Q: My wife has had a terrible shingles outbreak. Internet searches are leading to nothing but frustration, and our doctor hasn’t been able to help. She’s in pain — what can we do?
Dr. Wright: Since your wife’s pain has been present for so long, it is possible that she could be suffering from post-herpetic neuralgia.
A study published in 2003 in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that topical geranium oil might be a good option for immediate relief. The more highly concentrated, the better, with study participants reporting pain relief in direct proportion to the percentage of geranium oil present in their topical mixture.
Capsaicin cream has also been shown to provide some relief.
Even if the infection from the herpes virus that causes shingles has subsided, taking general “infection-prevention” steps would still be a good way to support your wife’s system overall. I discussed these at some length in the April 2001 issue of Nutrition & Healing, but just to briefly recap, general recommendations include eliminating sugar, refined carbohydrates, and allergies (if any). Also, incorporating at least 25,000 IU of vitamin A, 25 milligrams of zinc, and 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C, twice daily can boost the protection even more.