Get On Top of Your Shingles

Lately, I have been receiving quite a number of emails with questions about shingles. I remember when my mom and dad had "the shingles" over 30 years ago. All they did was "ride it out", but they used old-fashioned treatments from their parents' day to relieve the itchiness and the feeling of painful pin prinks under their skin.

The virus responsible for chickenpox is the Varicella zoster virus, and this is the same virus that causes shingles. For people who have had chickenpox, the virus may never fully clear out of the body; so, it can remain dormant in the nerve tissues. When severe physical or emotional stress occurs, or if toxic food chemicals (such as aspartame or long-term use of toxic medications) have saturated your tissues and nerve endings, the body's immune system can weaken. If enough toxins build within your tissues, under the skin, or around the nerve endings, the chickenpox virus can re-activate and spread along the nerve fibers to the area of the skin that involves that nerve, or nerves.

Shingles (Herpes zoster)is an extremely painful skin rash. It is associated with the Herpes viruses, but is not the same as the Herpes simplex 1 and 2 viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes.

Very few studies have been done to connect the patterns and trends between chickenpox and shingles (other then the similarities in symptoms), but I wonder if a child who had a serious case of the chickenpox has a greater risk of a severe case of shingles? Does a person who never had chickenpox ever get the shingles? I also wonder if being inoculated for chickenpox exacerbates a case of shingles in adulthood, or if it helps prevent it? In any case, I look at shingles as an adult case of the chickenpox. And too little research has been done to answer my questions.

I am not a proponent of unnecessary inoculations for children, but if, and when, inoculated for chickenpox (or anything, for that matter), a child's body weight should be at least 20 pounds, and I recommend that each of the vaccinations be split into 3 to 4 smaller doses and given to the child separately for each disease the vaccination is targeting.

Because chickenpox appears be the root cause of a later case of shingles, let's take a naturopathic approach for preventing shingles by treating it as if it WERE chickenpox.

Chickenpox is very highly contagious, and can be easily passed between members of the family and school classmates through airborne particles and the fluid from the blisters or sores. It also can be transmitted indirectly by contact with articles of clothing and other items exposed to any fresh drainage from open sores. Chickenpox is commonly contagious for one to two days, but it can extend up to five days before, and five days after, the rash appears. When the sores have crusted over, it is usually no longer contagious.

The symptoms for chickenpox are the same as those for shingles, and this makes perfect sense since shingles is actually an adult form of chickenpox. If you have already had chickenpox, you typically cannot "catch" shingles from someone else, but you can develop shingles later in life from the virus that may have remained inside your tissues. If you never had chickenpox, you can "catch" shingles from someone else, just as a child can come down with chickenpox if directly exposed to another child. If you were vaccinated for chickenpox as a child and never had a case of chickenpox, little research has been done to determine if you are vulnerable to catching shingles or not.

The symptoms for both chickenpox and shingles appear around 14 to 16 days after initial exposure, but they can occur from 10 days up to 21 days after contact with the virus. A burning sensation on your skin typically appears before the blisters form, and adults can identify this more easily than a child.

Chickenpox is characterized by one to two days of mild fever up to 102 degrees F, but a fever is less common with shingles. If someone develops a fever with shingles, it may be because their body's immune system is weak. Toxins in medications, food products, diet sweeteners, or from another disease can exacerbate a case of shingles.

Rarely will a person have the shingles, or chickenpox, without the rash. The rash typically develops in a cluster with raised red spots appearing first, progressing to blisters that burst, which then result in open sores before crusting over. The areas of the skin that are weakened from another health issue, such as diaper rash, poison ivy, eczema, sunburn or skin cancer, are the most susceptible to both chickenpox and shingles.

Many people feel it isn't necessary to vaccinate a child against a "harmless" disease like chickenpox, and that a case of chickenpox may even "strengthen" their child's immune system. Chickenpox can still occur even if vaccinated, even though this is less common. But if you were vaccinated for chickenpox as a child and you develop shingles, I don't recommend getting re-vaccinated for the same virus, if this is suggested to you. If you did not get vaccinated for chickenpox as a child, and you develop shingles, getting vaccinated after the shingles has appeared may not help you, either; it may serve to suppress the already established virus and your immune system. Allowing the virus to run its course while building your immunity may be a healthier choice. (Much more uncomfortable, yet healthier.)

Taking medications for the pain is an option, but always avoid suppressing the rash from exiting the body through the skin. Pushing the virus back INTO the body may be one reason some people get a second round of shingles, or why their childhood chickenpox resurrected in their later years.

If you detox regularly every year, or several times a year, the virus responsible for chickenpox may never re-activate and spread along your adult nerve fibers as shingles.

If you feel that shingles may be coming on (this is typically felt as a burning under the skin followed by recent skin irritations, sudden weakness, and a possible fever), then begin a detox program immediately and try to flush the virus from your body before it spreads.

If it were me, and I suspected that shingles was coming in my direction, I would do every cleanse that I could! I would do the microbe cleanse (parasite kit), the French Green Clay cleanse, a colon cleanse AND a liver cleanse. If your body is healthy, you can do these cleanses at the same time, but if you are toxic or weak, they should be done one right after the other.

Your body will let you know if you are detoxing too fast and that you should separate each different cleanse. If the cleanses are successfully working for you, your skin irritation will typically worsen. This reaction is scary, unpleasant, and makes you think that the detoxing is NOT working, but remember what I always say: "Toxins inside your body are ugly and painful. They make you feel ill on the inside, so they will have the same effects as they come OUT of your body."

If you ride this out as the virus (and any toxins it can attached to) DO come outside of your body, then you can cleanse this virus and disarm its affects on your immune system, once and for all.

Get on top of your shingles!

Posted August 2009 | Permanent Link

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