Sep 22 2009
The link between Epstein Barr virus and shingles
Epstein Barr, the virus that causes mononucleosis or glandular fever, can weaken the immune system and lead to an outbreak of shingles or Herpes zoster.
Chicken pox and shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Like Epstein Barr virus, the varicella-zoster virus is a member of the herpes family. The virus may lie dormant in the spinal cord or nerve ganglia for years until triggered. Stress, illnesses like Epstein Barr virus, cancer and certain drugs can weaken immunity and trigger shingles.
Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles affects the nerve endings in the skin. An outbreak of shingles is often preceded by a few days of intense pain in the affected area. There may also be Epstein Barr virus type symptoms like fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, loose stools or difficulty urinating.
Numerous painful and itchy blisters then develop. These fluid-filled blisters usually appear on the skin of the abdomen, but can appear anywhere on the body. The blisters last between 7 and 14 days before forming crusty scabs and dropping off. If shingles develop near the eyes, the cornea can become infected, causing vision problems and possibly blindness.
After an attack of shingles, the pain can sometimes last for weeks or months, even though the blisters have cleared up. Chronic pain on the skin is called postherpetic neuralgia. It indicates that the virus is actively replicating.
Natural treatments for Shingles
There are numerous homeopathics which are effectively used for shingles. They include Hypericum, Arnica, Phytolaca, Rhus Tox and Agaricum. Some of these are also effective for Epstein Barr virus.
To help your recovery you need to have a diet high in Lysine. Lysine is an amino acid which is found naturally in protein foods like fish, chicken and meat. It helps to boost immunity and has been shown to be effective against the Herpes zoster virus. You should also take Lysine supplements at the first sign of an outbreak. It is good to take it in a supplement form of 500 mg two to three times a day.
You need to avoid the arginine rich foods like chocolate, grains and nuts which can encourage an outbreak. An immune boosting diet similar to that followed with Epstein Barr virus should be adhered to. This needs to include an abundance of raw fruit and vegetables, quality protein, natural fats and anti-viral foods like garlic and onions.
Some sufferers find that sunlight and heat can trigger an outbreak, so watch your reaction to these.
For shingles as well as Epstein Barr virus, stress reduction, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep and taking the anti-viral supplements like vitamin C, zinc, garlic, selenium are important.
Cold compresses can reduce shingle pain. Cayenne capsules which contain capsaicin can relieve pain and aid healing. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in some of the topical Shingle creams.
Anti-virals like Acyclovir from your doctor can be effective if taken early in the outbreak. After about 3 days these anti-virals appear not to be effective.
If you have developed shingles or Herpes zoster after Epstein Barr virus, then there is a lot you can do with natural therapies. For further information please refer to the mononucleosis treatment plan as discussed in the e-book “Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures” by qualified naturopath Elizabeth Noble.
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