Is Apple Cider Vinegar Really Good Against Shingles?


Is apple cider vinegar good for shingles? Easily one of the most debatable and underestimated questions related to shingles – probably, among the appalling skin conditions.

To be honest, shingles are more about management than the treatment, as there is still no cure for this annoying infection. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of antiviral medication to reduce the severity of symptoms. And several home remedies can also reduce discomfort and pain. 

ACV is also “assumed” as a very effective treatment for shingles, more by netizens than medical experts or researchers. Apple cider vinegar for shingles is a topic of debate, and the internet is flooded with a lot of content backing ACV as an effective home remedy for shingles. But what is reality?

In this article, we will try to know in detail about shingles and apple cider vinegar. Also, we will find out whether ACV is good for the skin condition or not.

What is Shingles?

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is a common viral infection characterized by painful red rashes. It is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, which is also responsible for causing chickenpox. If you developed chickenpox in childhood, the shingles virus remains dormant in your body. It can get reactive anytime to cause red, painful, itchy rashes at any part of the body, typically small and covered parts.

Although it is not a life-threatening infection, it can surely make you feel very uncomfortable, as the rashes are very painful, and at times, itching as well. Postherpetic neuralgia is one of the most common shingles complications and may develop if shingles are ignored or not treated properly.

How are Shingles Developed?

When the virus varicella-zoster invades your body, more often than not, you suffer from chickenpox. It is usually a childhood condition, but the chances of adults suffering from it can’t be discounted.

Once the chickenpox course is completed, the virus changes its place, travels to the nerve tissues around your spinal cord and brain, and remains dormant.

We are still not sure about this, but, in some people, the virus becomes active again and starts moving from nerve fibers to skin. And that’s how you suffer from the second and more painful punch and develop herpes zoster. And we can say that “reactivity of dormant varicella-zoster is the sole cause of shingles.”

Also Read: Glycerin for Lips – Benefits and DIY Recipes

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Risk Factors

Not everyone with a history of chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles. However, you are more likely to get it if you are

  • 50 years old or more
  • Suffering from stress quite often
  • Having immune-disturbing health conditions like cancer, chronic diabetes, gonorrhea and HIV infection, etc.
  • Suffering from chronic, serious physical injury.
  • Habitual of taking steroids or other immune-disturbing medications.

Possible Complications

You may suffer from various shingles complications even after rashes are gone, including:

  • Inflammation of brain cells
  • Paralysis, especially if ignored for a few weeks
  • Loss of vision in case of rashes around the eyes
  • Postherpetic neuralgia pain in one out of five people with shingles

Is Shingles Contagious?

Yes, the spread of shingles is possible from one infected person to other healthy people, even people who never had chickenpox or shingles. And patients remain contagious until all the sores are crusted. Until then, patients should maintain distance, especially from pregnant women with no history of chickenpox.

Vaccine for Shingles

Two common vaccines for shingles, approved by the Food and Drug Administration are Shingrix and Zostavax. Doctors recommend that over 50 people get this vaccine even if they didn’t have chickenpox or shingles.

How Shingles is Diagnosed

Diagnosing shingles can be a bit tricky, as similar symptoms are noticed in other skin problems. Your doctor may take a detailed medical history with symptoms and do a physical exam to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor may also send a small number of fluids for laboratory examination.

Treatment for Shingles

There is still no proven treatment for shingles, but some antiviral drugs are very effective in reducing the complications and favoring the healing process. But patients should get these drugs within a couple of days of a shingles outbreak. So, visiting a doctor very early becomes really important.

Medications for shingles may include:

  • Acyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Valacyclovir
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Medicated locations
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Numbing medications etc.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Surely an effective treatment for various skin conditions

Apple cider vinegar is no short of a miracle. It can be very useful for a lot of health and skin-related conditions. From managing your body weight to improving your skin’s health, ACV can do many things until it is used “correctly.”

Apple cider vinegar for skin is surely a nice idea, as ACV is packed with antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties and can deal with numerous skin conditions. However, caution is very important while applying it to your skin or drinking. Only diluted ACV is recommended to use for any purpose. Even the diluted ACV can cause severe irritation on your skin, especially if you have an allergy. And undiluted ACV can cause severe problems like burns and blisters!

Why is ACV used for skin?

ACV is being used for the skin for so many years now. And that’s due to its numerous skin benefits.

  • ACV maintains your skin’s pH level and removes dead cells
  • Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid contents, ACV can be very effective against acne.
  • Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties are effective against bad foot odor.
  • If you have bug bites, ACV can be the answer to it as well.
  • ACV can treat various skin infections, including paronychia.

Is ACV Effective against Shingles as Well?

If you think, “is apple cider vinegar good for shingles,” keep reading to find your answer.

As we have stated earlier, ACV for shingles is more of an “online concept” than anything. Yes, it has numerous antiviral properties, but we are nowhere close to having scientific or medical evidence to suggest that ACV can relieve shingles symptoms.

Why Should You NOT Use ACV for Shingles?

You can find many tips and tricks on using ACV directly on shingles rashes or combining it with other home ingredients like honey. People also recommend taking a bath with a small amount of ACV in water.

Some reports are suggesting that ACV can give some relief from painful itching and stinging of the rashes. But one thing is pretty sure that it can’t completely cure the condition.

Additionally, there is no medical evidence of ACV being effective in improving itching or pain, and you can’t use something topically or internally until doctors approve it. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use ACV for your skin at all.

Possible Risks of using ACV

Apple cider vinegar for shingles is associated with several risks, especially if used undiluted. ACV is highly acidic and can cause excessive burning and itching on shingles rashes. You may even suffer from a bacterial skin infection, along with an increase in rashes!

Whether you use ACV for shingles (if you want to use) or for any other skin problem, apply it only after diluting it heavily. A dilution of 1 tbsp (15 mL) ACV and 1 cup (237 mL) water is considered safe to add to your bathwater.

What about safe alternatives?

Working closely with a qualified doctor is one of the most important aspects of alternative treatment for shingles. Medicated creams for topical use are at least safe, if not effective against shingles. They won’t cause blisters or burning in already uncomfortable conditions.

You can try some other, safer treatments like cold compress and lukewarm oatmeal bath to reduce the severity of complications. Some over the counter medications like calamine lotion is also proved handy to induce a calming effect.

The Conclusion

There is no scientific or medical evidence of using apple cider vinegar for shingles. ACV is certainly recommended for shingles by “technical doctors” online, but you can’t make a mistake of believing them. Yes, ACV does have some antimicrobial and antiviral properties; you can’t use it to treat serious skin conditions like shingles.

What do we suggest?

Getting proper treatment for shingles is the only effective option to relieve the severity. There is no home remedy effective enough against shingles, and we strongly recommend you not to use them. A cold compress or oatmeal bath are some of the effective ways to relieve pain and burning. Everything other “home treatment for shingles” is nothing more than a “myth.”

Hopefully, we were successful enough to bust the myth about apple cider vinegar for shingles. Hopefully, you have no doubt whatsoever now. Bless us with your good words if we helped you even a bit. Take care of your health and skin, stay happy, stay healthy, and stay safe.


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