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L-Lysine Against Shingles and Cold Sores

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Q. In a recent column you answered a question about L-lysine and shingles. I have been taking L-lysine for various forms of herpes for over 20 years, and it has kept me virtually outbreak-free.

It is also important to avoid nuts and chocolate. Dietary restraint together with L-lysine have worked better for me than acyclovir, which I took for a year as part of a study at the University of Rochester.

I have read about both nut avoidance and L-lysine, but often when I speak to physicians about it they are not aware of it. A lot of pain and discomfort could be avoided if they were.

A. We heard from several other readers who use L-lysine supplements to ward off cold sores or shingles. One said: “I have been taking L-lysine along with high potency B complex since 1986 when an osteopathic physician recommended it after I was treated with Zovirax. I have continued to take it and have never had shingles again. When I Googled L-Lysine, I found that it is used for shingles.”

We too Googled L-lysine and found that the University of Maryland Medical Center web site states: “L-lysine can be used to treat mouth and genital lesions caused by herpes simplex virus as well as shingles caused by herpes zoster viruses.” We did not find placebo-controlled clinical trials that demonstrate this effect, but L-lysine is not toxic or expensive.

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I have been using L-Lysine for years - and only when I feel the first signs of a herpes simplex outbreak, and it has always aborted the outbreak. I realize this is not science - but it is cheap and safe.

I have been under a lot of stress lately as my husband had a stroke and since I had chicken pox as a child thought getting a vaccine would be a good idea, even though the Dr. charged me $200.00 dollars, she said that it was good for life. I've heard of people that have gotten shingles more than once. Is that true and is the vaccine good for life?

I first had shingles in May 1998, and thought the 4-5 inch line of blisters on my hip was from spider bites. Delaying any kind of treatment gave me chronic shingles, which I still have along the sciatic nerve line. Rx and L-lysine only gave me marginal results. The blisters have lessened some with various treatments, but the neuropathic pain is chronic. I am telling my experience because if I had gone to the doctor in May and not waited until October, my outcome would not be that I have chronic pain and shingles blister outbreaks 5 or 6 times a year.

Jeanne, I'm dealing with PHN with my mom. She too realized (or I guess was diagnosed) too late that she had shingles. What are you doing to alleviate the post herpetic pain? We can't find anything that works.

I used to get lots of cold sores, so I too heard that lysine is suppose to help prevent of lessen the effects of cold sores. However, I still get them at times in the fall mostly. What is issue about watching nuts and chocolate?

I eat raw walnuts every day as a dietary. I heard that the walnuts keep you more regular and it seems to be working. I have stopped taking the lysine. I now am using essential oils by Young Living, the lemon oil works the best to dry up the cold sores. I look forward to any comments you may have. Thanks

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WALNUTS AND CHOCOLATE ARE RICH IN ARGININE, AN AMINO ACID THAT COMPETES WITH LYSINE IN THE DIET. IN THEORY, TO MAXIMIZE YOUR EFFECT FROM L-LYSINE YOU NEED TO MINIMIZE YOUR ARGININE INTAKE. THAT MEANS NO NUTS OR CHOCOLATE.

I would also caution that arginine consumption in any form (supplement or foods high in arginine content like those mentioned above) can cause an increase in herpes outbreaks.

Hi - I went to the ER because it was too early to call my doctor - and of course they didn't diagnose it correctly until I went again two days later and finally an astute doctor did - too late or not, but my own doctor messed it up - and I developed the posturepedic misery I am going through right now. I am now with a neurologist who has me on Gabapentin and magnesium which helps me to sleep at night - and B-100 vitamins - and patches which do not seem to keep the pain away - so now I think I'll try alternative medication like L-lysine.

If medicare paid for the shingles vaccination, it would end up spending more money trying to cure those who couldn't afford the $200.00 in the first place.
Good luck to all shingles sufferers - It's like a monkey on your back you can't get rid of and it just keeps biting you over and over again.
.

My dad is still in pain after a week of shingles. He got the anti-viral drug. He got hydrocodine; does not help. Besides trying Lysine, anything to help with the pain? Also, does lysine interfere with any meds? He is on a lot of meds for prostate, heart, diabetes, cholesterol...

I've had so called shingles 3 times this year. It starts off with brown patches and then turns into small pimples.The pain occurs right before the breakout. It is not too severe unless I exercise in hot weather. I'm 51 years old and considering the Shingles vaccine but I hear it's only for those 60 and older. Has anyone had the vaccine that is under 60 and has it worked for them? I will try the L-Lysine. Thanks for the info. PS. I also have the brown scars afterwards.

I used Forces of Nature oils with my 97 year old Mom for her shingles. I was very, very impressed.

Jeanne: Could you be more specific about the Forces of Nature oils? I've never heard of them. My fiance has a painful case of shingles right now so I'm looking for anything that will give him some relief. He's currently on Valocyclovir and hydrocodone. I had him start taking Lysine right away but he hasn't been consistent. What dosages are people taking?

My 68 year old husband has his first (and I hope last) bout of shingles. I spotted it, watched it for one day, and about 36 hours into it, he saw his doctor and was prescribed Valtrex. I read the messages from others that they have had some success with L-Lysine. How much should be taken? Is it incompatible with other medications?

Would applying benedryl or calamine lotion to the rash lessen the itching and pain? With all the other problems he has, I would really like to help him get through the shingles as fast as possible. Thanks!
By the way, his doctor suggested getting the shingles vaccine after his current bout clears up.

I just had 3rd outbreak of singles in my groin area over 2 years. Broken sores and taking Famvir now, not sure if it is doing much. I saw all the positive results from lysine and immediately took 2X500 per meal for next day and half. The pain went to very extreme. I had pains where I did not even have outbreaks, such as: my foot, shoulder, knee... all on the right side of my body, like having a needle stuck in me. I stopped the lysine and it went away. Or back to normal singles pain, which is bad enough.

Has anyone else had such an experience?

For those suffering from shingles pain, my fiance broke out with it in mid-May. I read (on this site, I think) that Listerine (original formulation) dabbed on the blisters is helpful for the pain. His breakout was so bad, I poured Listerine on a washcloth to thoroughly dampen and placed it on his skin for a few minutes. He found it soothing.

Whoda thunk? Listerine has alcohol in it but it did not burn when placed on the blisters. It didn't reduce the pain so much but he said it cooled the severe burning he felt. I bought the quart-sized generic at Walmart for under $3, as I recall.

Was just diagnosed with shingles, and the itchiness is so intense, it is keeping me up nights and worse to cope with than the pain. Any suggestions?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF YOU HAVE HAD THEM LESS THAN A FEW DAYS, YOUR DOCTOR CAN PRESCRIBE ANTI-VIRAL DRUGS THAT HELP.

WE HEAR THAT AMBER LISTERINE APPLIED TO THE RASH CAN BE SOOTHING.

A couple of things.... Raw unrefined coconut oil (Spectrum is one brand, in natural goods section of grocery) is beneficial. Taking 1 tsp. per day, kept cold sores away for 3 years until I ran out and forgot to take it. It also took the pain of shingles away when my adult son had a bad case on his head/scalp. It gave miraculous, immediate relief. It contains strong anti-viral properties.

I love chocolate and it will bring on a cold sore or my recurrent shingles in the facial nerve if I indulge. I am going to try a lysine supplement. Thanks for all the good input.

Hi - I know what your fiance is going through. I went through 3 doctors before I found the right one. She put me on a huge amount of Acyclovir 800 mgs 5 times a day and gabapentin - 400 mgs twice daily. Like a miracle, the horrible bee bites went away - and though I continue to have perepetic soreness on my back I am now able to have a life again after months of agony.

I no longer take acyclovir, and Gabapentin just at night and I sleep beautifully. Also, I'm a veteran of the Korean War and the VA now gives shingle vaccines - I am slated to have mine this coming Thursday and hopefully I'll never get it again..
Good luck.

HI - As I've said before but I would like everyone to know what my new doctor, after three other doctors messed up my shingles - wherein I was in so much pain I was crying and gasping and screaming some times wherein I wouldn't let anyone visit me..

The fourth doctor, this time a woman, who was more sympathetic - prescribed acyclovir 800 mgs 5 times a day and gabapentin twice a day. Like a miracle the horrible stings went away and now I just have some soreness on my back once in awhile. I stopped taking acyclovir altogether and gabapent now just once a night. Great sleep...
PN

I developed shingles over 3 months ago. My doctor diagnosed me with a back problem caused by a long auto trip and tried to send me to a specialist. Instead I waited and when this awful rash appeared I went to a Walk-in clinic and a young female doctor diagnosed me with Shingles but it was too late for anti-viral drugs. I went back to my original doctor and told him I had Shingles and his reply was "Did you diagnose them on the internet"? He put me on Gabapentin, Xanex and a Tens Unit. After three months I am still unable to wear a shoe on the foot the Shingles were on and I continue to have very much pain. Will it ever end and can I go back to walking normally again?

So sorry you're going through this. It just adds insult to injury when a doctor questions how you discover what the TRUE diagnosis is when their diagnostic skill failed. Why do so many physicians dislike their patients being active participants in their own diagnosis and treatment? I find it annoying and that's why I like my physician who typically listens to what I have to contribute. Even then, she and her partner missed the fact that I have had a hiatal hernia for over one year!

I hope you have a good outcome. Do try some of the suggestions here to try to speed your comfort and healing. I don't believe it's ever too late to try Lysine. BTW, did your physician go ahead and offer the shingles vaccine? I believe it can reduce or ameliorate future outbreaks. Also, regular Listerine did comfort the burning pain my fiance experienced with his outbreak. You can buy a generic brand (original formulation) for under $5.00.

I'm all about the L-lysine, which I used for cancre sores for years, which I no longer have. When my daughter was very young she had a drug that suppressed chicken pox and I'm sure that's what caused the herpes virus to sequester in her spine. She was one of the less than 1% of kids under ten who suffer a shingles outbreak. It took a lot of internet investigation to find something that worked, unlike the expensive medicine the Dr. prescribed. Popping a vitamin e capsule and carefully dripping it on the outbreak relieved her pain instantly. Add to that oral dosage of vitamin e and l-lysine, and she was a new person.

Right now, I have sciatic irritation coming on. For the first time, my instinct tells me to try L-lysine and vitamin e for it, that it has something to do with the herpes connection. Maybe that's where the cancre sores went, since I've had this for about the same length of time that the cancres have been gone. I'm going to try it. My body always lets me know what it needs.

I am 37 yrs old and was diagnosed this morning with shingles under my breast. I waited 8 days due to lack of insurance and the fact that I thought it was just a rash. That was 8 days of pain and suffering and I recommend to anyone.... even without insurance, go to the doctor !!! I also have bad breakouts of cold sores on my mouth and have found that L-lysine does work. Anyway, I thought shingles were only for the elderly, so how did I get it at age 37 ?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: EVEN THOUGH SHINGLES MAY BE MORE COMMON IN THE ELDERLY, THERE'S NO AGE LIMIT. PERHAPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS NOT FUNCTIONING AT ITS PEAK.

Hi - Shingles in any form can be painful. Too bad about the insurance. I had great insurance but the docs at the hospital ER didn't diagnose it correctly - so I suffered like hell for months - After three doctors who were no help, I found a doctor (female) who put me on heavy doses of Aclyvir - and Gabapentin - The worse is over, but I still have post perpetetic pain once in awhile. I also had many lip sores - and I found that Benzodent was the best tonic for it. Try it and sees if it helps.

Good luck and hang in there. You're young and you will get past this. I am a veteran and the VA finally gave shingles vaccine for nothing - a little late for me, but I still went to get the vaccine.

Ah yes. Now they have the vaccine. As I mentioned, my daughter was quite young when she got Shingles - in elementary school, actually. Don't forget to take Vitamin E, too, as well as apply it CAREFULLY, at the outbreak site. No need to suffer these days. God bless.

Hi - I had the same problem as your mother. I take Gabapentin twice a day - and some Tylenol - I find that sometimes my back zings, then goes away and I have some hot spots, but most of the time it doesn't. I go everywhere now and find the little casinos we have here - you can play for 9 cents at a time - and the distraction is wonderful - no pain at all. Put your mother on Gabapentin - ask your doctor for a prescription. It is not expensive, but I do have prescription insurance and 180 pills costs me only $36.00.

Another thing I do is let the cool water run on my back in my morning showers. It really settles them down.

Let me know how your mother is doing after taking Gabapentin.
Good luck. PN

Don't let anyone tell you that shingles aren't contagious. My husband got shingles, that we initially thought we spider bites (that I touched) and within 2 weeks I was in the e.r. with horrible pain on my entire left side. They sent me home and just said I might be dehydrated or was having a panic attack.

After 3 doctors I finally talked one into a prescription that helped me. I still feel the pain at times and the numbness going thru my left side. I also developed red lines on my side that I was told was from nerve damage. I am very interested in trying the L-lysine to see if that helps any post pain I have now.

This virus and its symptoms are very confusing to the medical field. I wish there was a better way for people to get diagnosed without all of the hassle I went thru.

HI - I was also misdiagnosed with shingles and ended up with horrible pain for over six months until I found the right doctor. I now have post herpetic nerve damage on an area in my back. I have been taking Gabapentin 400 mg. twice a day for a year now and the pain is pretty much gone. I have a life now that I didn't have for over a year.

Ask your doctor about Gabapentin. Good luck. I advise anyone who hasn't had Shingles to get the Shingles Shot. I finally got it because the Veterans finally came out with free shots. It was after my Shingles ordeal, but it might help from having a recurring Shingles attack. Perila

By the way I tried Lysine when I was having real pain, and saw no improvement. My new, great doctor, put my on Aclyvir 8,000 mgs. and 'bingo' the hard pain was gone.

First, my new doctor, prescribed 8000mgs of Aclyvir - and the terrible bee bites stopped - but was left with nerve damage on certain areas of my back. I am now on Gabapentin 400 mgs twice a day and the pain is hardly noticeable now. I do everything, shop, dinner out, etc. Ask your doctor.

L-lysine is not for pain. It is used to prevent or treat outbreaks of cold sores and other viruses. When I feel the initial itch of a cold sore, I immediately take 1000 milligrams and then 500mg every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours or so. Most of the time, the cold sore never materializes. I have also found that if I don't catch the cold sore right away (e.g., it starts while I'm sleeping so there is already a small blister), I still take L-lysine to keep the duration of the sore short.

About 14 years ago, I also began to take it to forestall a common cold I was coming down with. It works great! I had hoped it might help to lessen the impact of shingles but it did not work for my husband.

I am a 31 year old female in the UK and I too have had re-occurring Shingles for the last 11 years.

My consultant gave me the vaccine TWICE... and it has done nothing for me, I still get outbreaks at least 5 times if not more a year.
Oh and I'm a Teacher, so every time I do have it, I have to stay off work for 2 weeks. So as well as being in Isolation, I also have to contend with the pupils new germs.

The school have been very supportive considering my lot of absences :)
I take Acicylovir and I take a dissolvable Vitamin C, I pop it into a glass full of water, topped up with SpaTone (iron water), this helps my immune system and I feel better for it.

I've come to accept that unfortunately, it's one of those things that may never get better, so I manage it the best I can.

Shingles or Herpes? I have reoccurring blisters that often occur at same time in the same 2 spots. On the palm of my hand and middle of my back. Occasionally it only breaks out in one of the areas. But I will usually have that tingle/itchiness or soreness in both. Doctor took sample of actual blister liquid and said it was negative for herpes. He thought it likely herpes zoster (shingles) due to unusual location of outbreaks. I then asked another doctor for a blood test which showed antibodies for herpes simplex, but he said almost everyone has those antibodies due to exposure to oral cold sores, etc. Any OPINIONS?? (hahaha! 4 doctors. 4 different answers.) Just looking for answer/treatment.

My anecdote:
I recently [fall of 2011] had a mild, self-diagnosed outbreak of shingles. (My father had them and I’ve seen plenty of photos.) Since I’ve had success using L-Lysine for cold sore and fever blister episodes I started taking 1000mg twice a day commencing about 3 days after the initial discovery. The lesions never erupted and other than some slight itching in the very beginning, I’ve had absolutely no pain.
I feel very lucky; that L-Lysine works for me, that I had a mild outbreak, and that I didn't have to spend big money on doctors and prescription meds.

I am 81 and have been suffering with shingles for a month. I was certain that I would not get them since I had the shingles shot a little over a year ago. While I just have 3 lesions just to the left of my left breast, the pain has been unbearable at times. I was wondering what you think about getting the shingles shot versus not getting. I wonder if the rash might have been worse, and I cannot imagine the pain being any more severe than I experienced, I would love to hear from you.

I'm 81 years old and was misdiagnosed by my doctor and ER - And yes, it was painful as hell -- I finally got the Shingles shot when the VA paid for it - but the best thing you can do is find the right doctor. After three male doctors who never helped me - I went to a female doctor and immediately she put me on 8000 to 16000 tablets of Aclyvir - the horrible pain bated almost immediately and though I still have some peripatetic spots, it is never very painful and I can go about my business shopping, dinner out with friends, etc.
Good luck.

Directly from the CDC page on the Shingles vaccination: "In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults 60 years old or older, Zostavax reduced the risk of shingles by about half (51%) and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67%. While the vaccine was most effective in people 60-69 years old it also provided some protection for older groups.

Research suggests that the shingles vaccine is effective for at least six years, but may last much longer. Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine exactly how long the vaccine protects against shingles."

From WebMD:
"March 24, 2011 - People age 50 and older can now get Merck's Zostavax shingles vaccine, the FDA today ruled.

The vaccine already was approved for people age 60 and older. The approval is based on a Merck clinical trial that showed the vaccine to be about 70% effective in preventing shingles in the younger age group." (I just became aware of this FDA announcement about 1 week ago and I'm going to get the vaccine myself.)

I'm not a physician but I am a Health Psychologist; that being said, my brother had shingles at age 52 and my husband had them at age 59. My brother's "small" case was painful but my husband's covered the upper 1/3 of the right side of his back and chest, his right shoulder and down into his armpit. He had extreme pain that was barely touched by Vicodin. Even gabapentin only gave him light relief. I found (on this site, as I recall) a home remedy to relieve the burning: full-strength original Listerine (I bought the generic brand). Despite its high alcohol content, it actually gave him some relief so that, along with the pain med and gabapentin (for the nerve pain), he was able to sleep quite a bit until the worst was over.

My father also had shingles on his scalp -- in 1991 at age 79. He was literally screaming from the pain. I don't recall if he received an anti-viral but he had to undergo painful injections in the back of the throat at a Pain Management center to deal with the worst of the pain.

I suspect that your rash would have been much worse had you not had the vaccine. If you're still suffering, you might also try what others have and take l-Lysine as a supplement. It's cheap and available widely (I get mine at Wal-Mart). I prefer the 500mg tablet as I have trouble swallowing larger tablets.

Good luck!

I assure everyone, including physicians who have not seen it yet, shingles can and do exist on both sides of body at same time. Mine did NOT for years then as I've aged they do now, both sides having been biopsied.

I am 68-year-old female who had 1st attack of shingles when in 11th grade in my throat. I had them for years on left sciatic nerve, to the point of touching the sciatic never caused foot and leg to jump up in air. As I said, both sides have been biopsied.

CDC advised me that the vaccination is not recommended in my case because I have had shingles for so long and with horrific recurrences... as I am nearly 24/7 365 a year with brief time periods where they go beneath skin that are visible and becoming tired, agitated or any emotional trauma caused them to immediately re-appear sometimes within the same day.

Anti viral drugs were used briefly but they only make the time frame in which the sore has not broken through skin be a LONGER period of time and that time frame for me is actually the most painful... as I type today I have been broken out both sides since the very end of January... today is February 26, 2012. Each new outbreak gives birth to newborns, as I refer to them.

I spend days to weeks mostly bedfast but for daily required functions... nothing outside of house without a cane because I can barely walk, at this time. I treat with pain med, pain patches when not oral pain med, tens unit, Capscaian roll-on liquid especially after the erupt. I think the longest time between eruptions though they were still visible beneath skin has been 1-year. I am in extreme above 10 pain, total exhaustion, frustration.....

I am diabetic, fibromyalgia and heart patient with 37% pumping capability so I am limited as to pain assistance. I would not wish this on the devil himself and let no one tell you you could NOT be experiencing shingles on both sides at same time. My doctor could not believe it... took pictures and documented it.

It could be worse though....At least I am alive to "whine" :) PJ

Lysine has worked for me so far to prevent an outbreak of shingles or herpes simplex cold sores, if I take it at the first suggestion of symptoms (in the case of shingles: that nagging beginning of the nerve pain). And for those suffering shingles pain, I strongly recommend acupuncture. With pain drugs, the pain comes back stronger when they wear off; with acupuncture, you get longer-lasting relief, and when the pain comes back it's easier to deal with. (That was my experience the first time I had shingles, before I knew about lysine.) I'm surprised some people get relief from topical (skin) remedies as my experience was that nothing topical worked at all, since the pain is deep in the nerves.

I was told yesterday I have shingles. I noticed redness two days before that thinking it was spider bites (silly). But went to doctor two days later after it didnt go away. He put me on anti-viral drugs, but a day later there is no improvement, and it seems to have spread (from right side of spine now moving to my stomach).
I dont know what to do. Doctor sait it's not serious just take the pills, however I am now starting to get tingling pain when it gets in contact with my clothes. Today is my day 4 of having it and I am starting to panic. Thanks for any advice.

I don't believe anyone can say that a vaccine that hasn't been around for very long protects for life. The only way to know that is if it has been used for at least a couple of generations. The chicken pox and the shingles vaccines are fairly new so no one knows how long they really last. Also, I think it is important to do a risk/benefit analysis before agreeing to any vaccine. Read the package insert, research each ingredient, read up on the reported adverse reactions (keeping in mind that less than 10% are ever reported), and weigh those factors against the severity of the disease and the likelihood of complications from that before deciding.

It is my understanding that it is better to keep the sores cool. Original Listerine brand mouthwash or amber colored Walmart brand mouthwash have cooling agents like Eucalyptus and such. Ice packs on the sores are also helpful. Not lying on your sores. Not using anything that causes irritation or heat to the affected area is beneficial. Staying in the Air Conditioning also.

I'm in the middle of bout number two. First time was around my eyes. It started on the left eye then moved to the right and back to the left. They were small sores and not painful. Had them for less than one month. Missed one week of work. Diagnosed as shingles first time after two weeks plus because of movement from one side of body to the other and back. That movement also made this case to be considered as very serious one. I took antiviral. No recurrence. That was 12 years ago.

This time I had 4 sores on the left side of my back. I had them for two weeks before getting to doctor. A lot of shooting and dull pain this time. They are down to two and getting smaller. Three weeks now since I started antibiotic and antiviral. I finished using Acyclovir and SMZ/TMP and something for pain. No comment on l-lysine because I just started using it. Doctor recommended and I use Polysporin on the sores after cleaning and bandaging. I also used Bactine or Red marine algae on the sores not on the same day. Also using blended cooling oils on rashes. I also take a good; Multi-Vita-Min, Extra C, B complex, and Selenium for hormone balance.

Good stomach acid level and healthy intestinal flora levels are the foundation building blocks of a strong immune system. Proper body pH level (also important) and stomach acid level are two different things. I am in my 50s so I take the 30 billion organisms mixed probiotic. I like lemon juice.

I plan on taking the vaccine in a few months. Thanks for the comments. I learned a lot and should be better quicker.

Wow you have shingles outbreaks 5 or 6 times per year? I had it twice- once in about 1991 or 92 (when I was in high school and again in about 2008 after a surgery (which I think exacerbated the situation) after the second time I developed Post Herpetic Neuralgia.. it took awhile to figure out that's what it was but now I've been on Gabapentin off and on ever since. I also tried Lyrica but it has bad side effects. Now I am thinking of starting Lysine and seeking others in the same situation.

Shan

Dosage for L-lysine that worked for me:
1st month (regardless if you are having herpes or shingles outbreak or not) -1500 mg 3 times a day
2nd month 1000 mg 3 times a day
next 6 months 500 mg 3 times a day
ever after -500 mg twice a day

I had shingles vaccine five years ago when I turned 60. I got shingles in may on my scalp and forehead. I was put on lyrica and Anti- viral. I still have some itching but was told my case was mild because I had shot. I do still have a couple of red spots on forehead. I'm going to try this Listerine and see how it works. So---get the shot but don't depend on it.

I had shingle vaccination a few years ago. But I just got shingle 10 days ago. I still think the vaccination helped. My shingle is very mild.

I sure HOPE Lysine works. I've never had shingles before and it hurts like CRAZY! Thanks for the info about chocolate and nuts... I eat a ton of both. Wasn't happy to hear I'm going to have to begin avoiding these two foods, but if it helps me to never have to experience this intense pain again, I'll do it. Intense pain in upper back right by wing bone began 30 days ago. Red bumps appeared on back three days later and then wrapped all the way around my armpit to the middle of my chest. I thought I'd been bit by a spider or a bed bud and it/they just chomped away all night. Went to doc and he said shingles and gave me valtrex or something like that. Then the tiny sores became larger ones and then a couple weeks later the oozing puss began. NASTY, NASTY experience.

Anyway, called a guy who specializes in probiotics and nature's way instead of this worthless valtrex that I've been on for two weeks. hoping the multi-vitamin, b-complex, wellness formula, lysine, and now, thanks to all the comments on this site, no more chocolate or nuts. :o( good to know though. Thanks for info.

Hi LA,

I am 53 yrs. old. I have not had the shingles vaccine yet, but will be getting it b4 the end of the year. My Dr. said the same thing about over 60, but, that is cuz the ins. co.'s won't pay under 60. I checked w/my ins. co., (Coventry~formerly GHP) & they pay for it over 50!!!

Good Luck,

JMB.

I suffered an acute attack of shingles and fortunately was seen by the doctor within 24 hours of onset. Immediate medication stopped further blistering and cleared up the few blisters that had started. However, I did end up with post-herpetic pain syndrome. I was taking 12 vicodin a day, Neurontin (often referred to as morontin for the side effect of short term memory loss), and various other meds to no avail.

After being a squeaky wheel for a few months (and out on disability) my doc sent me to a pain clinic (with Kaiser Permanente) where I was finally treated with electrical radial ablation. This quickly and effectively killed the nerve where the pain was running. I am telling you this several years later and am still pain free with no further outbreaks!! Good luck to the rest of you!!!!!

L-lysine has worked for me over the years. It is the best treament in my opinion for prevention of and for the outbreaks of shingles. Usually with me my body gives me a warning of pain in the same area where I use to have full blown shingles. With l-lysine that scenario never happens again. I simply start taking 1000 mgs of l-lysine in capsule or tablet form 3 times a day for a few days with plenty of purified water and black tea and zip zap no outbreak(s) period! The pain usually subsides and completely stops within a few hours. For severe cases a week or more on the l-lysine may be needed plus some type of added pain reliever. The beautiful thing about l-lysine it is a powerful natural pain reliever and it's all natural. Of course with anything you put into your body caution is necessary as well as research.... Personally for me after the pain has subsided/and or an outbreak has been alleviated; 500mgs of l-lysine a day will forever keep shingles away. Its been years for me and still counting. I hope those out there with this terrible disease much success in using l-lysine because it has truly been a Godsend for me. Also, once the shingles have dried up try using California Baby Calendula Cream for the itching and redness. I use it on my face and it is very soothing.

I now realize I had sene zoster (silent shingles) briefly once a year for 3 years. I thought the dime size cluster of red dots was due heating pad. Went to MD for prolotherapy on my weak ligaments. It works miracles for injured athletes, but it turned out to be disastrous for a 63 yr old with mild allergies and chemical sensitivities. Each treatment made my ligaments weaker! The 200 injections 4 times in 14 weeks was stressing out my immune system. (This treatment is not for wimps.) The quarter size cluster of red dots were "just something your body does." No worries.

So afterwards, I got another cluster on right side of buttocks!! I developed severe sensitivity to cold. Chills, headache, malaise and edema. As I got progressively worse, I could barely lift my leg to get into my car. The pain in my buttocks was unbearable driving. My PC doctor hadn't a clue why this pain (became blow torch when I tried to sleep). Tore my rotator cuffs. High histamine and cytokine levels makes one much more prone to injury. (High inflammation creates instability ,exercise intolerance and pain.) Double blow torch pain NO SLEEP!!

Rheumatologist gave me blessed relief with steroid injection, but instant shingles outbreak!! Then light sensitivity and allergies off the charts! After 6 bouts of shingles over the last year, I am now using lysine,VitC, Zinc lozenges and E complex essential fatty acids, probiotics and L Glutathione, along with small doses of gabapentin and veggie fruit shakes with whey. "Internal rash" more serious than "outside" rash in most cases. I am increasing prayer, meditation and positive thinking, a challenge when pain was at it's worst for so long. Mainstream medicine knows woefully little about shingles. The rash is the "overflow" not the source where so much damage is done. I have 2 friends who just got shingles after their shot! The shingles studies are highly questionable. There has been an 80% increase in shingles since 1994? when the chicken pox vaccine came into use. Hope this info helps. Wish I had known.

I used to get cold sores. I haven't gotten any for a long time until this week, which is interesting because I got the shingles vaccination the end of December. Is there any connection?
Strange timing on this...
DJ

>> The rash is the "overflow" not the source where so much damage is done.

The best thing I've read yet. So very true.

DJ
Yes, there is a connection. Shingles vaccine is a live virus. Your body's immune forces will respond to perceived or real invaders. If your immune system is imbalanced or dysfunctional, it will be then "spread too thin". Many factors affect our immune response. Most common are the abundance of damaging fats in the processed foods we eat. Lack of varied and consistent exercise etc. We need a balance of healthy fats so our body can make adequate balanced hormones, as well as immune factors for our protection. Especially important are a healthy balance of gut flora, since the absorption of nutrients from food is impaired when we take antibiotics, antivirals and eat fast food and "frankinfood". Not to mention our individual genetics vary, thanks or no thanks to how well our parents took care of their gene pool. My appendix was removed without my consent during a C-section. New research shows this was a reservoir for restoring our gut flora. If you have bad plumbing, as in sluggish gall bladder, heavy meats and bad fats create intestinal problems. Tonsils were routinely ripped out, leaving those people vulnerable to autoimmune diseases because our lymph gland soldiers guard the entry ways to our body's insides. Vaccines bypass nature's alert systems. Antibiotics and basic vaccines should only be used in severe situations. Modern medicine should draw from all the ancient wisdom around the world, with the focus on maintaining our

By the way, I switched from Gabapentin $70.00!!! to Gaba which cost me 14.00 and really helps the post shingles nerve pain so I can sleep and slowly get back into an exercise routine. I also learned I need to find a Doctor who will prescribe Vit B12 shots which are recommended for helping repair the damaged nerve axons and sheathes from the repeated shingles attacks after the steroid injections (never again!)

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar has really helped the pain and healing of my shingles blisters. Now that they are starting to scab, is it ok to use an ointment, like l-lysine with vitamins A, D & E plus cocoa butter on the blisters? I have an upcoming video shoot! Trying to find the fastest healing remedy. Thx!

I get cold sores from citrus, oranges, lemons, limes, etc and the sun. I used to get terrible outbreaks but heard of taking lysine. I began taking lysine when I feel the onset of a cold sore and it stopped it in it's tracks every time. If I take it a few days into a cold sore it seriously shortens the length of time the sore is visible. Works much better than the $30 otc med.

I had chicken pox when I was eight, and 19 years later here I am with shingles. I had the good fortune of being diagnosed the day after the blisters erupted, by an older pharmacist. That day I went to the doctor and finally managed to get her convinced. I left the pharmacy $96.00 poorer, with generic valtrex and lidocaine patches. This was on Thursday, and it's Sunday now. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and I was able to keep my travel plans, but I have to say that even with the lidocaine there is a fair amount of breakthrough pain, itching, and burning.

The night the rash came out followed two days of flulike symptoms. Right away, I used BabyGanics eczema cream on it since it is a water barrier cream and contains colloidal oatmeal,but I had no idea what I was dealing with. That has been helpful when not wearing the lidocaine patch (12 hrs on, 12 hrs off), along with A&D diaper rash cream as recommended by the pharmacist who diagnosed me.

I have yet to see any visible improvement in the rash, but it isn't spreading. Intend to try lysine when I get home tomorrow, as I do have some already.

I was recently diagnosed with the shingles at age 44! I know it is very painful. I am glad that I caught it right away. I, too, thought it was a very mean spider bite! I was given an anti-viral and told to put several things that haven't work on the painful sores. (They are on my neck, close to my right ear as well) I was told to use L-lysine and I have started a few pills of it. I also have only applied the gel from the Aloe Vera leaf. After two weeks, I can see a change. The sores have gone down and the pain as well, still itchy, but less burning. I am sorry that all of you have experienced such a horrible thing. I hope we all get well! I hope mine goes away and never returns! I think my outbreak was due to lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and lack of water. I am also stressed out! I am trying to fix all of that and hope it works! Please try the Aloe Vera leaf because it dries it up and soothes it. :)

I am 66 in Oct.and on June 25th I tried to climb a number of stairs at a friend's home I was staying at for a few nights before moving to my newly rented home. When I got thru the 5 tiers of stairs my body was soaked from head to toe in sweat, I fell upon the bed in the guest Bedroom and slept for about 10 hours. I woke up and felt this terrible itch, like I'd been bitten by something & days later after thinking it was a bug bite I went to a Dr. got diagnosed as Herpes, not Herpes Zoster.

She gave me Acyclovir and Neurontin and a generic form of Augmentin. The next day went to another Dr. a guy who confirmed it was Herpes by just looking at it. Gave me more Acyclovir and spent more time typing in his computer then examining me! Did not feel better, but started to read and realized I had Herpes but Herpes Zoster which is a Virus by a different name.

After conversation with a friend who has Shingles outbreaks, I went and got Valtrex, my wife had been putting the acyclovir cream on but it didn't really help, then we tried Bactroban ointment to prevent infection in blisters. Also putting slices of fresh Aloe Vera leaves meat on my neck and scalp where the blisters were driving me crazy, Miss Daisy! I also after 3 weeks of this insanity started to take gabapentin 100mg 1 pill 3x a day with a Ibuprofen 600mg & 2 Tramadol 50mg.

I'd been on tramadol for 3 years now for my peripheral neuropathy and Arthritis pain. I only take the Tramadol when I'd feel the pain, which in this case is constant.Went out today for first time in 6 weeks ,I forgot to buy more Gaapentin but I had bought some 500mg Lysine and just took 1000mg with 600mg Ibuprofen and 2 50mg. tramadol. I find the aloe vera very cooling and itching subdued for a few hours sometimes longer. So hoping the lysine helps, we shall see. This has been almost 7 weeks and I really hope its almost run its evil presence to the end of the line. I pray all of you suffering from this horrible Revenge of The Chicken POX, find your cure ASAP if not sooner !!! Will update on Lysine, if I see any affects. I had eaten some pumpkin seeds before I read about nuts, hope seeds don't affect the Lysine.

I came down with shingles 11 months ago with a left side under arm rash and plenty of pain. It continues on and is severe enough to be scary! I returned Gabapentin after I got the prescription and saw the side effect of "suicidal" in the list! I was near enough suicidal already!

I am 89 male and also suffer from residual pain from a fall that involved the left shoulder blade. I started out using Lysine and many of the other products used by those with shingles and got only some relief. Now of course it qualifies to get called PHN and this is probably my main source of pain

However it is hard to tell if there is some problem from the trauma of the fall - or pains from the Shingles damage to the nerves- almost the whole left side all the way around has pain and feels "wrong".

Does anyone with an ongoing PHN situation have these pains that actually seem to take away strength from the whole side?!?

My 58 year old husband is recovering from shingles. I found that liberal topical application of castor oil to the itchy sites calms everything down significantly. The castor oil seems to work better than cortisone, lanacaine, caladryl, or any other itch-relief cream. I bought him L-Lysine, but he forgets to take it. He will take the B vitamins, though. What a vicious disease!

I am a 71-year old male and had my first outbreak of shingles 10 days ago, even though I had the shingles shot 1 year ago. Shingles appeared the morning that I was scheduled for a physical exam at 8 a.m.

Fortunately, the physician recognized shingles and started me on Acyclovir that day. However, I still have a full-fledged outbreak, with several strips of blisters extending from the spine around the right hip and down to the groin. The pain has intensified since day 7, even though the blisters have subsided.

Tylenol helps for about 3 hours. I sleep only a few hour, because of the pain. What is most effective for the pain? I saw mention of Gabapentin and Gabe in this blog. Are they equally effective?

I appreciate the numerous posted suggestions on this site! Thanks!

L-Lysine will work if you catch it very early on, like before there is an outbreak. If you feel tingling or pain, take 2000MG, then follow up with 1000mg 3x a day. Don't continue taking it indefinitely, because your body will become immune. Save it for when you feel an outbreak coming on.

As mentioned above (by BM), L-Lysine--like all other zoster treatments--is most effective when used at the first signs of an outbreak (once you've had shingles once, it's just a question of recognizing the signs). In my experience, the major triggers for an outbreak are stress and lack of sleep, along with (as mentioned in the original question) too much chocolate and nuts.

Other than "that shingly feeling" that those of us prone to shingles learn to recognize, some early symptoms to keep in mind: sometimes shingles is preceded--a week or two before an outbreak--by mild flu-like symptoms. Ophthalmic shingles (zoster virus attacking the ophthalmic nerves, often together with other facial nerves) can be preceded--again a week or more prior to other symptoms--by a small circular dot or lesion on the tip of the nose, known as "Hutchinson's sign."

Some useful supplemental treatments (best when taken early), in addition to L-Lysine:

Chaparral (herbal tincture) - (botanical name Larrea tridentata)
Lemon balm (herbal tea or tincture) - (botanical name Melissa officinalis)

These and other treatments for shingles tend to have similar results against other forms of the herpes virus.

Don't take my word for any of this--look it up. And just because a treatment is natural, doesn't mean it doesn't have side effects, so do your research to ensure you are not harming yourself with medications, herbal/natural or otherwise.

For shingles pain (and for the stress triggers) I have found acupuncture to be helpful.

I am 47 and am going on week 3 of this torture. Took the prescribed antiviral and prednisone which did not seem to really help much. Am supplementing with apple cider vinegar baths (have this along right collar bone, shoulder and lower neck area). Am also taking about 4,000 mg of lysine daily, along with benadryl, ibuprofen, vicodin. Keeping the rash as dry as possible and trying not to scratch. I think the ACV helps to accelerate the whole process. I did just dab some listerine (all I have is the blue) and it does seem to help soothe the pain. I took all of last week off of work, plus today. Going to try and work tomorrow. Bless all of us with this, I would rather have a root canal. Good luck.

One thing important about taking Lysine is that to be effective it is important to take on an empty stomach. Otherwise it doesn't matter how much lysine you take or how often. It is best taken early in the morning before food. I take it an hour or two before food. I had a very severe attack of shingles and found this very helpful. It is also best to eat lysine rich foods and to avoid those rich in arginine, for example chocolate, nuts, tomatoes. There is lots of info on the internet about which food types to avoid.

I dont know whether this is helpful information or not.....

The way I treated my extremely painful blisters was to wear a snug fitting very thin T shirt which I changed (very carefully) 3 times a day.(the type with cut out arms and a low neck so quite minimal) If I wore a loose fitting Tea shirt I found the sensations of the fabric against my skin unbearable. The closer fitting material acted as a kind of bandage and was very comforting.... painful to change each time but once on ok. Important to change to keep the skin clean and infection free.

I had shingles all over my right breast and right shoulder blade. It lasted for months but has cleared up very well. When the blisters began to heal I used aloe vera to further assist the healing process. I have no scars or itching and found that reading blogs such as this one and researching widely in the area of natural remedies took me along the right path. This illness was the most painful and long lasting I have ever had. I am 66.

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