii. Oatmeal Combined with Lavender Essential oil:
- The burning and itching caused by Shingles can be reduced with an oatmeal bath combined with lavender essential oil. Make sure that water is not very hot as it tends to increase blood flow and worsen the blisters.
2. Witch Hazel:
- This herb is available in form of a cream that can be applied to the affected areas to get relief from pain, itching, and inflammation caused by the shingles rash.
- Compared to chamomile, the effectiveness of witch hazel in inflammation reduction is much less.
3. Cold Compress:
- Using this multiple times a day can reduce the pain, itching, inflammation and burning sensation of shingles/ A clean washcloth must be used whenever a cool compress is used, to avoid chances of infection spreading.
- Adding white vinegar solution to the cool compress is believed to reduce the pain caused by blisters but since vinegar is acidic, a tablespoon of it must be diluted in a cup of water to avoid burning the skin.
- Also, those having sensitive skin must consult the dermatologist before using this vinegar treatment with a cool compress, on the skin.
4. Other Creams and Lotions:
Some creams and lotions which are effective against shingles rash by reducing discomfort are as follows:
- i. Petroleum Jelly: First, washing the rash with warm water and a fragrance-free cleanser and then applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly is effective. Then the rash needs to be covered with a non-stick bandage. One has to continue this till the rash disappears fully.
- ii. Antibiotic Ointment: When a rash becomes infected, an antibiotic ointment needs to be applied a few times every day after consulting a healthcare provider.
- iii. Zostrix HP: It has capsaicin, which is a cayenne pepper extract. Using it regularly, 4-5 times a day, reduces the perception of pain occurring because of postherpetic neuralgia. The cream needs to be used till the rash has crusted over. Some might feel burning, stinging, or warm sensation as its side effects.
- iv. Calamine Lotion: After the blisters are scabbed, applying calamine lotion helps in reducing the itchiness of rash
- v. Antihistamine Cream: It is an alternative to calamine lotion but in any case, the opinion of a dermatologist is mandatory before applying an antihistamine cream on the skin.
5. Soothing Paste Made of Cornstarch or Baking Soda:
To make this paste, take 2 parts of cornstarch/baking soda with a part of water to create a consistent paste and apply to the rash. This has to be left for 10-15 min. Re-apply this a few times a day as per the requirement.
6. Making Dietary Changes:
Shingles weaken our immune system because of which healthy food habits are needed to prevent the frequent appearance of rashes. Some of such food include carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, and pumpkin; cherries, grapefruit, red peppers, and watermelon; green veggies such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, and other dark green leafy vegetables; citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C; eggs, poultry, seeds, fortified cereals, meat; brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast which are rich in vitamin B; avocados, olives, wild-caught salmon, olive oil and fish oil supplements which constitute healthy essential fatty acids; and the fermented foods such as kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Healing slows down on the consumption of white sugar, fructose syrups, trans fats, saturated fats, and salty food, so these must be avoided. This will help in keeping the immune system strong.
Using Herbal Remedies:
Some herbal products which can be helpful in treating shingles are:
- i. Tea Tree oil: It has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory characteristics along with the potential to heal a would.
- ii. Topical Licorice: Using this reduces the shingles causing the varicella-zoster virus from replicating. There have been no human studies, proving this, so far.
- iii. Gentiana Scabra: Its anti-inflammatory characteristics as well as capability of reducing pain, make it useful for treating shingles.
- iv. German Chamomile oil: It has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory characteristics. When it is mixed with L. Angustifolia in equal quantities, and the mixture is diluted in calendula oil and applied to the affected areas, the sores and leg ulcers have been seen to show significant improvement.
- v. Eucalyptus oil: It has anti-inflammatory characteristics and also shows significant anti-viral characteristics, proving helpful for shingles.
- vi. Topical St. John’s Wort: It has analgesic and antiviral characteristics. Hence the impact of the virus can be enveloped.
When the home remedies do not work for treating the Shingles, it is important to consult the doctor immediately to avoid the issues from worsening.