Shingles is a contagious viral disease, in which rashes and blisters usually occur on one side of the body. The notable shingles symptoms include skin rashes in a striped pattern, fever, headache, malaise and general discomfort. As the viral disease progresses, rashes are accompanied with painful blisters. Shingles treatment with anti-inflammatory and antiviral drugs is preceded for managing pain, shortening the length of disease episode and minimizing complications.
The alternative name for shingles disease is herpes zoster, which is given with reference to the causative pathogen, Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). It is the same virus responsible for causing chickenpox. But, do not confuse it with herpes simplex that causes herpes. Once infected, the VZV tends to remain in the body along the nerve endings, even after the chickenpox blisters disappear completely. While reactivation of the virus is not seen in all cases, 1 out of 3 people have the possibility of manifesting it again.
How to Prevent Recurrent Shingles Outbreaks?
Who are at a high risk of getting recurrent shingles? According to health experts, those who had experienced an extended episode of shingles pain (up to 2 months) and women are more likely to have repeated outbreaks than others. Also, the chances of disease recurrence are high amongst adults above 50 years of age. Hence, extra precautions and care from the patient's side is necessary to stop virus reactivation afterward. Reliable approaches to prevent shingles recurrence are discussed below.
The first shingles vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Zostavax. When given in people, who are 60 years and above, the likeliness of VZV infection is reduced by about 50%. Also, for those adults who had shingles earlier, this vaccine is effective for stopping recurrent outbreaks. This vaccine is based on attenuated VZV and works by preparing the body's defense mechanism to ward off future infections.
The Wonders of Vitamins
Supplementing the diet with vitamin C rich foods is another way for recurrent shingles prevention. For those people who lack fresh fruits and veggies in their diet, taking vitamin C supplements in appropriate doses (approximately 1000 mg or more per day) is suggested to cut down the risks for recurrent bouts of shingles. Likewise, one can also take B complex vitamins to keep the immune system strong at all times.
Medications based on lysine are frequently administered to prevent all kinds of viral diseases. Actually what this amino acid does is, it inhibits another amino acid called 'arginine' that is crucial for secretion of proteins by virus. As a consequence, the pathogen can no longer replicate or multiply for reactivation. This way, administration of lysine tablets is effective for preventing future outbreaks of shingles.
Follow Herbal Remedies
Some of the effectual herbs documented for preventing shingles flare-up are goldenseal root, echinacea root and skullcap. Goldenseal and echinacea roots are especially known as immune system enhancers, and they help in fighting against infections. On the other hand, skullcap helps in improving nervous system health, thereby preventing the risks of repeated shingles outbreaks.
Strengthen Immune System
Keep the immune system strong. Although healthy people do get recurring shingles, it makes sense to improve the immune system health. After all, reactivation of virus largely depends on how the system responds to it. For staying healthy and fit, one should consume healthy foods, manage stressful situations, perform exercises and indulge in relaxation techniques.
For these tips to work satisfactorily, make sure that shingles is treated in the early stages with prescription antiviral drugs. The earlier this viral infection is treated, the more effective will be the approaches for stopping recurrent outbreaks of shingles. Last but not the least, always take the doctor's guidelines while taking vitamin supplements and herbs for therapeutic purposes.