Most people are more than familiar with the chicken pox virus due to either having gone through chicken pox as a child or watching someone else go through it. However, many do not realize that this particular virus stays dormant in your system long after chicken pox and can later cause a secondary infection known as shingles. A shingles outbreak can occur at any time, even decades after the original infection. Since shingles can be extremely uncomfortable, causing painful blisters, sores, scabs, and itching, it is important to be aware of the home remedies for shingles that are available.
Standard treatment for shingles often carries risks but home remedies for shingles can provide safe relief and possibly even shorten the duration of the outbreak.
Try the following home remedies for shingles to get rid of the itching and discomfort.
1. Cool Bath
Relaxing in a cool bath as a shingles home remedy is one of the easiest ways to deal with the pain and discomfort experienced during an outbreak. Soaking in the cool water helps temporarily soothe any sores or blisters and is a safe treatment for all ages. The cool temperature of the water can help decrease the inflammation associated with tender, sensitive skin during a shingles infection.
- Fill the tub and submerge your body in the water.
- Be sure to make the water comfortably cool (not an ice bath.)
- Be gentle and careful when drying your skin off.
- Wash any towels used for drying off in order to prevent transmitting the virus.
2. Oatmeal Bath
Colloidal oatmeal is well known as a bath ingredient that offers soothing properties and is a wonderful home remedy for shingles for alleviating pain. By adding it to a cool bath, it provides additional benefits to inflamed, tender skin. Colloidal oatmeal can be purchased online or found in some drugstores. In a pinch, you can easily make your own at home using oatmeal, preferably organic. Simply grind up the oatmeal using a food processor or high powered blender.
- Run a cool bath.
- Add the desired amount of colloidal oatmeal to the water, generally around 2 – 3 cups.
- Soak for at least 10 to 15 minutes or longer if desired.
- Gently dry skin.
- Wash any towels that come in contact with your skin.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda serves as an effective option for reducing pain and itching, in addition to being extremely easy to find. As a bonus, using it is cost effective considering it only costs pennies per use. You can either use it as an addition to a cool bath or apply it topically as a paste. The baking soda paste is also one of the best home remedies for herpes.
- Add the desired amount of baking soda, generally 2 to 3 cups, to a cool bath.
- Soak for a comfortable amount of time anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes or longer if desired.
- Gently pat yourself dry with a towel.
- Wash any towels used.
4. Cool Compresses
In terms of home remedies for shingles, another popular, simple option is using cool compresses to alleviate burning and itching. Similar to a cool bath, cool compresses offer relief by soothing and comforting the affected areas. This remedy is simple, safe for all ages, and can be used as often as desired throughout the day.
- Soak a washcloth or small hand towel is cool water.
- Wring out any extra water from the cloth.
- Gently place the soaked cloth over affected areas.
- Leave the cool compress on for several minutes.
- Be sure to wash any towels that come into contact with your skin.
5. Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion is a wonderful option for treating the itchy, painful skin experienced during a shingles outbreak. One of the main ingredients in calamine lotion, zinc oxide, is known for its soothing, healing, protective properties. When used on affected skin, calamine offers comforting relief and may also help dry up any oozing from blisters.
- Apply a layer of calamine lotion to all affected areas.
- Wash hands after applying lotion to prevent the spread of the virus to anyone else that might use the lotion.
- Apply more lotion as desired.
6. Capsaicin Ointment
Using capsaicin ointment is a great way to help deal with discomfort during a shingles outbreak. Capsaicin, an ingredient in hot, spicy peppers, works by interacting with the pain signals in your body. Many varieties of capsaicin lotions, ointments, and creams can be found and purchased online.
- Apply the capsaicin cream to affected areas.
- Thoroughly wash hands after applying.
- Follow directions on package regarding how often to apply.
7. Turmeric Paste
According to Dr. Weil, turmeric paste can be used as an effective shingles home remedy. Turmeric possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as antiseptic properties. Some also claim it helps prevent scars from forming once an outbreak is finished. Turmeric also makes a wonderful immune system booster when taking internally. A delicious way to enjoy turmeric is golden milk, also known as turmeric tea.
- Add 3 tbsp of turmeric and 3 cups of water to a pot.
- Boil the mixture for about 8 minutes until a paste forms.
- Be aware that you may have to add more water as needed.
- Apply the paste to affected areas after it cools down.
- Leave the paste on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Be careful as turmeric is very strongly pigmented and can stain skin and clothing.
- Rinse the turmeric paste off gently with an old towel or in the bathtub.
- Wash any towels used in the process.
For a natural, holistic approach to treating shingles, garlic is a wonderful option. A weak immune system generally causes shingles outbreaks. Garlic, which possesses antiviral and anti-inflammatory capabilities, can assist in strengthening the immune system and fighting infection.
- Crush or mince 3 to 4 cloves of garlic.
- Swallow the minced cloves with a glass of water.
- Consume at least once or twice each day.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Although not as well known as other home remedies for shingles, another option is using apple cider vinegar. This remedy can be used both topically and internally in order to help ease symptoms and possibly assist your body in fighting against the virus. Apple cider vinegar is readily available at health food stores. Be sure to get the kind that is the least processed in order to assure its potency.
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar.
- Place moist cotton balls on affected areas up to two times per day.
- Remove the cotton balls after approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
- Dispose of cotton balls and thoroughly wash hands.
10. Wild Oil of Oregano
Yet another option for home remedies for shingles is wild oil of oregano. Many claim oregano oil possesses powerful antiviral capabilities. Oregano oil can also serve as an immune system booster.
- Place 1 to 2 drops of oregano oil under your tongue and let it dissolve.
- Repeat as needed, usually 1 to 3 times daily.
*Avoid this remedy and talk to your doctor if you have a bleeding disorder as oregano oil might increase the possibility of bleeding.
11. Raw Honey
Raw honey has long been used, both topically and internally, to assist the body in fighting infections. As opposed to processed honey, raw honey possesses potent antimicrobial properties. According to Dr. Mercola, high-quality raw honey is capable of boosting the bodies healing process by drawing fluid away from the wounds. In addition, its high sugar content inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Apply a thin layer of raw honey to areas of outbreak.
- Repeat up to 4 times per day.
- Wash hands after each application.
12. Aloe Vera
A popular treatment for sunburn, aloe vera can also help alleviate symptoms of a shingles infection. Aloe vera, a medicinal plant, contains over 200 beneficial compounds and people have been using it therapeutically for thousands of years. Boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, soothing tender skin, and fighting microbes, are just some of the benefits aloe vera possesses.
- Use a real aloe vera plant if available (a high quality, minimally processed gel may also be utilized – be sure it is Alchohol free.)
- Apply a thin layer to any affected areas as many times per day as desired.
- Thoroughly wash hands after each application.
All in all, home remedies for shingles offer an easy, affordable way to provide relief for shingles symptoms at home and help your body defend itself against the virus. Upon onset of shingles, be sure to check with your doctor to discuss symptoms and the use of possible home treatments. Have you ever suffered from an outbreak of shingles? What home remedies for shingles did you find the most useful?