Remedies for shingles

Remedies for Post herpetic neuralgia PHN Pain after shingles

Shingles caused by herpes virus is a painful experience to go through. It causes blisters on skin surface, burning sensation, unbearable pain on skin and sensory nerves. In many cases motor nerves can be affected like in face, causing drooping on one side and can affect the eye. Anyone who suffered from chickenpox at young age can get shingles at some point in their life stage.

Reasons for shingles appearance: The smallpox virus lies dormant in nerve root. Immune system keeps the virus in check. If the immune system is down and weak virus becomes active and causes herpes. Other reasons prior physical trauma to the affected area. Mental stress along with already weakened immune system can result in shingles attack.  

Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN):

About 30 per cent of patients who suffer from shingles find themselves left with degree of nerve pain, itching and burning sensation after the rash disappears and skin shows normalcy. These symptoms are known as post herpetic neuralgia or PHN. Slight touch of even soft cloth in affected area or air can be intolerable for the person.  It will take few weeks to several months to recover from the pain. To reduce neuropathic pain doctors can prescribe painkillers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Some anesthetic drugs help to release the pain.

Some of the remedies one can try at home for PHN (Post herpetic neuralgia) symptoms are:

  1. Capsaicin ointment that distracts the nervous system
  2. Essential oils: Application of anti-inflammatory essential oils such as chamomile oil, Eucalyptus oil, Tea tree oil promotes healing process.
  3. Cold compresses: Holding cold wet cloth, compresses against the affected area reduces itchiness and inflammation. Keeping cold cloth or exposing body to cool air reduces the burning sensation.
  4. Avoid hot water bath or ice water usage. Hot water increases blood flow and slows down the healing process. Ice water increases skin sensitivity and increases itching. Cool bath reduces sore and itchiness.
  5. Witch hazel cream or witch hazel water: Both are effective and help to reduce inflammation.
  6. Oatmeal bath: Flavonoids and saponins present in oatmeal reduces pain and itchiness. Use oatmeal in cool bath to reduce inflammation.
  7. Boroline: Boroline is an antiseptic Ayurvedic cream. It contains boric powder and essential oils along with some zinc oxide. Applying boroline helps to reduce itchiness, numbness and pain.
  8. Baking soda or corn starch : Applying baking soda or corn starch paste prepared in water (2:1)  using a cotton ball or Q-tip relieves the itching.
  9. Get plenty of rest and practice meditation. Being mindfulness helps to recover faster than you think.
  10. Wear loose clothes to provide aeration for affected part.
  11. Diet: Watch your diet – Less salt or no salt, no oily food is helpful for faster recovery. Include right foods to boost immune system. Eat antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Consume Vitamin C rich fruits. Avoid added sugar and fast foods. Avoid alcohol.
  12. Vitamin B12 is highly recommended for people who have weaker immune system and it helps the nerves to heal.

Disclaimer: Above mentioned remedies are only for PHN symptoms and will help one to feel better and to get good sleep. These remedies do not remove viruses. If you feel uneasy while using any of the remedies immediately stop using it and contact your doctor.

Herpes image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shingles_rash,_thigh._Caused_by_the_herpes_zoster_virus.jpg, Attribute: Rosser1954 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Other images: https://unsplash.com/s/photos/herbal-oils (Free for commercial use)


Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: January 28, 2020

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