Shingles are not contagious. BUT, a person with shingles can give chicken pox to anyone around them. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those on chemotherapy or radiation therapy, those with a bad immune system, and babies and little kids who have not yet had the immunization. It was once thought best to try to have your children get chicken pox from a friend or schoolmate - on purpose - so they would get them while they were young. It is much worse to have chicken pox when you are older (and it can make males sterile). But, we now know that the lifelong risk from ever having chicken pox is to get shingles someday. Some people have a very light case of shingles, but most suffer terribly. Without taking the antiviral medication at the onset of shingles, all are at risk of nerve pain lasting for years or a lifetime.
Apply natural apple cider vinegar,
just as it comes from the bottle, to the skin area where the shingles are located, four times during the day and three times during the night if you are awake. The itching and burning sensation in the skin will leave usually within a few minutes after the vinegar is applied.
Use Jewelweed Anti-Itch Spray.
Take a multivitamin that includes: Lysine, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Magnesium.
Avoid such chocolate, nuts, and seeds since they contain arginine which counteracts the beneficial effects of Lysine.
Take probiotic acidophilus capsules.
Take garlic tablets. Better yet, eat garlic.
Try antihistamines, particularly Benadryl, oatmeal baths, and CalaGel. You can also get relief in an anti-itch spray.
Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve can help with the nerve and muscle pain. These will also lessen the pain of the rash since they all reduce inflammation. Tylenol does not.
Avoid heat and direct sunlight. Even after the bout with shingles is over, a sunburn may reactivate the virus.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Starting an oral antiviral medicine within 3 days from the start of the rash will usually shorten the duration and intensity of shingles. More importantly, it will usually prevent permanent nerve pain. For those who want to avoid chemical medications, Sambucol may be effective since it is an antiviral medicine made from elderberry extract. Sambucol is reported to give remarkable results when taken for the flu or a cold (both are also viruses), and it is available without a doctor's prescription. You can also get Sambucol for Kids or Sambucol tablets.
The most effective way to take an antiviral medicine is around the clock. This will prevent being unprotected for hours.