Shingles, a very painful condition suffered by many, can be prevented or the symptoms can at least be lessened when using an effective prevention strategy. When shingles attack, the symptoms can make even the simplest daily tasks seem impossible. Those who suffer from shingles know that these attacks come and go, particularly after age 60. That's the bad news.
The good news is that this condition can be prevented using known prevention strategies available from your health care provider. There are simple actions you can take to help keep the outbreaks to a minimum when they do occur, and you may even reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
The first step is proper diagnosis. With the help of your health care provider, the location of the outbreak, the associated pain that occurs, and the path the rash takes will help to formulate an appropriate strategy to alleviate at least some of the symptoms. Get medical help as early as possible. Noticing the precursor symptoms and notifying your health care provider right away can help to stop the outbreak in its tracks before it becomes a full blown attack.
Those who have reached the age of 60 may opt to take a shingles vaccination as an important part of their prevention strategy. Many physicians believe that although patients aged 50 to 59 have been approved for the vaccine, it is far more effective if taken after age 60. The vaccine acts as protection from the virus that causes chickenpox. Though chickenpox is generally known as a childhood illness, it contains the same virus that causes the shingles reaction in older adults. In fact, those who have had, or been exposed to, chickenpox as a child will carry remnants of the same virus throughout their lifetime. The specific virus, known as varicella-zoster, will be carried in the body indefinitely. Shingles is the painful outcome of the body's reaction to a resurgence of the virus as one reaches approximately 60 years of age or older. The shingles vaccination helps to curb the reaction caused by the virus that has been lying in a dormant state.
There are also daily strategies you can use at home to help ward off the outbreaks. Taking vitamins C, A, B-Complex, Selenium, Beta-glucan, Zinc, Ginseng, Licorice, and Lactobacillus acidophilus in correctly measured amounts will boost your immune system and keep the virus at bay. These vitamins may help between incidents, but they are certainly not enough to stop the process once it begins. Vitamins C and B-12 can be effective when taken daily at home, but must be given intravenously in high doses for maximum effect once the virus becomes active. Taking oral over-the-counter vitamins are no substitute unless there is a pharmacist/doctor collaboration to determine the appropriate dosage and frequency.
Don't let shingles cause disruptions in your daily routine and keep you from doing the things you enjoy. If you are experiencing a potential outbreak, it is important to contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Engage in a prevention strategy, including helpful shingles treatments designed by your health care provider to help reduce the likelihood of a future attack.