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6 Ways To Treat Shingles At Home

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 18, 2023

6 Ways To Treat Shingles At Home

Shingles often causes painful, itchy, and uncomfortable symptoms. So what shingles treatment at home can help you get over the condition?

What is Shingles?

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox as a child, the shingles virus lurks in the body and can reactivate itself as an adult, causing a shingles rash. This condition can occur on any part of the body.

The first symptom of shingles is usually pain, followed by blisters on the skin a few days later. Some people with shingles may also experience other symptoms such as fever, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. The shingles virus can survive for 2 to 6 weeks. There is currently no cure for shingles, but your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the infection and reduce symptoms. In addition, you can also combine the following shingles treatments at home to speed up recovery.

Shingles Treatment You Can Do At Home

Shingles treatment with herbal essential oils

Essential oils are long-used herbal remedies for skin conditions. Some essential oils have properties that can help reduce irritation and repair the skin. These essential oils include:

Chamomile essential oil: With its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it can improve sores and pressure sores by supporting skin cell regeneration.

Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus): It has anti-inflammatory properties and can speed up the healing of ulcers in cancer patients.

Tea tree oil: It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and can promote wound healing.

You should consult your doctor before using essential oils and note that you should buy them from reputable pharmacies to limit fakes.<

Shingles Treatment with Cleaning

Cleaning your blisters daily can help reduce your risk of infection. You can take a cool shower to soothe your skin; cool water will help relieve pain and soothe the itching caused by the blisters. You can pour 1 to 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal that is finely ground and boiled to form a gel) or corn starch in warm bath water, and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

You should not use hot water as it will make the treatment of shingles and blisters worse because the heat increases blood flow. After bathing, you should dry your body completely and then wash the towel to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Shingles Treatment with Cool Compress

Besides bathing to relieve the pain and itching caused by shingles, you can apply a cool, damp compress to the rash. You can do this several times a day to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. To do this, soak a clean gauze pad in cool water, wring it, and apply the cloth to the rash and blisters. The gauze will provide a cooling sensation to help relieve pain and relieve discomfort.

You should not treat shingles by applying an ice pack to the rash. Ice can increase skin sensitivity and may cause additional pain.

Shingles Treatment with Cornstarch Mixture

You can use cornstarch or baking soda and water to help relieve the itching caused by the rash. The way to do it is to pour two parts cornstarch or baking soda into a cup, then add one part water to get the desired consistency. Combine the mixture into a paste. Then apply this mixture to your rash and wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes. You can repeat it as many times a day as needed.

Shingles Treatment with Lotion

Accidentally scratching the shingles rash can cause scarring and make the blisters last longer. Lotions don’t speed up the treatment of shingles, but can make you feel better. You should avoid using lotions with fragrances or perfumes because they can irritate the skin rash. The best way is to use an unscented lotion.<

You should only apply the cream in a thin layer. If applied too thickly, it can make it difficult for the rash to dry and prolong the treatment of shingles. You should also avoid using antibiotic ointments on sores.

You should choose a cream containing the natural ingredient capsaicin and use it up to 3-4 times a day for better results. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers that has anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce pain.

The pain may increase after applying the cream, but will slowly go away. This cream works by reducing pain signals sent to the brain. Alternatively, you can apply calamine lotion after bathing to soothe irritated skin and help dry up blisters.

Shingles Treatment with Diet

Your weakened immune system can make shingles worse. Changing your diet can help you strengthen your immune system and prevent shingles from spreading to other parts of your body.

The way to treat shingles is to use foods containing vitamins A, B12, C, and E, and the amino acid lysine. This food group includes:

  • Eggs,
  • milk
  • Green leaves
  • Grains
  • Beef, pork, chicken, fish
  • Fruits that ae orange and yellow

At the same time, you should also avoid some of the following foods during shingles treatment:

  • Foods rich in saturated fat
  • Foods containing refined carbohydrates
  • Juices and snacks high in sugar

If you eat too much of these foods, they can weaken your immune system and even make your illness worse.

Besides nutrition, you also need to limit bad habits such as smoking or stressful work. These factors can make the shingles treatment process take longer. Home remedies for shingles can help you improve your symptoms. However, you should still consult your doctor to avoid unwanted side effects. 

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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