Shingles are painful itchy rashes caused by the herpes zoster virus. Various cures for shingles rash that can alleviate the symptoms and bring faster recovery are discussed below. If your immune system is weak, your shingles outbreak can get out of hand and spread to other parts of your body. Hence, it is essential to boost up your immune system by adding immunity enhancing foods to your diet and avoiding foods that can worsen your condition.
An immune booster diet would include foods rich in:
- Vitamin A – The beta-carotene content of this vitamin helps to maintain your skin, membranes, and tissue linings. An enhanced intake of this vitamin helps in speeding the healing process of the shingles rash. Foods such as leafy green vegetables, carrots, and beef liver are a rich source of vitamin A.
- Vitamin B12 – This vitamin is essential for the functioning of the nervous system. It preserves the functioning of the nerves as well as protects the nerves from damage that can be caused by the shingles rash. Vitamin B 12 rich foods include sardines, lamb, eggs, and cottage cheese.
- Vitamin C – One of the most popular cures for shingles rash, vitamin C enhances the immunity levels in your body acting as an antiviral agent. It is recommended to increase the intake of vitamin C foods such as oranges, papaya, bell peppers, kiwis, throughout the infection and recovery period.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is known to accelerate the healing of the shingles breakout. It works towards protecting the nerves from damage and acts as prevention against scarring from the rashes. As vitamin E protects the cell membranes from the attacking virus, it can be applied directly onto the rashes. This provides relief to the burning sensation and also helps reduce the pain from postherpetic neuralgia (residual pain).
- Allicin – This is a powerful phytonutrient that gives onions and garlic their strong pungent aroma and taste. Allicin attacks the virus causing shingles rash, thus keeping the severity of the infection in check.
To fight off the infection and speed up the recovery process, it is recommended to add vitamin C as a supplement to your diet. The dosage can vary between 1000 to 4000 mg taken 3-4 times a day.
Certain foods can hinder your healing process by slowing it down. This can prolong the infection and cause postherpetic neuralgia. You need to avoid such items till your symptoms recover. Foods to avoid are:
- Caffeine – Caffeine-rich foods such as chocolate, ice creams, and coffee beverages bring down the hydration level of your body. This can lead to dryness of the skin as well as improper flushing out of the virus from the body.
- Aerated beverages – In addition to their caffeine content, aerated soft drinks lead to the body pH levels becoming more acidic. This acidic environment can promote the growth of the herpes zoster virus, making your condition worse.
- Deep fried foods – Foods that contain excessive oil are also promoters of acidic pH levels. It is best to avoid them to let the rashes heal and crust faster.
- Sugar – The chemical composition of sugar is similar to that of the immune-boosting vitamin C, which is required by the white blood cells to fight off infections. The sugar molecules contend to take the place of vitamin C in these cells and hamper their multiplication in the body. Hence, the more sugar in your body the less is the number of white blood cells, and lower is your immunity level.
- Arginine-rich foods – The amino acid arginine, which is found in protein foods, can help the shingles virus to grow and multiply on the nuclear level of your cell makeup. Limit your intake of foods such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds as these can spike up the level of arginine and lengthen your symptoms.
In addition to the dos and don’ts discussed above as part of your diet, you must drink a glass of water every 2-3 hours in a day. This keeps your body well hydrated and speeds up in flushing out of the virus from your system. This is one of the easiest cures for shingles rash. Here are some other cures for shingles rash.
Soothing baths and compresses
An effective cure for shingles rash is by cleaning the rashes daily in a cool shower or bath. This has a cooling effect on your rashes, bringing down the pain and reducing itching. Alternately, you can also apply a moistened cool compress to your rashes, repeating the process a few times throughout a day.
Healing creams and lotions
Lotions and creams, which do not have alcohol or other skin irritants, can be used for topical application onto your shingles rash. These provide comfort to the symptoms and keep you from scratching itchy blisters.
It is essential to keep the pain under control to avoid any damage to the nerves. If your shingles rashes do not get better with the abovementioned treatments, you must see your healthcare provider who can prescribe pain medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen to cure shingles rash.