Top 10 Insights To Share On The Subject Of Shingles
We are encouraged to view chicken pox as a dangerous disease that children should not be allowed to develop.
However, it is not life threatening and it is actually the natural form of defence (as you grow older) from a far more serious condition – shingles.
1. Shingles is more common in those over the age of 50 but, by exposing yourself to the chickenpox virus as a child, you can significantly lower your risk of developing shingles in those later years.
2. Chickenpox and shingles are caused by similar viruses – the herpes virus family – and when you get chickenpox and recover from it, the virus can remain dormant in your nerve roots for years. The virus can reawaken in times of physical or emotional stress but reappear as shingles. Even certain medications such as steroids (for example prednisone), chemotherapy and radiation may also set off shingles – whatever the age.
3. Shingles is an inflammation of the nerves with a painful blistering rash. Although it is not actually contagious, it can still infect a person who hasn't had chickenpox, giving them chickenpox but not shingles. The first sign of shingles is a feeling of tingling, itching or even a stabbing pain on the skin but on one side of the face or body followed by a painful red, blistering skin rash for up to 5 weeks.
4. Those who are particularly vulnerable (such as with a weakened immune system) may go onto more severe and life-threatening problems. Up to 20% of shingles outbreaks can result in a condition known as post-herpetic neuralgia or PHN. Sadly, this pain can last anything from 30 days to as long as several years.
5. As soon as you realize, or are diagnosed with shingles, do your best to avoid the prescription drug route. Although such drugs are recommended by doctors to treat shingles outbreaks, there are more natural and safer ways to follow. There is no cure for shingles which is why so many people turn to home remedies for shingles relief instead. Essential oils and homeopathic ingredients provide quick, gentle and lasting relief but without irritation or scarring.
6. In addition, you can use raw honey which has been proven to be effective against shingles because of its healing properties. High-quality raw honey is beneficial in treating wounds because it draws fluid away from the wound and has a high sugar content that inhibits the growth of harmful micro organisms. A genuine Manuka honey is even more efficient as a treatment. It should be applied to the affected shingles area at least 4 times a day in a semi-fluid state. Take extra doses of Vitamin C and garlic.
7. Recovery from chickenpox leaves you with long-lasting immunity. This is because after getting chickenpox, as you age, contact with those who carry the virus will asymptomatically fortify your natural immunity against the infection itself and shingles too.
8. The chickenpox vaccine only provides temporary protection - unlike that of the natural long-lasting immunity you obtain upon recovering from chickenpox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the effectiveness of the varicella zoster vaccine is only "44% against disease of any severity and 86% against moderate or severe disease." The actual figures may be much lower. And of course, as with all vaccines, there is the risk of adverse reaction, injury or even death. Taken along with other vaccines can compound those risks. Although chickenpox can put those with a weakened immune system more at risk, the lack of exposure to the chicken pox virus can make the elderly more prone to shingles and all its complications. And there is more…prior to the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, shingles was only seen in adults but cases in children are starting to grow, as shown by recent school nurse reports.
9. Adding yet another vaccine to the schedule is not the answer. The shingles vaccine is expensive and its effectiveness limited. According to the CDC, the vaccine decreases shingles risk by about 51% in adults 60 and over BUT it is unknown how long the vaccine can actually protect against the virus. Known side effects include: pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site; headaches; shingles-like skin rash; fevers; shock; muscle and joint pain; swollen glands; and respiratory symptoms. More serious adverse reactions have also been reported - including deaths.
10. Strengthening and boosting your immune system while changing to healthier lifestyles is your best defence against all conditions - including shingles.
Get the Shringrix vaccine if you are 50 or older. (2019).
cdc.gov/shingles/multimedia/shringrix-50-older.html. (Accessed 5 July, 2021).
nhs.uk/conditions/shingles/. (Accessed 5 July, 2021).
nia.nih.gov/health/shingles. (Accessed 5 July, 2021).
Shingles (herpes zoster). (2020).
cdc.gov/shingles/index.html. (Accessed 5 July, 2021).
Shingles: Overview. (2018).
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/shingles-overview. (Accessed 5 July, 2021).