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Old 02-15-2003, 01:13 PM   #1
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Nikkirxyz HB User
Post Shingles/ Help please.

This is my first posting to the board after reading healthboards for years.
Unfortunately last wednesday I was diagnosed with Shingles after having days of these poison ivyish looking red bumps growing on the left side of my thigh and groin area. I thought I had mistakenly eaten a walnut ridden muffin the week before, as I am allergic to nuts. I thought it was just a bad case of hives before it grew and grew, and quickly.. It was also hard to get an appointment so one whole day I had to wait for a dermatologist to see me. So in essence it was more than 48 hours since the innitial onset of a small rash (they say it's best if you catch it within the first 48 hours).

This virus is heinous and hideous because it is quite contagious and extremly excruciating. It is the herpes (Zoster) not genital or oral type, and is from either catching from someone else or it is dormant in your system if you had chicken pox as a child and can be brought on by stress or and an jury.. I had a bad bout with chicken pox as a child. Not only do I get deep muscle aches but the rippling, buzzing effect of the blisters themselves come in waves and keep me up at night. The blisters fill up and they ooze so I am continually doing laundry and sleeping on fresh sheets and towels, layering the sofa with a white sheet and so on. Very high maintenance! They gave me a steroid/cortizone shot and set me up with a prescription of Valtrex 1gm. to be taken 3 times a day. They say the side effects are a few including headaches but luckily I haven't had any. They say if you don't get rid of this now completely it can return or cause alot of muscle pain for years to come.

I'm on my 3rd day of medication and so far they are getting redder. Apparently they are supposed to sluff off eventually. At least the pains aren't as intense. I do take ibuprofen.

I was hopeing if someone had any knowledge or experience with this in the past,that you could share it with me to help me get through this. Any gems of wisdom of how you made it easier or little tips and what not would be greatly appreciated. It's been hell and I'll be missing alot of work also.

Thanks in advance!

Nikkir

 
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Old 02-15-2003, 01:17 PM   #2
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By the way, I'm in my forties. I usually hear of this affecting alot of seniors who have had injuries and bone breaks.

 
Old 02-15-2003, 05:28 PM   #3
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Nikkir,

Shingles, or "Herpes Zoster" is causd by the Herpes Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). VZV is also known in the community as the Chicken Pox Virus.

After you are infected with chicken pox as a child, VZV lays dormant in bunches of cells called ganglia which lie just next to your spinal cord. When you get shingles, the virus in one of these ganglia reactivates and gives you a horrible case of chicken pox...except just in the place that is supplied by the nerves coming out of that ganglion.

As far as contagion, this is a concept that patients often have a problem comprehending, so let me make it simple:

Chicken Pox begets Chicken Pox.
Shingles begets Chicken Pox.

So stay away from anyone who hasn't had chicken pox or the vaccine.

As for the prognosis, you should of course go with what your doctor tells you. In general, the earlier you can get on Valtrex, acyclovir, or Famvir, the better. The outbreak will be expected to last 1-2 weeks, but the drugs can shorten the duration.

After the external rash goes away, I'm afraid that it will still probably hurt for some months. This is a result of the damage done to the nerves and it is called "post-herpetic neuralgia." Medications may be used to help you manage the pain. I'm sorry to bring bad news like that, but you might as well know the truth. Again, there is evidence that treatment with Valtrex, acyclovir, or Famvir may shorten the duration of this symptom.

The good news is that shingles serves to "re-immunize" you against chicken pox and you will likely not have another outbreak.



------------------
-Mike
Certified Mad Scientist

"90% of people are
caused by accident."
__________________
-Mike
Certified Mad Scientist

"90% of people are
caused by accident."

 
Old 02-15-2003, 10:01 PM   #4
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Hi Mike!
Thanks for your quick and informative reply. I really appreciate it! I have been asking everyone I know for info as well as downloading every page on it that I can find. Basically all have said the same thing that you have said, except for one thing. You said that having it can serve to 'immunize' you from ever getting it or chicken pox again. That I have not read. What I have read however is that in certain individuals, you can contract it again and again depending on your immune system/ stress or other causes. So I've been really digging down deep to pull up the history of what may have triggered this, as I am a very healthy female yoga instructor who leads many health and stress reduction related workshops and conferences. I know that I was under alot of duress from some things at work, plus the added background stress of the world possibly going to war and the Space Shuttle exploding. Can you elaborate please about the 'immunizing 'affect.

Also, what soaps to use and the like? Also, if a blister breaks on myself, can I reinfect myself? I've been washing my hands a million times a day and when one breaks I take a shower just to be sure.

Thanks again Mike!

Nikkir

 
Old 02-15-2003, 11:49 PM   #5
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First, it is possible to get shingles more than once. It's just rare. It's possible to get chicken pox more than once, too. But rare. In people with compromised immune systems, it is more common to see multiple recurrences. If you get several of these, you should get blood tests done.

As for what soap to use, use something gentle like "DOVE" or another moisturizing brand. But just about anything is going to hurt anyways.
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"90% of people are
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Old 05-24-2003, 04:04 PM   #6
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lavalady HB User
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Hi, Nikkir (and Mike too!)
I am a 25year old. I got chicken pox at age three, and it was not terribly severe. When I was nine, I got shingles over half of my body, only on the backside. It was amazing, you could draw a straight line down between the shingles and untouched skin. I had to take huge pills and was in EXTREME PAIN. I remember screaming at my mom, I thought I was going to die. I didn't get shingles again until I was 21 and living on the mainland. Went to the Dr. and took his prescription. Three months later, it came again. Repeat. Six months later. Repeat. I have been getting shingles every six months or so for the past few years now, have gone to get blood tests, and nothing shows up wrong. I have no immunodefficency problems, just the reoccuring bouts of this intense pain that no one understands. After trying western medicine, (the Dr. said if I did it his way with meds I wouldn't get shingles again!) I have tried Chinese herbs, acupuncture, topical Chinese creams like wong sei dong (which DOES HELP with the itching and by drying out the sores,)changed my diet, (no chocolate, coffee, nuts, direct sunlight). Nothing really works like the miracle I'd hoped for. And I'd like to challenge anyone to live in Hawaii and not see the sun! So what do I do? No one really understands what shingles are here, and people, including my husband, can't comprehend the pain I am in. I recently quit working for the family busines because I was having a shingles breakout, and once again, no one took me seriously. My father actually rolled his eyes when I told him how painful it is, and how I needed things to be less stressful. Sometimes a breakout can be painful for two weeks before it appears, be with me for a month, and then take another two weeks for the pain to leave. That's too much time to be in pain, (and boy am I GROUCHY when I'm hurting). So whet do I do? I have not found them to be contagious, if one breaks, I gently dab it with a clean cloth and put a soothing cream (prescribed by a Chinese or Western doctor) over it. I'm sorry this is so long, but I wanted to show that young people get this too, and it looks like it will be with me the rest of my life. Any suggestions (or sympathy are appreciated.
Mahalo, K. Abrahams

 
Old 05-24-2003, 04:05 PM   #7
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lavalady HB User
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Hi, Nikkir (and Mike too!)
I am a 25year old. I got chicken pox at age three, and it was not terribly severe. When I was nine, I got shingles over half of my body, only on the backside. It was amazing, you could draw a straight line down between the shingles and untouched skin. I had to take huge pills and was in EXTREME PAIN. I remember screaming at my mom, I thought I was going to die. I didn't get shingles again until I was 21 and living on the mainland. Went to the Dr. and took his prescription. Three months later, it came again. Repeat. Six months later. Repeat. I have been getting shingles every six months or so for the past few years now, have gone to get blood tests, and nothing shows up wrong. I have no immunodefficency problems, just the reoccuring bouts of this intense pain that no one understands. After trying western medicine, (the Dr. said if I did it his way with meds I wouldn't get shingles again!) I have tried Chinese herbs, acupuncture, topical Chinese creams like wong sei dong (which DOES HELP with the itching and by drying out the sores,)changed my diet, (no chocolate, coffee, nuts, direct sunlight). Nothing really works like the miracle I'd hoped for. And I'd like to challenge anyone to live in Hawaii and not see the sun! So what do I do? No one really understands what shingles are here, and people, including my husband, can't comprehend the pain I am in. I recently quit working for the family busines because I was having a shingles breakout, and once again, no one took me seriously. My father actually rolled his eyes when I told him how painful it is, and how I needed things to be less stressful. Sometimes a breakout can be painful for two weeks before it appears, be with me for a month, and then take another two weeks for the pain to leave. That's too much time to be in pain, (and boy am I GROUCHY when I'm hurting). So whet do I do? I have not found them to be contagious, if one breaks, I gently dab it with a clean cloth and put a soothing cream (prescribed by a Chinese or Western doctor) over it. I'm sorry this is so long, but I wanted to show that young people get this too, and it looks like it will be with me the rest of my life. Any suggestions (or sympathy are appreciated.
Mahalo, K. Abrahams

 
Old 05-25-2003, 06:27 PM   #8
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freddy HB User
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I have had shingles about 10 yrs. I get bad outbreaks on the butt or lower spine. Unfortunatly I live in a hot climate which makes it worse. Also the waistband of jeans can be a killer. What I also find is hottubs will bring on an attack. I call them my tri-stars. Try not to get too worn down and keep imune system up.Keep calm and cool if possible!!

 
Old 05-29-2003, 05:18 AM   #9
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pattiann38 HB User
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Question: have you all had a biopsy to be sure it is shingles and not HSV1 or HSV2? I had a bizarre case of what they think was shingles last year and am still suffering from PHN. The one thing that makes me think I had shingles is that you could draw a straight line down half my face...it didn't cross that line and the blistering stayed pretty much on the right hand side. But I still wonder when people say they keep getting shingles if perhaps they dont have another variation of herpes? I guess I'm dreading this coming back because it really did some serious nerve damage and I'm scared another bout will do me in for good and I'm hoping that shingles is a one time thing. Thanks.

 
Old 05-29-2003, 09:16 AM   #10
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mutz HB User
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Here is my 2 cents worth on this.

My husband's herpes (he never had it typed) is in the nerves of his face. His blisters are on the inside of his mouth and in the patttern you describe---you could draw a line on the roof of his mouth with the blisters on one side and normal skin on the other.

I think that it is just a matter of the nerve system that is infected and does not necessarily differentiate herpes or shingles.

But a test would show either herpes simplex or another type of herpes virus. So the best way to find out for sure is to have a test done.
__________________
Diagnosed with initial outbreak 4-18-03. Spouse has facial herpes.

 
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