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Shingles

 

Herpes zoster, the medical term for shingles, is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus that causes chicken pox. What causes a reactivation of the virus is unknown, but it often develops when the immune system is suppressed.

 

An attack typically starts with a localized tingling and burning sensation of the skin. A few days later blisters similar to those of chicken pox develop. These blisters follow the path of a nerve. Serious complications can develop if the virus infects an eye or migrates to the brain.

 

Some doctors believe that good nutrition may help prevent postherpetic neuralgia, a long-term complication marked by nerve pain even after symptoms of shingles disappear.

 

Beneficial nutrients. Vitamin E, an antioxidant found in nuts, seeds, wheat germ, and vegetable oils, and the bioflavonoids found in fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C may also help prevent the inflammation associated with postherpetic neuralgia. Vitamin C supports your body's immune system, as do zinc-rich foods like seafood, meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, beans, nuts, and whole grains. If neuralgia does develop, however, the pain may be eased with applications of an ointment that contains capsaicin.

     
     

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