How Do People Handle a Shingles Outbreak?

A shingles outbreak can make you feel miserable as you fight to keep yourself from scratching your painful, burning rashes. An outbreak of shingles will fade away in about three to four weeks, but in the meantime, there are things you can do to make an outbreak more bearable.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes children to get chicken pox. The symptoms of an outbreak include a red rash on your skin, burning, itching, flaking and painful blisters. Some people also experience fever and sensitivity to light. If you're prone to shingles, take these steps to help you feel better the next time you have an outbreak.

The 7 Steps To Handling Shingles

  1. Apply Cold Compresses
  2. Take Skin-soothing Baths
  3. Get the Rest You Need
  4. Eat Nutritious Foods
  5. Get Light Exercise
  6. Use Medicated Lotions
  7. Practice Stress Reduction

The Steps Explained

When you have an outbreak of shingles, the first thing you need to do is stop the pain and soothe your skin. If your blisters are still fresh, make a cold compress from a clean hand towel soaked in cold water. Press this gently on the blisters to cool and soothe them.

Taking baths with colloidal oatmeal is always a good way to soothe any kind of dry, itchy or burning skin. If you're prone to shingles outbreaks, you should keep stocked up on colloidal oatmeal packets.

You can find them at any drugstore or health food store. Don't worry about buying the brand-name colloidal oatmeal. The generic ones work just as well. Simply add an envelope of the oatmeal to a cool or warm bath, stir it, then get in and soak your skin. Colloidal oatmeal is a well-known remedy for skin problems that will give you lasting relief.

For a natural remedy that will give you quick cooling, open up the pantry and make a cornstarch paste. To do this, mix two parts of cornstarch or baking soda with one part water. Mix until the ingredients form a thick paste. Apply this all over your skin. After letting the paste sit for about 20 minutes, rinse it off in cool water. At this point you can step into an oatmeal bath.

Follow your bath with special, medicated ointments and lotions. The lotions used for insect bites, poison ivy and other skin conditions that cause itching should work. These are as good as gold if you're treating shingles, too. This will help cool your skin and dry the blisters.

Don't use scented lotions or any ointments that contain antibiotics. Be careful not to smother your skin in lotions. Your skin will heal better if it can breathe.

Your body is working hard to fight the virus, so give it the strength it needs by eating healthy, nutritious meals. If you can, buy fresh fruits that will taste cool and sweet. They'll help you feel better and give your body the nutrients it needs.

A good diet to promote healing from shingles is one that's high in vitamins A, B-12, C and E. That includes fresh, brightly colored fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, oranges, limes, bananas, low-fat dairy, fish and chicken. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of sugar or refined carbohydrates.

If you feel up to it, some light exercise can help take your mind off the shingles pain and give you a mood boost. A short stroll around the neighborhood or some gentle yoga stretches are a good idea. Rest is also important. Shingles can cause fatigue and make you feel worn out. Like good food, rest will allow your body to heal.

Stress makes shingles symptoms worse, so try to learn some coping techniques to help you relax mentally as well as physically. Some people turn to hobbies like knitting, crossword puzzles or games to take their mind off the pain and itching. You might also find it helpful to practice meditation, deep breathing or other relaxation techniques.

If you have trouble training yourself to relax, don't feel bad. Many people do. You can purchase audiobooks and other materials that guide you through meditation, hypnosis and other self-relaxing techniques.

Now that you know what to do, you'll be better prepared the next time you have an outbreak of shingles. Make sure you stock up on the products and foods you need and be ready to soothe your shingles when they strike again.