Common Causes and Risk Factors of Shingles

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a viral condition that causes a painful rash on the skin. This condition occurs when the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox, reactivates and infects nerves in the body. While anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, it’s more common for older adults and people with weakened immune systems. There are several other factors that can increase your risk of getting shingles as well.

What are the common causes of Shingles?

One of the main causes of shingles is a weakened immune system, which can be caused by a number of factors.

These include:

  • Age

The risk of shingles increases as you get older. This is because the immune system weakens with age.

  • Stress

Stress can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.

  • Trauma to the skin

Injury to the skin can cause shingles. This includes surgery, burns, or other wounds.

  • Cancer

People with cancer are at a higher risk of developing shingles

What are the risk factors of Shingles?

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing shingles. These include:

  • Medications or treatments for cancer

Taking immune-suppressing drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy drugs, and undergoing radiation therapy, can increase your chances of getting shingles.

  • Chronic illnesses or conditions

Having certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, HIV, AIDS, or rheumatoid arthritis, can make it more difficult for the immune system to fight off infections. This makes you more susceptible to getting shingles. Having an ongoing illness, autoimmune conditions like lupus can also contribute to you getting Shingles.

  • Obesity and a lack of physical activity

Being overweight or obese can weaken the immune system. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to a weakened immune system.

  • Smoking

Smoking cigarettes can damage the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.

  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Certain chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides, can weaken the immune system.

  • Excessive alcohol use

Drinking too much alcohol can also damage the immune system.

  • Certain medications

Medications that are used to tackle high blood pressure or cholesterol, such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, can also increase your risk of developing shingles.

  • Climate type

Living in a region with a temperate climate, where UV rays from the sun are more intense, can also increase your risk of developing shingles.

What are some things you can do to get rid of your Shingles condition?

There are a number of treatments that can help reduce the symptoms or severity of shingles. Here is a list of what you can do to get rid of your Shingles rash condition:

  • Antiviral medications
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Cool compresses or baths
  • Wearing loose, comfortable clothing
  • Getting regular exercise and staying hydrated
  • Managing stress with relaxation techniques

If you have a weakened immune system, your doctor may also recommend immunoglobulin therapy or vaccinations to help prevent shingles.

There are some people who opt for home remedies such as using raw ingredients like:

  • Aloe vera
  • Manuka honey
  • Vitamin C
  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Chamomile oil

If you’re interested in trying a home remedy, it’s important to talk to your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you. Some home remedies may interact with other medications you’re taking or make your condition worse.


While shingles is a painful and unpleasant condition, early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the symptoms and prevent complications from developing. If you suspect that you might have shingles, consult your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

If you experience severe symptoms or complications from shingles, such as nerve pain or vision loss, it is important to speak to a doctor right away. You may also want to make dietary and lifestyle changes to help improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing shingles in the future.

Some strategies for improving your health include eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, managing stress effectively, and seeking support from friends and family during difficult times.

There are many things you can do to help manage the symptoms of shingles and improve your overall health. Whether you choose to try natural remedies or seek medical treatment, there are steps you can take to feel better and reduce your risk of developing complications in the future. Consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns about managing your condition.

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