Shingles is a painful viral infection that affects millions of people each year. While the symptoms can be treated, prevention is always better than cure. Fortunately, you can make simple lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing shingles. Here are five lifestyle changes you can implement to help prevent shingles.
Get Vaccinated Against Shingles
Shingles vaccination is the most effective way to prevent shingles. The shingles vaccine, also known as the herpes zoster vaccine, is recommended for everyone aged 50 years and older. If you have already had shingles, you should still get vaccinated, as the vaccine can help prevent future outbreaks.
Shingles Vaccine and its Effectiveness
The shingles vaccine is a live virus vaccine that contains a weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus. The vaccine is over 90% effective in preventing shingles, and even if you do get shingles after being vaccinated, your symptoms will likely be less severe.
Who Should Get Vaccinated
The shingles vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 50 years and older, even if they have had shingles before. If you are over 60, you may be eligible for a free shingles vaccine under the National Immunisation Program.
How to Get Vaccinated Against Shingles
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about getting vaccinated against shingles. The vaccine is available at most pharmacies and general practices.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections such as shingles. Therefore, managing your stress levels is crucial for preventing shingles.
The Link Between Stress and Shingles
When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, which can weaken your immune system. A weakened immune system makes fighting off infections such as shingles harder for your body.
There are many ways to reduce stress, including meditation, yoga, exercise, and therapy. Find a stress-reducing technique that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine.
Incorporating Stress Management into Your Daily Routine
Making time for stress-reducing activities can be challenging but essential for maintaining your overall health. Try to find at least 15-30 minutes each day to focus on relaxation and stress management.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of developing shingles.
The Link Between Diet and Shingles
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of developing shingles.
Foods that are Beneficial for Shingles Prevention
Some foods that are particularly beneficial for shingles prevention include citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains, and lean proteins such as chicken and fish.
Incorporating Healthy Eating Habits into Your Daily Routine
Making healthy food choices can be challenging, but you can make many small changes to your daily routine to improve your diet. Try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals, replacing processed foods with whole foods, and reducing your intake of sugary and fatty foods.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and reducing your risk of developing shingles.
The Link Between Sleep and Shingles
Sleep helps the body repair and restore itself, which is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of infections such as shingles.
The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep
Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to maintain a healthy immune system. Poor quality sleep can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, impairing the immune system’s ability to fight infections.
How to Improve Sleep Quality
To improve your sleep quality, create a relaxing bedtime routine, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, and make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and quiet. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, speak to your doctor or a sleep specialist for further advice.
Practice Good Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of infections, including shingles.
How Good Hygiene can Prevent Shingles
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which can be spread through direct contact with the rash or blisters. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding sharing personal items, can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Hygiene Habits that can Help Prevent Shingles
In addition to frequent hand washing and avoiding sharing personal items, other good hygiene habits include:
- Keeping your skin clean and dry.
- Covering any open wounds.
- Avoiding close contact with people who have shingles or chickenpox.
How to Incorporate Good Hygiene Habits into Your Daily Routine
Incorporating good hygiene habits into your daily routine is simple and can have a significant impact on preventing the spread of infections. Ensure you wash your hands frequently throughout the day, avoid touching your face, and keep your living environment clean and sanitized.
Making these five simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk of developing shingles. Getting vaccinated, managing stress levels, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and practicing good hygiene can all help prevent the spread of the varicella-zoster virus and protect your overall health. Remember to ask your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about shingles prevention.