Hello, I'm an 18 year old female who has just been diagnosed with shigles. I'm hoping someone may be able to answer some questions I have. First off, I'm very confused on how shingles is contagious...I know that if people who haven't had chickenpox come into contact with the affected area can develope chickenpox and not shigles and that you can spread the blisters around your own body if the fluid touches other parts of your skin but what happens if someone who has had chickenpox comes into contact with the blisters or something the rash has touched? Will they get an outbreak too?
Also im very paranoid about spreading the rash to my nether reagions. Sense it is a member of the herpesvirus family, if it spreads down there will it be like genital herpes and have flare ups down there for the rest of your life? I find myself nerodicly washing my hands 3 or 4 times in a row in searing hot water before using the bathroom or changing undergarments, in fear of giving myself genital singles.
Sense I have developed this at such a young age what are my chances of having pain continuing after the rash is gone? Is it less or more likely to happen? And is scarring a serious problem? My rash isn't too savear, just some medium sized blister clusters on my belly side and back. There isn't much pain either, just some moderate aching from time to time but there is a constant annoying feeling of pins and needles in the newer areas of the rash.
And lastly, how long does the virus live on objects like unwashed clothes or bed sheets?
I'm feeling really nervous and stressed out by all of this and just confused on why this has happened to me now at 18 and not later in life...
Thanks to anyone who reads this.
Sorry to hear you have shingles - I too am sitting here with shingles and I'm only 31 - this is my third outbreak. So - a person with shingles cannot give anyone else shingles, but theoretically they can give chicken pox to someone who hasn't had it before. This, however is unlikely to happen because the areas where you are affected, you are probably covering, and it's only through contact with the fluid from the affected areas that you could give someone chicken pox. Also, most people have had either chicken pox or subclinical chicken pox (infected to a degree where they have natural protection but not enough to get the full manifestations of chicken pox). You can spread it to other parts of your body if you are very immuno-suppressed but this is rare. Genital herpes (herpes simplex) is completely different from shingles (herpes zoster). You statistically have a lower chance of developing complications such as post-herpetic neuralgia than older people.
Get better soon,
The Following User Says Thank You to Eilidh1 For This Useful Post: Halfling (07-05-2012)