June 17, 2009

Treatment for Herpes Zoster

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a viral disease that produces painful rashes on the skin. The rashes usually appear as stripes over the back, chest, neck, face or scalp and can cause intense pain. One particular characteristic of shingles is that the stripes generally appear only on one side of the body. The other common symptoms of herpes zoster are rashes, pus-filled blisters, irritation, and pain; sometimes also accompanied with fever, headache, and upset stomach.

Herpes Zoster Virus

Herpes zoster is caused by a particular virus known as Varicella-zoster. Varicella-zoster is the virus responsible for chicken pox as well. So, anyone who has had chicken pox also has a chance of seeing a second eruption of the virus in the form of herpes zoster. The varicella-zoster virus that enters your body with chicken pox, if not eliminated completely, can enter the nervous system and remain idle there waiting for the body’s immunity to go down. Once the immunity is found to be compromised, the virus comes up again, this time causing herpes zoster.

Herpes zoster usually disappears on its own in a few weeks’ time. However, if the infection is near your eye or the rash has spread over a wide area, you can consult a dermatologist and ask for proper medical treatment. Although herpes zoster is not a fatal disease it does cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Early treatment is recommended because it will not only reduce the suffering but also minimize the chances of further complications.

Home Remedies

Here are some common home remedy tips and techniques used for treating herpes zoster.

  • Take proper rest and relax you body so that the body’s natural defense goes up to fight against the infection.
  • Apply ice packs on the rashes to get relief from the pain. Put an ice pack or a piece of cloth soaked in ice-cold water on the blisters. Keep the ice pack or the soaked cloth applied for about 20 minutes, and repeat the process until the pain subsides.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, to get relief from pain. Topical ointments that can act as local anesthetic can also be applied on the rashes to reduce pain.
  • Keep the skin on the rashes clean by washing it daily with mild soap and water.
  • Take a bath with cold water mixed with baking soda and oatmeal.
  • Under no circumstances you should pop the blisters.