Shingles – Can They Be Prevented?
Shingles is an extremely painful condition that affects over one million people in North America every year. So, it’s important to know how a person gets shingles and the ways of avoiding it.
Why do people get shingles?
Shingles outbreaks (rashes or blisters on the skin) are associated with the virus, Varicella zoster. Usually, people are exposed to this virus when they get the chickenpox. Other people contract the virus but never have an outbreak or symptoms.
This virus infects most of us when we are children, and about three million children are infected each year. It is believed that after the acute phase of the virus is past, that the virus remains dormant in the nervous system until it breaks out again as shingles.
The virus is essentially the same in both chickenpox and shingles. However, while chickenpox is very contagious, shingles is not. It is interesting to note, if a person who has never had chickenpox is exposed to the open blisters of someone with shingles, they catch chickenpox — not shingles!
Although there is a strong association between the virus and the disease, this association is far from “cause and effect,” because many people who test positive for the virus never get chickenpox or shingles. And, only a tiny fraction of the people who have the virus ever get shingles.
So, the pertinent question is, how can I reduce my risk of getting shingles?
Reducing the risk
Viruses are funny creatures. They behave by rules that are very different from any other life form. In truth, it may not be correct to call a virus a “life form” because a virus has no cells; it is instead, a simple strand of DNA or RNA that penetrate a host cell. Once inside the host, a virus causes the cell DNA to produce copies of the virus — this is how a virus reproduces.
When a virus enters your body you may not show any symptoms at all! It is most likely that you have a live rhinovirus in your nose, hight now, because almost everyone has it. A rhinovirus can easily cause a cold, so why don’t you have one? It’s because your passive immune system keeps the number of viruses under control, below your body’s “epidemic” threshold.
If your passive immune system fails, the virus will proliferate, but still without causing any symptoms. Only when the virus proliferation reaches the epidemic threshold will your body’s active immune system take over bringing on: fever, large-scale mucous secretions, sneezing, and fatigue to force you to sleep (to help raise the elements of passive immunity again). These actions will reduce the number of live rhinoviruses to the “pre-epidemic” levels, and once again, you will peacefully co-exist with your viruses.
In plain english: We are all infected. Just catching the virus — even the Varicella zoster virus — does not produce symptoms. The symptoms appear only after your body’s epidemic threshold is exceeded. This causes your active immune system to “turn on” because the virus population overwhelmed your passive immune system.
You will not have any signs or symptoms of infection as long as your passive immune system functions properly even though you are infected. This is why it is so important to support your immune function.
A rich concentration of nutrients, in a nurturing environment, makes it less likely that you body’s immune systems will be overwhelmed by a virus.
What you can do
The best way to build a healthy foundation and help reduce risk is to take basic nutrients every day. Good examples of the most important anti-virus supplements include:
- A multiple vitamin/mineral supplement
- OmegaPrime essential fatty acids to enable those T-cells to determine which organisms to get rid of and which to keep
- Vitamin B-12 to keep the nerves healthy. Healthy nerves are less likely to allow the Varicella zoster virus to erupt into shingles.
If you have had shingles in the past and you are now dealing with the aftermath (called “post-herpetic neuralgia”), here are 3 steps you can take to minimize the discomfort:
Make sure that you get all the nutrients you need by following the program detailed above.
Enzymes like bromelain and those found in ginger can help reduce the pain.
The amino acid l-Phenylalanine and green tea (both found in EnergyNow! can help reduce the throbbing, stabbing pain associated with shingles.
Most importantly, remember that you need nutrients and nurturing every day to stay healthy. Infections are reminders from our bodies that we are not living in balance with our environment.