6 Ways To Treat Shingles At Home

Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. While the infection can be treated with vaccination and medicines, the virus continues to remain dormant in the body and causes shingles when activates. People above 50 years of age with a history of chickenpox have more chances of the virus becoming active again.

The painful rashes that can appear anywhere on your body like a stripe of blisters especially on your neck, face, or torso are shingles. And these rashes could make life difficult until they dry down.

Shingles develop in three stages

First Stage: Prodromal Phase

• Headache
• The emergence of small patches with pain and burning sensation
• Discomfort
• Photophobia

Second Stage: Acute Phase

• The emergence of fluid-filled blisters
• Red patches
• The appearance of rashes on one side of the torso, face, and ears

Third Stage

Luckily most people suffering from shingles don’t experience the third stage which is the most complicated stage of shingles.

• Rashes in the eyes
• Nerve fibers and the brain are affected
• Severe pain in the ears, loss of taste, and dizziness
• Subsequent bacterial infections

Causes And Risk Factors

• History of chickenpox
• Aging
• HIV/AIDS and cancer
• Certain treatments
• Medicines like steroids

The rashes last for 7-10 days and heal completely in 4 weeks but the healing time and quality of healing could vary from one person to another. Also, shingles could appear again, if the treatment isn’t taken.

Taking a vaccine is the most convenient and reliable way of treating shingles. Also, you shouldn’t delay taking treatment once you start seeing signs of shingles.

Managing Shingles At Home

  1. Oatmeal Baths
Oatmeal Baths


• Oatmeal (1-2 cups)
• Water

How To:

• Fill your bathtub with water and add oatmeal to the water
• Soak in the oatmeal solution for 15-20 minutes
• Get a regular bath after the treatment
• Take oatmeal bath regularly

How It Works?

Oatmeal is a good antioxidant. Also, it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that soothe itchiness and inflammation of shingles.

  1. Hot/Cold Compress
Hot Cold Compress


• Cold Compress (1 piece)

How To:

• Take a cold/hot compress and apply it to the affected area
• Place it on shingles for 12-50 minutes
• Remove the pack and pat the area to dry
• Wash or dispose of the compress after use
• Do it 1-2 times a day until the blisters stop oozing

How It Works?

A cold/hot compress is considered a better treatment for shingles because a cold compress is effective in controlling the inflammation and swelling of the skin in case of a physical injury. A hot compress can treat the symptoms of cold sores.

  1. Vitamins

Increasing vitamins C and D consumption could help treat shingles. Doctors prescribe intravenous vitamin C to patients suffering from pain and other symptoms associated with infection. Vitamin D triggers immunomodulatory activities that can help soothe the itching sensation associated with shingles.

For consumption of vitamins C and D, you can take supplements. Or you can add citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and fish to your diet. These food items are rich in these vitamins.

  1. Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil


• Virgin Coconut Oil (1tsp)
• Cotton Balls

How To:

• Take a few drops of coconut oil in a coconut ball
• Apply the oil to the affected skin
• Leave the oil on the shingles for 15-20 minutes
• Rinse it off with cold water
• Discard the cotton ball after using
• Do it 1-2 times daily

How It Works?

Coconut oil contains excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can soothe itching, pain, and inflammation associated with shingles.

  1. Garlic


• Garlic Cloves (4-5 pieces)
• Cotton Pads

How To:

• Peel the garlic cloves and crush them properly to make a paste
• Apply the paste to your shingles using a cotton pad
• Leave the paste on the affected area for 15-30 minutes
• Rinse off it with cold water
• Do it 1-2 times daily
• Discard the cotton pads after using them

How It Works?

Garlic is antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Its compounds can help fight the infection and control the symptoms like pain, itching, and swelling. Garlic compounds can even neutralize the virus responsible for shingles.

  1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil


• Tea Tree Oil (3 drops)
• Coconut Oil (1-2tsp)
• Cotton Balls

How To:

• Make a solution of tea tree oil and coconut oil
• Soak the solution in a cotton ball
• Apply the solution to the affected skin
• Let the solution sit on the shingles for 20-25 minutes
• Rinse if off with warm water
• Do it 1-2 times daily
• Discard the cotton ball after use

How It Works?

Tea tree oil helps treat shingles as it contains excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Applying tea tree oil to the affected area can soothe itching and pain. Since it has antiviral properties, it can speed up recovery.

How To Prevent Shingles?

The best thing you can do to prevent shingles is to get properly vaccinated for chickenpox if you never had the infection. Also, people in the age group of 50-60 should, who had the diseases, should get a vaccine for shingles.

Shingles is a contagious disease; you need to take care to keep others in your family safe from the disease. Do the following things, if you have shingles.

• Keep the affected area covered until the rashes are dry completely
• Maintain a safe distance from your family members and friends
• Maintain hygiene and separate your utensils

Final Thoughts

Shingles is a viral infection but it could be painful and difficult to manage. The infection causes fluid-filled blisters, red patches, and rashes on the skin. Also, the affected skin could develop itching and pain. If you had chickenpox and you are over 50 years of age, you are vulnerable to the development of shingles anytime. It is better to take precautions like getting vaccinated for shingles.

If you develop shingles, you should visit your doctor for treatment. Also, you can try home treatment with oatmeal, tea tree oil, garlic paste, coconut oil, vitamins, and cold/hot compress. But home treatment can provide short-term relief from the symptoms. It will give you some time to take proper treatment.

Disclaimer: The above information is for educational purposes only and the readers are advised to consult their doctors before starting a home treatment.

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