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What is Herpes Zoster?

Herpes zoster or shingles is a viral infection of the skin. It comes as a line of small painful blisters around an area especially on the left or right torso. But the disease can affect any area of the body.

It is caused by a virus called Varicella zoster virus – the same virus which causes chickenpox. Once a person has had an attack of chickenpox, the virus may enter a nerve pathway and remains hidden there for many years until it is reactivated again to produce shingles. Though herpes is not a life-threatening condition, it is a very painful condition.


Symptoms of Herpes Zoster

Herpes zoster usually develops over a small area on one side of the body along the pathway of the nerve which has been affected by the virus.

The signs and symptoms are:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A red, painful rash with blisters which follows after some days of the pain
  • Severe itching
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to touch


Causes of Herpes Zoster

Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral skin infection caused by Varicella zoster virus which also causes chickenpox.

Once a person has had an attack of chickenpox, the virus then travels in the nervous system and lies hidden in the spinal cord or brain. After some days, or years the virus gets reactivated and travels to the surface of the skin producing herpes zoster. The lesions are thus produced along the nerve pathway through which the virus has traveled to the surface.

The reason why the virus gets reactivated is unclear. But the lowered immunity in an individual or old age lead to decreased protection against infections and thus the person may come up with this disease.

The virus may spread to other individuals through physical contact with the person himself or with the things used by him. But when it spreads, it causes chickenpox and not herpes if the person in contact with the infected one has lowered immunity.

A person is contagious until the lesions of herpes scab over.


Diagnosis of Herpes Zoster

The diagnosis of herpes zoster can be made by asking proper medical history of pain followed by the herpes lesions. If the person gives a typical history and the lesions are typically on one side of the body, present in a strap, then it can be clearly diagnosed as herpes zoster.

Sometimes skin scrapings are sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination if the diagnosis is not clear.

Self help

  • Cold compresses or washing the affected area with cold water may help to relieve itching and pain.
  • Avoid scratching or touching the lesions.
  • Avoid contact with those who have lowered immunity and also with children or pregnant ladies.

 Homoeopathic Management of Herpes Zoster

Homoeopathic medicines reduce the intensity of pain, burning and reduce infection, and shorten the duration of infection.

Relapses are also prevented by homeopathy.

Homeopathy is also very effective in the cases of Post-herpetic neuralgia.


Arsenicum Alb

  • Intense burning sensation
  • Chilly patient
  • Burning  warmth
  • Thirst sip by sip
  • Mid day midnight aggravation
  • Great Prostration
  • Restlessness, Anxious, Fastidious

Apis Mellifica

  • Burning Stinging pain with intense itching
  • Oversensitive to touch
  • warmth in general
  • cold application, uncovering
  • Thirstless

Ranunculus Bulbosus

  • Intercostal Shingles
  • Seen on front and back of chest
  • Intense burning and itching with soreness


  • Bright red and burning eruptions
  • Intolerable itching
  • cold air

Rhus Tox

  • Red itchy rash with vesicles
  • warmth
  • cold
  • damp rainy weather


  • Moist herpes with small white vesicle forming scabs on whole face esp above nose and around eyes
  • Burning after scratching
  • washing, bathing, a warmth of bed
  • Standing is worst position
  • Dirty filthy people prone to skin affections
  • after a bath