What are Shingles?

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Preventing shingles outbreaks is possible. Statistics show shingles will affect one out of three adults. That’s one-third of the adult population, affecting over 330 million people. 

After Dr. Coppola experienced shingles firsthand, he and Dr. Monteiro determinedly set out to learn more about the condition and its treatments.

What are Shingles?

Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, sometimes called the Herpes Zoster virus. This virus causes chickenpox in children. The virus can remain dormant in the nervous system for many years, even decades, before an outbreak could potentially occur.

The shingles virus is part of the herpes family, but it’s not the same as herpes simplex type 1 (cold sores in the mouth) or herpes simplex type 2 (genital herpes). The shingles virus is more like a cousin to these two herpes viruses and is classified as herpes type 3 or herpes zoster.

What Causes Shingles?

If you contracted chicken pox as a child, this virus, known as the varicella-zoster virus, stays in your body long after the chicken pox subsides.  It hides in a part of your nerve cells called the ganglion, where it will take up permanent residency. It can stay dormant for years until your immune system is drastically weakened.  

This opportunistic virus attacks a chronically or prolonged weakened immune system. Some doctors say the risk of shingles increases as we get older. Although this is true, it has nothing to do with our birthdays.

As we age, our immune system weakens. However, normal body wear and tear can be mitigated to a certain degree by taking immune-boosting supplements and adopting a healthy diet.  

However, the biggest reason your immune system weakens with age is neglect and abuse of the body. Whenever the immune system is habitually weakened, it can’t fight off the herpes zoster virus the way it normally would, resulting in a shingles outbreak.

What Are the Symptoms of Shingles?

It’s essential to recognize the early warning signs before the actual outbreak. Recognizing these signs can save you a tremendous amount of agony. Early symptoms of virus activation can occur three to five days before any skin eruptions. 

Common symptoms include skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, or a prickling sensation occurring on one side of your body, typically on the torso, neck, head, ears, or face.  It will be in a small patch or band-like area. The residual scars, fortunately, fade.

If it affects your head close to your eye, you need to see an ophthalmologist immediately to ensure you don’t suffer any eye damage. When shingles affect the eye, it potentially leads to partial or even complete blindness in the affected eye.

Other symptoms include:

  • unexplained fever
  • Headache
  • stomach upset. 
  • Tingling sensation

In Dr. Coppola’s case, he noticed a prickly, tingling sensation on the right side of his head. It wasn’t painful, and it wasn’t constant. Around two or three days later, he noticed a few red bumps on his head. Those red bumps continued to multiply and turn into fluid-filled blisters. Then, the electric, shock-like pain caused Dr. Coppola to realize he was having a shingles outbreak. Dr. Coppola ended up in the ER due to the severity of his pain.

If you experience skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, a prickling sensation, or red bumps in a targeted area on only one side of your body, assume it’s shingles and follow the steps in the following section. 

These steps can prevent a painful shingles outbreak, especially if you catch it before the red bumps appear. And if it’s not shingles by chance, the natural treatment methods are harmless. 

How to Prevent Shingles Outbreak

There are various triggers for a shingles outbreak. A common trigger is lack of sleep, but various other factors can also contribute to an outbreak.

Chronic Stress

Constantly elevated levels of stress cause perpetual release of cortisol, which, over time, severely weakens your immune system, providing the perfect platform for an outbreak.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D plays a vital role in modulating your immune function. Statistics show that 42% of Adult Caucasians, 63% of Hispanics, and 82% of African Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Furthermore, 70% of all children have this deficiency.

Maintaining optimum Vitamin D levels will suppress all viruses, including the shingles virus. 

Medications

Certain medications like Asthma medications, Corticosteroid meds, like prednisone, and Statin drugs weaken and suppress the immune system, raising the risk of an outbreak. 

Please do not ever stop taking these medications without a doctor’s approval and supervision. Going off medicines on your own can be extremely dangerous and result in painful side effects.

Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation can trigger a shingles outbreak.

Radiation Exposure

Radiation exposure from X-rays, CT scans, or extreme sun radiation, such as when you get sunburned, can trigger an outbreak.

Diet

An unhealthy diet that does not meet the body’s needs can weaken the immune system. It is essential to provide nutritious foods that meet all the body’s needs.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Conventional produce that has been sprayed directly impacts the weakening of your immune system. Although buying organic is more expensive, it doesn’t have to break the bank if you’re on a tight budget. 

For instance, focus on buying only the ‘Dirty Dozen’ organic fruits and veggies. The Dirty Dozen is a term coined by the EWG for the top 12 produce with the highest concentration of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.

Health Conditions

Conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol (sd-LDL and Triglycerides), COPD, depression, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.  

Any of these conditions increase your risk of a shingles outbreak or recurrence, but two or more conditions drastically increase your risk. Taking care of your health is the best method to prevent a shingles outbreak.

Struggling with Neuropathy or Postherpetic Neuralgia?

Book a consultation with one of America’s leading experts in peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro have worked with neuropathy patients for almost 20 years and conduct seminars to help patients and doctors improve and reverse neuropathy.

To schedule an appointment, visit nuphoria.com or call our customer service representatives at (844)400-0101. They are available Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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