Little did I know that when I got shingles three years ago, it would completely change my life. While most people suffer shingles in silence, mine was on my face and therefore I had to explain to people what was going on with my rash and fatigue. Now that I’m past it, I wanted to share that you too can survive shingles and even in the depths of pain and fatigue, shingles can change your life. Here are three ways shingles changed my life.
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As always check with your doctor for the best shingles advice for your body!
Shingles Reminded Me to Workout Regularly
Shingles attacked my compromised immune system and one of the reasons why my immune system was compromised is because I wasn’t working out on a regular basis. After I got well I promised myself to work out and 3 years later I’m still on track!
Shingles Made Me Slow Down
When I got shingles I had just started a new job and purchased a new home in the same month. That combined with a bad cold made my shingles activate. As I look back I think that I was trying to do too much at one time.
I was running my body ragged, not eating healthy, and certainly not working out like I should have been. Forget about meditation, I was just trying to not stress out every single day! Shingles changed my life and taught me to slow down, to listen to my body, and to treat it better than ever.
Shingles Forced Me to Look Inward
I mentioned family drama and the details aren’t important but what IS important is the way I reacted to said drama. I should have walked away instead of engaging but simply didn’t and engaging added to my stress. I had to remind myself that I can’t control people I can only control my reaction to them.
Thankfully, I was able to take a break from the drama and heal. Even now I steer clear when family issues pop up because I’m reminded of what can happen and why I focus my energy on things that don’t do me any good. It’s just not worth my health anymore.
Ways to Avoid Getting Shingles Again
I’m not a doctor, but here are some general tips that might help reduce the risk of getting shingles (herpes zoster) again:
- Vaccination: The most effective way to prevent shingles is by getting vaccinated with the shingles vaccine. The two vaccines available are Zostavax and Shingrix. Shingrix is recommended for most adults, even those who have previously received Zostavax.
- Maintain a Healthy Immune System: A strong immune system can help prevent shingles outbreaks. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and potentially trigger shingles outbreaks. Practice stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
- Avoid Contact with Shingles Sores: If you’ve had shingles before, avoid direct contact with the sores of someone who currently has shingles, as the virus can be spread through direct contact with the fluid from the blisters.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, especially after touching potentially contaminated surfaces. This can help prevent the spread of the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles.
- Stay Away from Immunocompromised Individuals: If you’re around people with weakened immune systems (e.g., cancer patients undergoing treatment, organ transplant recipients), be cautious as the virus can be more severe for them.
- Stay Healthy: Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of shingles recurrence. Work with your healthcare provider to manage any underlying health conditions.
- Discuss Antiviral Medications with Your Doctor: If you experience early signs of a shingles outbreak, such as pain or tingling before the rash appears, talk to your doctor about antiviral medications. These medications might help reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak.
- Avoid Exposure to Chickenpox: If you’ve never had chickenpox, avoiding exposure to individuals with active chickenpox or shingles can help prevent you from getting infected with the virus.
- Follow Medical Advice: Work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan for preventing shingles recurrence based on your medical history and risk factors.