The difficulty of diagnosis with rashes and Shingles!
Herbalists Shouldn’t get sick is a view by many people who don’t understand the real point.
Herbalists do get health issues. One big difference between herbalists and people who don't use herbs is alternative medicine. Herbalists use natural medicine the majority of the time to deal with their health issues. It isn't that we don't have health issues, it’s that we deal with them with a different attitude and set of tools. One auto accident and a nasty fall added to some bad genetics have caused me to explore and find answers in alternative medicine.
Most of you don't know this, but I worked for doctors when I was young. I was a lab and medical assistant. I also worked with the drug salesmen that came to call on the doctors. I helped order drugs for the outreach clinic that serviced the Indian reservation in San Diego, County. In those days, before the casinos and the money that came with that, the people were so bad off. There was TB and many sick children and adults. I both worked and believed in the standard medical system. It was only after my youngest was born and had serious immune system problems that standard medicine could not solve, did I delve into alternative medicine for answers. I got my Master Herbalist degree to help her.
After a year of antibiotics, I could see they were making her worse not better. In those days, doctors did not realize that long term antibiotic use hurts the immune function and sets up drug resistant problems in the body. I saw it and they told me I was crazy. I was told that antibiotic resistance could not happen. I saw it happening. I took her and myself off the standard medicine grid to the displeasure of my husband then. It was her life at stake. I was right to do so. So I have a standard medical background, as well as, alternative medicine. There are fewer herbalists out there with a solid background in both worlds.
It was during my third pregnancy that my right leg's vein system with genetic weaknesses, failed to hold up. The vein system failure ended up resulting in phlebitis or deep vein inflammation resulting in blood clots on and off . I used alternative medicine then and now to keep me out of the hospital and alive. I have worked with my leg with alternative medicine for 38 years successfully. Instead of taking blood thinning drugs which have pages of side effects, I have used alternative medicine.
So reoccurring shingles is one health issue I have dealt with over the past 5 years. Up to this time, it was a very mild case always over a small patch of skin. It did not affect my life much, more annoyance than anything else. The original cause was a burn that got infected, and then later was affected by Shingles as a result. Shingles often attacks damaged areas of skin. The Shingles vaccine does not stop Shingles outbreaks completely in all people but reduces the outbreaks and severity in many. I know because I got one reluctantly. I had felt up to this point that perhaps the shot had been beneficial but am now questioning that it had any value at all. Perhaps changing my diet to exclude chocolate and other Arginine foods was the real reason I had experienced few reoccurrences. I also take Lysine on a regular basis.
Shingles is one of the most painful conditions you can endure. Shingles can involve a small area or a large area. Shingles is actually a infection in the nerves of the skin. Shingles in some people can reoccur, just read the blogs written by shingles sufferers. I am one of them. The PNR ( postherpetic neuralgia) pain associated with severe shingles can last for weeks or months.
What does a bad case of Shingles with PNR pain feel like?
Your skin is so hypersensitive that even the light touch of your hand brings pain. It is like a horrendous sunburn that takes weeks to ease. The pain is part itch and burning pain. You can feel every nerve on the skin. Clothing feels unbearable. The pain is distracting affecting sleep and concentration. Those of you who have experienced shingles in the severe form can back me up on this statement.
Shingles or Poisonous Weed Rash? Misdiagnosis is a real problem.
I am sharing with you my experience with rashes and Shingles to demonstate just how difficult it is to get a correct diagnosis on a rash. It may be relevent to your situation and difficulty getting help in the medical sytem.
I had the misfortune of getting a bad case of shingles the past two weeks. It was actually thought to be weed rash from some weed cleanup we did on the property, since my husband's arms were a mess of rashes as well. I had helped him carry the brush away from the house, so it stood to reason that was the case. After using the normal remedies such as tree oil, I had a intensely red and itchy rash all over my left arm. Then they began spreading over my torso but I still thought it was from the weeding. I had carried the brush on that side of my body down the hill. We were both really miserable.....severely so. We used our typical regimen of tea tree oil and Goldenseal. It helped his rash but didn't make a dent on mine. Mine continued to spread. I was perplexed at that point. Why wasn't it working on my rash?
Since our alternative medicine remedies were not making a dent on the rash, we went to a dermatologist. Her diagnosis on mine was eczema, which I knew was wrong. She persisted with her diagnosis, so I gave up. His was diagnosed as a weed rash which was probably correct. She ignored the fact I was weeding the same area. She gave us two ointments which did not help mine at all and made them hurt worse. She would offer me nothing more or consider any other diagnosis.
So I went to plan B thinking it was a bacterial infection on mine, like I had experienced last year. Gardening here makes it imperative to wear gloves. But gloves don't cover your arms and torso. Bacterial infections spread and are nasty to contain at times. I normally use colloidal silver gel but we were out. The normal regimen goldenseal and tea tree oil was not having much effect, which should work on a bacterial infection. So what next?
So I ordered colloidal silver gel which is expensive but the rash was awful. It took three days to get here by Amazon Prime. The colloidal silver did stop the itching on the left arm for the most part but the rash was still spreading from the arm to the left torso but with different looking huge nasty welts different than the ones on my arm. I was really stumped. The welts were huge and severely painful. They felt like someone had burnt the welt deeply into the skin area. Then the hypersensitivity began to worsen to the whole area of skin. I could feel it spreading over the nerve paths from the left side to the right like a blanket of hypersensitivity and pain.
It hit me then that the rash was shingles, not what my husband had or bacterial. Shingles is about the only rash that comes with severe PNR pain. Most rashes itch or hurt but does not cause the skin to overall become hypersensitive to touch. I spent hours researching that aspect of rashes. The pain was so intense, I wanted to make sure if possible that it was shingles.
So we went to another doctor on a well visit appointment that had been scheduled for two months. This new doctor stated, the rash was not eczema but was not sure what it was. She wanted to send me to doctor who was an expert in infections. She said it didn't present itself like the classic shingles, even thought the PNR pain was particular to shingles. The whole rash was affecting the left side which is a hallmark of shingles. She would not culture it.
So I went home and decided to see what a regimen of shingles treatment would do. Even if it was PNR pain from something else, I wanted to try it since the doctor offered nothing. I might add that the second doctor, being short handed, did not get to making me another appointment. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. After two days of calls to them and no help, I figured I was better off going back to try my own regimen.
I spent a day reviewing rashes and their symptoms. None of them came with PNR pain or spread mainly on one side of the body. Shingles was the only rash that meant that criteria. I also saw that the rash did not always look the same. Some of the pictures looked like the rash on my arm and some looked more like the welts. It was also stated that Shingles can cover over a larger area and take over multiple nerve paths. This was not the classic presentation.
I reviewed research from a well known holistic clinic, the natural approach to dealing with Shingles and PNR pain to be sure I was not missing anything that might help. I had always used lysine, aloe spray and aloe gel to solve the problem. I had just purchased a colloidal silver machine and had begun making my own. The gel is hard to do yourself.
How I treated my shingles like rash with PNR pain with natural medicine? I state it this way since I could not get a concrete diagnosis.
If the rash had been staph or bacterial this following regimen would have been inadequate. The lysine would not have helped and it would have needed either heavy duty herbal antibiotics or prescription antibiotics. Staph is very dangerous because it can take over the blood stream and kill you. A PROPER diagnosis is important.
Mild Shingles case: How I treat my Shingles; Lysine; 3000 milligrams in divided doses, Vitamin C 3000 mg, B-Complex, Immune herbs three times a day. I use aloe spray without alcohol which is hard to find and colloidal silver gel. I buy the aloe online since the only kind they carry in spray often is the one containing alcohol. I may use Colloidal silver gel as well both orally and the gel. Colloidal silver kills pathogens including viruses. This is what I used the two other times when Shingles was concretely diagnosed.
I am sharing with you my program. If you are taking prescription drugs, you should get your doctor's advice on your treatment. Call an herbal doctor and get their help. I am a Master Herbalist who had worked with herbs and my own body for over 30 years. I don't go to doctors unless I need a diagnosis or my program will not work and I feel its serious. It helps to know for sure what you are fighting.
The problem with getting a diagnosis is that between my husband and myself, we have had more wrong diagnosis than correct diagnosis. No doctor yet has properly diagnosed my husband’s MRSA staph infections he gets on his arms until the later stages. One got so bad it required IV treatment. My bacterial infection last year on my arm from a dirty metal cut was misdiagnosed by three doctors. That was a stubborn one that ended up taking over both arms. It seemed to be resistant against anything I tried. Through experience, we now know how to stop MRSA quickly which will be another blog.
MRSA infections are tough, even with herbal medicine at times. Often, it takes trial and error to find the right treatment and dosage to stop a severe staph or bacterial infection no matter which protocol (standard or alternative) you use. If you only use standard medicine and they misdiagnose it, refuse to listen to you, and refuse to culture it.....you will not get your problem solved.
My home treatment for shingles and shingles like rash with PNR pain....severe case.
I had already started alternative medicine when the PNR pain began. I increased the dosage considerably. With the exception of Esseac and Colladial Silver and gel, this is part of the protocol from Whole Health Chicago on shingles treatment. The rest of the Chicago Whole Health protocol is continued in the rest of this article featured here in my article directory. This subject needs more discussion than this blog, which is longer than usual.
- 1500 mg of lysine three times a day,
- Esseac tea (4 ounces) every four hours was started. Esseac supports immune function and helps clean out the blood and whole body of toxins. I used it on a daily basis but increased the dosage up to 4 ounces, 4 times a day.
- My dosage of B-complex with extra B-12 and nervine herbs such as Valerian were tripled.
- I took Colloidal silver, 2 ounces every two hours.
- I used colloidal silver gel over all the welts and rashes every couple of hours. You can try aloe spay or gel over the areas. I used the aloe spray initially because touching my skin was agony. Its effect was limited. When that did not seem to reduce the welts adequately or their effect, I went to the more expensive silver gel. The silver get was much more effective in the long run. I went through three tubes of silver gel.
- The Chicago Whole Health website offers more alternative medicine therapy for shingles. I picked some of theirs and my own to fight this problem. If what I was doing had not worked, I would have tried more of their suggestions.
By 1 1/2 days later, the shingles plus regimen of treatment had reduced my pain down by 60% and now only three days later the PNR symptoms are gone completely. The rash remains but stopped spreading and itching stopped on all of the rashes and welts. It has now been a week and the welts are still faintly visible but no symptoms. I could have been feeling better a week sooner if I had realized it was not a poisonous weed rash. The misdiagnosis by the first doctor and the other doctors refusal to identify it did not help either. I normally have really nice skin and have never had acne, eczema or unhealthy skin conditions. This has been a new unwelcome experience but hopefully what I learned may help a reader with this problem.
My husband and I had different rashes that just happened to occur at the same time. I have to say that rashes are hard to diagnose for skin doctors. There is a hundred different rashes and they don't always present themselves in the classic way. When you work at gardening and in projects around your property, you can run into poison plants, spider bites, flying bug bites, crawling bugs of every description, and bacteria in the soil that can cause problems. Rashes are one of the hardest problems in medicine. Then there is Shingles, bacterial and staph to give you more variety. Some rashes are never identified by a doctor, they don't have a clue.
What brought the Shingles attack on?
Stress is one of the factors. Having my father-in-law live with us who suffers from dementia has been difficult the past 5 months.
I had been given a gift of those wonderful dark covered chocolate squares. I love chocolate but have eaten little of it for two years. What can I say…I broke my rules and ate them over several days. This was my third bout of shingles but the other two outbreaks only covered a small area and came with little PNR pain. Normally reoccurring shingles appears in the same area.
The first bout was precipitated by a nasty burn on my leg. It was cultured by a good doctor who did diagnose it correctly. The burn got infected with staph, and then later shingles would appear over that area. Often shingles occurs over a burned area or area of damaged skin.
Drugs often suppress your immune function including corticosteroids, cancer therapies, and bone marrow transplants.
Certain foods that contain Arginine, trigger shingles at times. So does stress or hormonal changes in women. I stopped all chocolate after the second bout of shingles, as well as other foods containing Arginine such as peanut butter, almonds, corn, peanuts, and gelatin). Certain foods or stress bring it on. So after being good all this time, I had eaten the chocolate squares over several days. I did not overeat the chocolate but my system did not see it that way. I paid a high price for my weakness.
The reduction of stress is important whether it be music, exercise, church activities, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or herbs such as valerian or passion flower.
Other natural remedies to use with Shingles and PNR pain suggested by the Whole Health Chicago clinic:
Vitamin C- prevents the spread of the viral rash. Start taking the Vitamin C when the tingling begins before the rash breaks out.
Vitamin E: 400 IU twice a day
Echinacea- an herb that stimulates the immune system and helps lower the severity of the infection and may keep it from breaking out. Again take the Echinacea early.
High dosages of Vitamin E and a B-12 shot containing 1000 mcg with 400 mcg of folic acid may help reduce the severity of the outbreak. It may sooth the irritated nerve endings that contribute to the severe PNR pain.
Wash the rash with soap and water or a tree oil wash to keep them from getting infected. Try not to scratch them. Cover the rash if possible to keep you from scratching them and to keep dirt away from the rash.
Cold, wet compresses applied to the lesions for 15-30 min using zinc sulfate solution at 0.025% or Burow’s solution help with the itch and pain. Dry the area then apply one of the following creams. You may have to try more than one to find which works for you.
Creams with lemon balm or licorice may help heal the lesions.
When the blisters are fully healed you can use a Capsaicin based cream to reduce pain in the area.
Acupuncture Therapy along with Chinese medicine has been proven to work on PNR pain, especially when started early on. There are some excellent Chinese herbal formulas that work on improving immune function. Chinese medicine is very precise and knowing the right combination of Chinese herbs for your condition is difficult. I would suggest going to acupuncture specialist who is experienced and educated on Chinese medicine to give you an individual assessment based on your treatment needs. The right herb or herbal formulation for the specific illness is important. Herbs in some cases cleanse; they repair and rebuild; they may ease inflammation; they often work on a particular system of the body such as the endocrine system or the immune system.
Homepathy: Apis Mellifica, Arsenicum album, Rhus toxicodendron, or Ranunculus Bulbosus are all used but it depends on the stage of the welts so it would be wise to consult a homeopathic doctor or book on the subject to take them correctly. Homeopathic medicine is very dependent on symptoms and very precise. It is more complex in dosage and administration than other forms of alternative medicine. Homeopathy can be extremely effective but you must take it correctly and take the proper formula and dose to work. I feel often the problem with people saying it does not work is they have no idea what to take or how to take it. Lack of experience is a big issue. You may think you are treating one problem but it is a whole different issue involved.
Hypnotherapy can help in managing pain, as well as, biofeedback.d
Standard Medicine Below:
Antiviral drugs are available for Shingles and are most effective when started during the first two days of the outbreak. I do not take drugs normally unless the other natural regimen does not work. Of course, that is only my view for my own health. It is an option to reduce the outbreak and time affected.
The Chicago Clinic does not suggest C. Silver but I have found it works for many health problems including Shingles. The Silver Gel is extremely effective too. Esseac is not on their regimen but I feel it is effective and beneficial. Both natural therapies are on my regimen for Shingles and other health problems.
When doctors are forced by Obama Care to submit pages and pages to the insurance carrier, that results in doctors who have less time to review your chart, less time to talk to you as they type in what you are telling them, and much less time to examine you. Two of my doctor visits came with a statement by the nurse, that the doctor would only have 15 minutes to see me. Wow, now that is sad. I kid you not. How can they really give people proper diagnosis and treatment with 15 minutes.
References: The Chicago Whole Health Clinic