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Herpes zoster, more commonly known as shingles, results in acute, painful blistering eruptions. The onset of shingles is heralded by severe pain in a localized distribution. Because discomfort may precede the rash by some twenty-four hours, early diagnosis is sometimes difficult. (Indeed, herpes zoster of the chest is at times misdiagnosed as a heart attack!) Once the redness and blisters appear, the nature of the pain becomes quite apparent.
Complications of herpes zoster are infrequent but serious. Agonizing, persistent pain may remain about the affected area for weeks or months and is referred to as post herpetic neuralgia. Elderly persons are at greatest risk of developing this painful sequela. If the zoster virus invades the eye, blindness may ensue.
The same virus that cause chickenpox produces this condition as well. Following a chickenpox infection, the virus hibernates in nerves under the skin, much like herpes simplex, to surface as herpes zoster in susceptible persons sometime in the future. Unlike herpes simplex, a person usually develops herpes zoster only once.
Shingles is caused by a herpes virus, the same one that causes chicken pox. It is an infection of a major spinal nerve, and results in severe neuralgic pain and rashes, usually around the waist and chest areas. Adults who have not had chicken pox and are exposed to children with it often get shingles. In turn, children exposed to adults with shingles may get chicken pox.
Adults who have had chicken pox carry the dormant virus, which may erupt when the immune system is compromised due to illness or stress, injury, environmental pollution, or immune suppressing drugs.
The pain may last for years. Conventional medicine's remedy is pain-killers, with neurosurgery as a last, desperate resort.
Most cases of herpes zoster should be evaluated by a physician. Herpes zoster infection usually does not signify an underlying abnormality, although persons afflicted with cancer and AIDS have an increased incidence. An ophthalmologist should be consulted if lesions approach the eye. Blisters may be treated with wet-to-dry saltwater compresses. Antiviral pills (Famvir, Valtrex, and Zovirax) will lessen the duration of an attack but unfortunately will not ward off post-herpetic neuralgia. Many cases warrant oral narcotic analgesia due to the severe pain.
Herpes zoster will occur in one out of every three individuals. Reactivation of the virus becomes increasingly likely with advancing age. A vaccine (Zostavax) stimulates antibody production and reduces occurrence of shingles by 50 percent and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by nearly 70 percent. The vaccine is recommended for most persons aged sixty and older.
Vitamin A Take 25,000 I.U. daily.
Vitamin C Take 2,000 mg twice daily.
Zinc Take 25 mg daily.
In addition to these recommended supplements, many people with shingles have low stomach acid which leads to poor digestion and nutrient absorption. This, in turn, will lead to a weakened immune system, chronic infections and other health concerns. Correcting your digestion will alleviate many of these problems. We recommend taking a digestive aid which includes hydrochloric acid. Your health food store will carry several brands.
Apple cider vinegar To relieve pain and discomfort apply apple cider vinegar directly from the bottle. Dab on affected areas, let dry, and repeat as often as needed. It is suggested that you apply the vinegar four times during the day and three at night if you are awake. The itching and burning will rapidly dissipate after the vinegar is applied, and the shingles will heal more quickly.
DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) Dabbing it on the affected area twice daily stops the virus' growth by penetrating right to the center of the herpes infection. It should get rid of the stinging and rash in three days.
Vitamin B-12 Indian researchers have had great success with shingles by injecting 500 mcg of vitamin B-12, a nutrient important to nerve health, daily. Dramatic results were seen after three days, with pain relief and drying of the rash. None of the patients tested developed neuralgia. This method is more beneficial than taking supplements because the vitamins bypass the digestive system.
Vitamin C This vitamin has also successfully been used to overcome shingles. Patients were injected with 2-3 grams every 12 hours and also took a gram orally every two hours. The patients were relieved of pain quickly, with blisters drying up and disappearing within a few days.
Vitamin E As mentioned above, post-herpetic neuralgia can last for years. Remarkable results were achieved with people who had long term neuralgia when they were given 1200 to 1600 I.U. of vitamin E daily for six months. In the study done, 75% of the patients were nearly or fully relieved of the neuralgia. Doctors have reported that using D-alpha tocopheryl acetate or succinate in the above dosages was successful when used for at least six months. These doctors also stressed the need to avoid medications and estrogens, as well as white flour, vitamin-enriched cereals, and vitamins containing inorganic iron.
Zinc Make a salve by combining a tablespoon of aloe vera juice, the contents of one 1,000 I.U. capsule of natural vitamin E (NOT DL-alpha tocopherol) with zinc ointment, and applying it to the blisters. This will bring quick relief from the pain.
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