What is the reason for shingles?
Shingles is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive or hidden in the nerve tissue. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. About one in four people will develop a herpes zoster infection in their lifetime.
Symptoms of shingles
The signs and symptoms of shingles include:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- A red rash
- Blisters that break open and crust over
The factors that may increase your risk of developing shingles are often linked to a weakened immune system:
- a physical or emotional shock
- an infection elsewhere in the body
- HIV/AIDS, cancer or cancer treatment - chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- prolonged use of steroids
Shingles is most commonly occurs in people older than 50. The risk of getting it increases with age.
Complications of shingles
Shingles can be very painful. For about one person in five, severe pain continues long after the rash has cleared. This condition is known as post-herpetic neuralgia. It is more common in elderly people. The post-herpetic neuralgia occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain.
Shingles may lead to serious complications involving the eye. Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death.
Homeopathic medicines for shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia
Homeopathic treatment help shorten the length and severity of the illness. It also prevents and treats very well post-herpetic neuralgia. Most patients who use homeopathy for soothing the rash and pain relief do not develop any neuralgia or other complications.
The most commonly used homeopathic medicines for shingles include:
- Arsenicum album - Confluent vesicles with severe burning pain. Pain worsens at night between 1-3am and is better by heat. The patient is exhausted but restless and anxious.
- Cantharis - Large blisters containing clear fluid with burning pain. Cold compresses bring pain relief.
- Hypericum perforatum is one of the best homeopathic medicines for neurological disorders. Indicated for post-herpetic neuralgia like Arsenicum album, Mezereum and Ranunculus. Intense pain radiating along the nerves in the affected area (pain radiates from the periphery to the center of the body). Pain worsens by touch and jolts.
- Mezereum - Tiny blisters containing dark brownish fluid; when the blisters rupture thick yellowish scabs are formed with underlying pus. Symptoms worsen by bed warmth and are improved by cold compresses.
- Ranunculus bulbosus - Large vesicles containing bluish fluid, shooting pains, the affected area is oversensitive to touch. Ranunculus is most commonly used for intercostal herpes zoster (shingles on the chest in the spaces between the ribs).
- Rhus toxicodendron - Vesicles containing clear lemon-like fluid on a red skin, intense itching and burning.