Shingles is a skin disease transmitted by the Varicella zoster virus which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. This virus is called dormant and usually remains in the body after the chickenpox had been cured, and it awakens when the immune system is weak resulting in shingles. By recovering from shingles the Varicella zoster virus is completely eradicated and no longer appears in that body. Shingles and its symptoms are most common in people aged over 60.  

Risk factors  

The fundamental risk factor is a reduced immunity or a weak immune system produced by Varicella zoster. Immunity gets diminished primarily by a mental or physical stress, a drastic treatment or by many other diseases. Because the weak immunity occurs mainly in older generations, an older age is one of the risk factors. Shingles most commonly manifests in children aged below one year after they have recovered from chickenpox. 

Signs and symptoms

Shingles is infectious and very painful with the flu-like symptoms. It manifests as fatigue, elevated temperature or fever, headache and general pain. Symptoms are accompanied with itching and pain in the area of skin rash. A clear sign is a large amount of blisters filled with fluid in the area affected and they are highly infectious. The most common sites for shingles are low back, chest, or area around eyes, but not as a rule of thumb. 

Preventing shingles

The best prevention is to minimise the risk of having a weak immune system. Adverse external effects are abundant nowadays, but it is the individual’s responsibility whether to counteract the reduced immunity or not. Older age is another risk factor; though it cannot be altered, immunity may be strengthened by adequate vitamin intake in diet and via food supplements.

Treatment

Shingles should be treated immediately without delay at first signs of the disease. Usually, virostatics or antibiotics are given. As part of the home care, the affected body area should be treated with powder and later softened using appropriate cream or fish oil with anti-inflammatory effects, or tea tree oil, aloe vera and the likes. It needs to be realised that shingles has developed due to the weak immunity which should be targeted. To enhance the immune system, a varied diet, limited stress and strain weakening the body, and ultimately, effective food supplements boosting the immunity should help.  

Impact of the immune system on shingles

The onset of shingles is closely related to weakening of the immune system. As already mentioned Varicella zoster is a hidden danger appearing after the recovery from chickenpox; if the body is compromised, shingles may develop. Hence it is recommended to enhance the immune system preventatively, or when weak, by natural food supplements or any other natural way.

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