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Old 10 August 2016, 12:37 PM
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Icon05 Shingles?

I wanted to title this thread Now What? but that would have been too confusing. So for the past 2-3 days, the left side of my abdomen has been numb and itchy at the same time. That same section of my back also hurts, which leads me to believe that I've pulled a muscle. But the numbness? A Googles search suggests many things, one of them shingles. Yes, I've had chickenpox, no I have not had the vaccine. [I did not think that the vaccine was recommended for the under 60 crowd. Besides I don't want to get autism. ] Before I go running off to my doctor I want to get some insight as to what may be wrong with me now.
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Old 10 August 2016, 01:00 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
I did not think that the vaccine was recommended for the under 60 crowd. Besides I don't want to get autism. ] Before I go running off to my doctor I want to get some insight as to what may be wrong with me now.
Shingles are real pain. My mom's had it twice and both times she was miserable. She said it felt like pins+needles, and also like someone putting hot embers on her skin.

The recommended age for shingles vaccine is 60, but it's approved for as early as 50.

Google has lots of pictures of what it looks like.

OY
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Old 10 August 2016, 01:07 PM
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Ieuan ab Arthur Ieuan ab Arthur is offline
 
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Hi DawnStorm:

Sorry to hear of your discomfort. I had the joy of going through a case of shingles last Christmas (and I was only 55 at the time). In my case, the affected nerve was C3 so the result was eruptions on my left neck, shoulder and lower jaw. It was itchy, but I didn't have the numbness you describe.

Because I had helped my mother through a bout of shingles some ten years earlier, I recognized the signs and made straight for the doctor. The doctor put me on a course of antivirals (along with the usual calamine lotion) and I believe that because it was caught and treated early the worst was over in about a fortnight (though the marks lasted for about a month). I didn't even need the high-powered pain pills that the doctor prescribed.

I would suggest that you make a beeline for your doctor. If it is shingles, you may have caught it early enough that antivirals may be able to help you. If it is something else, at least you and your doctor can address the issue.

Best wishes for a speedy convalescence.

Ta ra 'wan,

Ieuan "Itchy & Scratchy" ab Arthur
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Old 10 August 2016, 01:26 PM
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AIUI they recommend waiting until 60 because they aren't sure how long the shot will provide immunity, and they don't want to do it too soon and risk the patient's being unprotected when they are older and probably weaker. The resulting risk is that some people under 60 will get shingles, but the thinking is they're likely better able to fight the infection.

I second the recommendation to see your doctor.
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Old 10 August 2016, 01:38 PM
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I was looking through the Australian Bureau of Statistics list of deaths per year and I was surprised to see that there's usually a handful of people who die from shingles. I knew it was pretty bad but I wasn't aware that it could be deadly.
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Old 10 August 2016, 02:46 PM
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My mother had an unusual case that infected the nerves running to her face and inner ear, landed her in the hospital for a week or so, left her with half her face temporarily paralyzed, and gave her severe balance problems for some time and some balance problems for the rest of her life.

They had at the time (late 1970's) so few similar cases to go by that they didn't know her survival chances, let alone her recovery chances.

Go to the doctor. Complications that drastic are rare, yes; but shingles -- if it is shingles -- isn't just a nuisance. And if it isn't shingles, you really need to find out what it is.
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Old 10 August 2016, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for your insights! I do have an appointment next Tuesday for a general check up, so I will bring this issue up with the doc then.
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Old 10 August 2016, 04:44 PM
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I had shingles when I was in grad school. Mrs. from Georgia was teaching second grade that year, there was a chickenpox epidemic, and she must've brought some of the virus home, because evidently exposure to chickenpox can trigger the shingles outbreak.

Mine was a widespread, blotchy rash of somewhat raised pink spots and weals on my chest at first. Then little blisters erupted. The bad thing was the pain--it literally felt that anything touching the places was burning me. I wore loose shirts and had to pull them away from my chest to be able to bear it. One of my professors asked what in the hell I was doing, and I raised my shirt and he closed his eyes and said, "Okay, I've had that. No explanation necessary."

The worst of the pain lasted about three days, but it took a long while to ease off, and the spray the student infirmary gave me really didn't help much. Good luck if that's what you have!
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Old 10 August 2016, 04:47 PM
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IDK what was in the spray the infirmary gave you, but IMU doctors routinely prescribe heavy-duty painkillers for shingles.
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Old 10 August 2016, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Thanks for your insights! I do have an appointment next Tuesday for a general check up, so I will bring this issue up with the doc then.
I'm not sure, but I think current treatment for shingles works better the faster you get it, and may work poorly if you wait another week. You might want to look into that.
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Old 10 August 2016, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
If you begin medicines within the first 3 days of seeing the shingles rash , you have a lower chance of having later problems, such as postherpetic neuralgia.


Sounds to me like it's worth scheduling an extra visit. You do NOT want neuralgia.

ETA: Scroll down on that page for more info on postherpetic neuralgia.
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Old 10 August 2016, 08:17 PM
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Let me just add one more voice to the chorus: The sooner that you seek treatment for shingles, the better.

Ta ra 'wan,

Ieuan ab Arthur
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Old 12 August 2016, 12:13 PM
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Went to my doctor yesterday. She said that I may be in the early stages of shingles and to let her know if there is any burning, stinging, or a rash. She mentioned that it can take up to a week for any blisters/vesicles to appear.
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Old 12 August 2016, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
IDK what was in the spray the infirmary gave you, but IMU doctors routinely prescribe heavy-duty painkillers for shingles.
Well, this was back in the old days, when the most common treatment for shingles was to apply leeches. . . .

Kidding aside, it was before any of the antiviral agents that are now part of the pharmaceutical arsenal were available. At this late date I don't know what was in the spray, but it was most likely a topical anesthetic. It didn't work well and after it was applied the effects didn't last long. I could be wrong, but I think the only treatment for very early shingles at that time was a gamma globulin injection, which was not spectacularly effective, anyway.
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Old 12 August 2016, 09:37 PM
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I figured it was a topical anesthetic, I just thought it was interesting they didn't give you something stronger.
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Old 21 August 2016, 05:08 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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Well it's official! It's shingles, albeit a mild case. I started breaking out on Monday, sent some photos to my doc that night, and the next day she told me come by so she could have a look. So now I'm on an anti-viral, plus DH is putting calamine on the areas. Let me tell you this anti-viral pill is large enough to qualify for its own zip code! This ain't no little blue pill, this is a big blue pill. Literally. It's a lovely shade of blue. I'm still a bit itchy, but at least the planet Jupiter has stopped calling me demanding its red spot back. When I picked up the scrip, the pharmacist suggested that I speak to my doctor about getting the shingles vaccine. Once this bout goes back into remission of course.
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Old 21 August 2016, 05:17 PM
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Ah, Valtrex. I've taken it for bad cold sore outbreaks.
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Old 22 August 2016, 01:02 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Let me tell you this anti-viral pill is large enough to qualify for its own zip code! This ain't no little blue pill, this is a big blue pill. Literally. It's a lovely shade of blue.
Yeah, that's Valtrex 1gram. If you have trouble with it, you may be able to get it in 500mg or 250mg and multiply the dosage accordingly. Talk to your pharmacist.

OY
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