Shingles is one of the most difficult “mild” diseases to deal with. If you’re over 40, you may be at higher risk of getting it, or you may already have it. In fact, by age 50, 1 in 4 people will be afflicted with shingles. Below, let’s discuss what shingles is and how apple cider vinegar may help treat shingles.
What are Shingles?
Shingles (herpes zoster) is simply the reactivation of chickenpox. Both viral diseases are caused by the same virus – the varicella-zoster (VZV), with shingles only resurfacing after several years of staying dormant in your system. Shingles outbreak comes with an itchy, blistering, red burning rash. It starts from the chest and stomach and may gradually spread to the face and eyes, causing scarring and damages in the process.
Shingles start with infection, with the rash and fluid-filled blisters surfacing a few days later. The blisters come with pains and fatigue, light sensitivity, or fever in some people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans will get shingles at some point during adulthood.
An average shingle virus outbreak lasts between 2-6 weeks. While the virus is not fatal, it may lead to postherpetic neuralgia in some individuals – a case where nerve fibers are damaged, leading to severe pains that continues months after the rash has cleared.
For now, there is no outright shingles cure. However, people dealing with this condition can ease symptoms and reduce the virus’s length by taking antiviral drugs. Asides from antiviral medications, there are a few all-natural remedies that can ease the discomfort and pain from shingles. One of them is apple cider vinegar.
How To Treat Shingles With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apply organic and raw apple cider vinegar directly to the affected skin surface using a spray bottle or a cotton ball. Keep the apple cider vinegar from your eyes and other sensitive areas. Castor oil is better suited for these sensitive areas.
Repeat this at least twice per day or more. In cases where your skin causes the apple cider vinegar to dry up faster, apply some coconut oil or castor oil after the apple cider vinegar must have dried off.
Always use organic and raw apple cider vinegar for health purposes – add a tablespoon to a glass of water or juice. Drink the solution twice daily, either with meals or without eating. For severe shingles outbreak, you may try other supplements like lysine and vitamin C.
What Are Other Home Remedies for Shingles?
1. Baking Soda and Corn Starch Paste
Combine corn-starch or baking soda and warm water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the surface to ease itching resulting from the rash.
To form the paste:
- Mix two parts of corn starch or baking soda into one cup.
- Pour in one-part water and combine to create the desired consistency.
- Apply the mixture to your rash and leave for 10-15 minutes before washing off.
Repeat as many times as possible during the day.
2. Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies
A combination of homeopathic remedies and traditional therapy will help fight the symptoms of shingles. Homeopathy focuses on helping the body cure itself. While there is insufficient evidence to back up these claims, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to recommend or verify the safety of any botanical remedies. Therefore, we recommend that you seek your doctor’s advice before starting any homeopathic treatment.
That being said, some supplements and herbal medicines may help the body combat the virus while curing anxiety and insomnia resulting from shingles. They are essential fatty acids, green tea, lemon balm, echinacea, peppermint oil, St. John’s Wort, and Melatonin.
3. Healing Baths
Cleaning the blisters daily prevents further spread to other body parts. A cold shower or bath will do just fine, with the water’s coolness soothing the pain and easing the itchiness.
You can also reduce symptoms by taking therapeutic baths. Get lukewarm bathing water and pour in 1-2 coups of colloidal corn starch or oatmeal. Leave for 15-20 minutes and use the water for bathing. Avoid hot water because heat aggravates the condition by increasing blood circulation.
After the bath, dry your body thoroughly and wash your towel to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
4. Using a Cool, Moist Compress
A cold, wet compress can also help to ease pain and itchiness caused by the shingles rash. You can repeat this severally every day. Get a clean cloth and soak it in warm water. Wring the water out and place the cloth gently on the blisters and rash.
The soothing effect comes from the coolness of the compress. Avoid using icepack on the rash; the extreme coolness will most likely increase skin sensitivity and aggravate the pain.
5. Soothing Creams and Lotions
You do not want to scratch your shingles rash to avoid scarring blisters. You can use lotions and creams to relieve itching rather than scratching.
6. Dietary Changes
There is a higher chance of shingles becoming aggravated if the immune system is not strong enough. Diet is a proven way of improving the immune system. Know the foods to avoid and those to start eating.
For instance, the ideal shingles diet should include foods rich in Vitamins A, B-12, C, and E, as well as amino acid lysine. Such foods include tomatoes, beans, spinach, legumes, whole grains, milk, wild-caught fish, chicken, eggs, red meat, leafy green vegetables, and orange or yellow fruits.
Once the symptoms start to reduce, the body may crave comfort foods. Do not give in to such cravings to avoid a relapse. In that case, you should avoid foods and juices with large amounts of sugar or saturated fat. You should also avoid refined carbohydrates and foods rich in arginine, including nuts, gelatin, and chocolate. These foods tend to weaken the immune system, allowing the virus to regenerate.
Not everyone will find natural remedies useful. If you end up with an effective all-natural treatment, it is most likely because the virus has run its course. However, the right nonconventional remedy and/or traditional treatment can ease the pains and discomfort caused by shingles while expediting the healing process.
Always speak with your physician before you start any supplements. It is vital to get the diagnosis right before treatment. If you discover aggravation due to such supplements, seek medical help instantly.