Most of us have had chickenpox as a child. In fact, it was one of the rare infections that parents seem to want their children to get. The simple reason behind this is because the varicella-zoster virus, which is the virus that causes chickenpox, is much less impactful on a person’s life when they are children in contrast to full grown. In most situations, after a person has contracted the virus, it will remain dormant within the person’s body, rarely causing a problem. However, later in life, stress or illness can reactivate the virus, and the result is shingles.
Shingles, like chickenpox, is a viral infection that can cause painful rashes all over the body, although typically, it is found around the midsection. From uncomfortable outbreaks to optical problems, from a weakened immune system to scaring, shingles can have serious, unpleasant, and irreversible side effects.
While antiviral medications are most often prescribed to treat the painful rash and shorten the duration of a shingle’s outbreak, there are other, more natural approaches you can take to help deal with your symptoms, and here are just a few examples.
Take a Cool Bath
Shingles is often characterized by the painful, uncomfortable rash it causes on the person’s skin. However, taking a bath in cool water can help ease the pain of shingles. When you are done, be sure to dry yourself off completely, and to wash the towels you use in the hottest water setting possible, as the virus can be spread via open blisters or scratched skin
A cool, wet compress works much the same was a cool bath does by helping to sooth the pain and irritation of the skin. Try soaking a towel or cloth in cool water, wring the water out, and apply the compress to the troubled areas. Don’t use ice, however, as a too cold sensation can result in pain.
Take a Healing Bath
While a cool bath can certainly help alleviate irritation, colloidal oatmeal baths and starch baths can also help with painful skin. Many of these solutions can be found over-the-counter at your local drugstore, or you can look online at how to create your own.
While lotions are generally designed to help the skin in a variety of different ways, when it comes to finding soothing relief from shingles, it is best to avoid scented or perfumed lotions as they can cause additional discomfort. Try using calamine lotion sparingly on the affected areas.
Natural Pain Relief
Some creams available contain capsaicin, which is a pepper extract with centuries of proven results. These are available at most drugs stores, or with a doctor’s prescription. While it is important to note that the cream won’t help speed up the duration of your shingles flare up, it will certainly help ease the pain and make it more comfortable.