Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a common infection which affects most people. The disease is caused by the same virus of chicken pox- Varicella zoster virus-. After chicken pox is passed, the virus stays dormant in the nerves. When triggers occur, the virus revives and creates shingles. Everyone will have an equal chance to acquire it. It’s estimated that one in three Americans will get the disease. But many people have misunderstanding between shingles and herpes zoster. This leads to wrong treatments for each disease. Besides, shingles may cause complications if you leave it untreated. To avoid these, you need to differentiate herpes zoster from herpes. Then, find out suitable methods to prevent shingles.
Who gets shingles?
All people with all ages can get the disease. But, for those who are in these group will have more chances to get it:
– People are 50 years old or older, have cancer or HIV. They often have weakened immune system that gets the disease easily.
– People are often under stress or pressure
– People have had a physical trauma
– People take long term medications that lower the immune system.
But there’re lots of people who have shingles don’t fit in these categories.
Tips to prevent shingles
1. Get the herpes zoster vaccine
The best effective way to prevent shingles is vaccine. It’s approved for all people, especially people are from 50 years old and children. Because their immune system tend to be weak and easy to be affected, people in the ages should get the vaccine. The vaccine isn’t only necessary for adults but it’s also important for all people who haven’t had chicken pox. If you have had chicken pox before, your body will have antibodies to fight against the shingles. So, if you haven’t had chicken pox, it’s essential for everyone to get this vaccine. Even though the vaccine isn’t 100% effective at preventing shingles, it reduces your chances of getting it greatly. Not only that, the vaccine has a further benefit you may not know. In case you still get the disease, it’s much less severe complications and more prone to be without complications. But pregnant women, people with cancer, HIV shouldn’t get shingle vaccines.
2. Boost your immune system
It’s important to understand that the chicken pox virus can revive if you have lowed immune function. Thus, to prevent shingles, you need to boost your health with healthy diet. You should add more foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals like oranges, vegetables, strawberries and yogurts. Or you can drink lemon balm tea daily that’s famous for antiviral property. This prevents herpes zoster effectively. Besides, you need to avoid harmful diet like processed foods, trans fat foods and alcohol. These harm your health and make you get the disease easily.
3. Prevent complications
Though shingles can be cleared up within several days, it still causes complications. One of the most bothersome troublesome complications of the disease is “postherpetic neuralgia”. It’s particular for adult people over 60 years old. The complication occurs when the pain linked with shingles rash in a long time. It affects 10-15% of people who have shingles. Besides, it may be considered a damaging complication that impacts your life. Luckily, the vaccine will lower this complication.
What can you do if you still get shingles?
Unluckily you still get the disease even though you get vaccine or have had herpes zoster before? What can you do? The first thing you can do is to consider whether you get shingles or not. You should notice potential symptoms of the disease like itchiness, tingling, burning or fever. Shingles rashes with painful blisters appear. Then, you can practice these steps:
1. Find treatments to prevent complications
If you contract shingles, you need to find natural treatments or medications. It’s also important to see your doctor as soon as possible. The quicker you begin treatments, the less complications you get. Having shingles around your eyes may cause eye problems and even blindness. Besides, the disease can become infected with bacteria if you it’s not treated. Instead, you can apply lemon balm, tea tree oil, aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar to cure shingles.
2. Avoid spreading to other people
Once being diagnosed with shingles, it’s important to avoid spreading the virus to other people around you. In fact, shingles isn’t a highly contagious disease. But, someone who hasn’t had chicken pox may develop chicken pox by catching the virus of someone with shingles. In particular, you should avoid shingles blisters since it can direct spread the virus.
The best effective way to treat shingles is to prevent it. You should get the shingles vaccine to avoid contracting the disease. Besides, it’s important to differentiate herpes form herpes zoster. While herpes is treated by ProsurX or home remedies, herpes zoster can be treated by medicines like Valtrex, Famvir and Zovirax. Depending on different diseases, you can choose suitable treatments to prevent complications.