Natural Strategies for Managing and Preventing Long-Term Shingles Effects

At the end of December last year, leading up to the busiest period in our store, I noticed a cluster of red spots appearing on my thigh. Having been surfing the day before, I initially dismissed them as jellyfish stings, despite wearing a full-length wetsuit. However, the spots began to burn, and I felt unusually tired. By Monday, it was clear these weren’t jellyfish stings (I’ve encountered them enough times to know). A visit to the doctor confirmed I had shingles. Although surprised, I thought I had a mild case and decided against taking antiviral medications.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. This condition results in a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters, typically appearing on one side of the body. The rash often follows a dermatomal pattern and is accompanied by symptoms like localized pain, intense itching, fever, and general discomfort.

That night, my condition worsened significantly. My entire thigh was burning with pain. Further research revealed that antiviral medications for shingles are most effective if taken within the first three days of symptom onset. I quickly started the antiviral treatment. Although shingles is often triggered by stress and weakened immunity, I didn’t feel more stressed than usual at that time. However, running a business during the busiest season and being unable to work certainly didn't help my stress levels!

Knowing I couldn’t afford to take more than a couple of days off work and aware of the potential long-term effects like nerve pain and fatigue, I sought out every supplement I could (in addition to the antivirals) to aid my recovery and prevent lasting issues.

Shingles Treatment

Here are the strategies I followed:

  • Diet: Adopt a cold sore diet since shingles and cold sores are caused by related viruses. Avoid nuts and seeds high in arginine, which feeds the virus, and steer clear of simple sugars and chocolate that can depress immunity.
  • Lysine: Focus on foods high in lysine and low in arginine, such as chicken, fish, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

After three days of intense pain and acute symptoms, I returned to work. One week after the onset, I felt 90% better, and two weeks later, you would never know I had shingles. I credit my rapid recovery to the supplements and dietary regimen I followed alongside the prescribed antiviral medication.

It’s important to note that not all supplements and herbs are suitable for everyone. Please consult a qualified healthcare professional here before starting any new dietary or supplement routine.