Got Shingles? Open Your Pantry!

Got Shingles? Open Your Pantry!

Uh Oh.  You woke up with a fever, a headache, muscle aches and this weird pain that seems to go in a line across your back.  You get up out of bed but you’re already exhausted.  You feel your neck and it hurts to the touch – you think you have swollen lymph nodes!  Could this be the flu?

It could be…it could be a myriad of different things so you quarantine yourself to your bedroom and start sipping away at an herbal tea watching HGTV while you’re on the mend.  That is until you start to feel this tingling…no…a burning…err…it’s a stabbing pain – it’s all three! – along that same line on your back.  You muster up the energy to look in the mirror and


You see a rash.  There’s these things that kinda look like little blisters all along your back and under your armpit…Oh god and they hurt!!! But you’ve had chicken pox before and this looks kind of like it but…but it’s not quite the same.  Aside: herpes zoster (shingles) appears along a dermatome (an area of the skin supplied by nerves from a single spinal root


Dermatome Distribution


The good news: you don’t have the flu.  The bad news: you’ve got shingles.


You go see your naturopathic doctor who confirms the diagnosis and now you’re wondering what the hell you’re going to do about all this pain.  There may be a few suggestions from your doc and I bet that one of them will mention the colloidal oatmeal bath.

You can certainly go buy yourself some expensive colloidal oatmeal like Aveeno…sure!  But I’m a student on a budget and I understand that there are many people out there like me that would love to make their own medicine with less money but same effect.  I’m with you guys – I’m on your side!!  So I’ll tell you my little secret: I don’t buy colloidal oatmeal.  I make it.

If you have a serious gluten allergy I recommend buying gluten-free oatmeal, okay???  I don’t want you guys hurting even more on top of the shingles pain!

So a great, inexpensive way to make some colloidal oatmeal to soothe your shingles is to buy some oats – not the instant oats!!! – and get your food processor out and pour ‘em into it.  Turn it on and make it turn to powder!!!  VOILA!  Can you believe it?  You just made yourself some colloidal oatmeal.  But I bet you’re still in pain, huh?  Well that’s because we haven’t used the oats yet!!  Your next mission, should you choose to accept pain relief, is to run yourself a warm bath (as tempting as a hot bath is because they’re relaxing, stick to warm…trust me….trrruuuuussssstttttt me).  Take a few cups of that powdered up oatmeal and as the bath begins to get filled with water run the oats under the faucet (this will disperse it into your tub).  Carefully get into your milky water and because you powdered the oatmeal it kind of suspends itself in the water…letting you enjoy the silkiness!

CAUTION: getting out is extremely slippery.  Take your time and be careful.
CAUTION: do not rub yourself with a towel, pat yourself dry. You will irritate or even pop your blisters if you rub.
CAUTION: I’m serious! Hot water will dry out your skin and irritate it to no ends – not exactly what we’re aiming for.


If you have some cream that you like to put on because it’s soothing you can even mix in the powder to that cream  – oats are very calming to irritated skin because of their composition.  They have starch, saccharo-mucilaginous, albumen, fiber, & lots of other stuff – who’d have thought!  Go ahead…experiment with medicine from within your pantry!

Edited at 12:22pm: Please DON’T ignore other treatment options for shingles.  Your doctor may recommend various treatments including pharmaceuticals (anti-virals).  This post was merely made as an add-on to any treatment options you choose – topical ointments for shingles may provide relief but they do not target the virus that is actually causing shingles.  Speak to your naturopath or medical doctor and figure out what treatment is best for you to avoid complications.

So tell me, have you ever enjoyed an oatmeal bath?  Comment below about how you used it and how it helped YOU!