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Anyone had shingles?

(26 Posts)
ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 12:08:20

I think I might have shingles, but not sure Anyone who's had it, do these symptoms sound familiar:

Achy feeling in side of back, half way down for a couple of days

Itchy feeling in same place

A few isolated red spots (very small, but a bit scabby)

numbness on skin near the spots

Numbness on skin on my front, at the same height as the feeling on my back.

I don't feel ill or have any pain, which is what is throwing me a bit. Plus the spots aren't a rash, just a few little spots (although i realise this could be the start of it and it might get worse).

Would be interested to hear any others' shingles stories.

3littlefrogs Fri 14-Jan-11 12:10:23

Sounds exactly like a mild bout of shingles. I found putting zovirax on the spots helped. It depends whether it gets worse though.

If the spots seem to be developing in a "line" that would suggest one nerve affected.

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 12:25:59

I've had them on my head, and it started with one or two isolated spots, the spots are generally in a line along the nerve - so it could well be, go to the doctor as soon as possible because if it is, you need to get the anti virals quickly for them to work, - if you do get them it may well stop it turning into blisters.

MIne wasn't a rash - it was a few spots then a sort of red inflamed area.

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 12:27:00

So the 'lack' of rash i.e. just three or four spots, isn't unusual?

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 12:37:21

Look on my profile iheart - I've uploaded a photo of mine (I know it sounds mad but I couldn't see them on top of my head so got DH to take a photo grin) you can sort of see what they look like. (Ignore lack of hair - I was poorly at the time)

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 12:49:31

Thanks Kurri - trouble is, I can't see mine properly as they're on my back, but might get DH to take a photo like you did - good idea!

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 14-Jan-11 12:52:35

Go to doctor now!

Shingles drugs are very much more effective if started early. Possible effect of not treating includes permanent nerve damage and lifelong pain.

Mine started as one spot which I though was an itchy insect bite, near an eyebrow, and I don't think I got more spots. Went to the doc on day 3. Pharmacist offered pain control when I filled shingles prescription and I thought, Don't be Daft.

By day 5, ah ha ha. The pain was surreal. My face was half human, half pumpkin and the drugs (or pain) were adding nausea on top. I just sat there thinking, "Can I die now, please?"

By day 8 the swelling was receding enough to see out of the eye, but I was looking through frosted glass. Emergency opthalmic appt as shingles can cause blisters on the retina - but apparently I'd got away with just an infection. Had problems later from all the anti-bios but sod that, a scarred retina would have been professionally disastrous for me.

Still get occasional twinges, but maybe that's psychosomatic when stressed.

Less scary if it's on your back, but GET IT CHECKED!

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 12:58:18

Interesting (and also sorry) to hear you still get twinges ThisIsANiceCage - I do too, can be quite painful (and it was about 18mnths ago I had them)- I'm thinking some nerve damage maybe?

3littlefrogs Fri 14-Jan-11 13:05:14

I think shingles is much more dangerous and painful when it affects the facial nerves.

I had mine round one side of my waist - back to front - and recovered quickly and have never had any after effects.

Rosa Fri 14-Jan-11 13:06:17

SOunds just like mine. I had spots ( looked about 4 or 5) on the front round waistband level very few then another tiny patch round appendix height- Had back and kidney pain and nerve twinges ..I feel so sorry for anybody who has it worse.... I diddn't know what it was to tried most simple creams and lots of aloe vera. Saw doc when it was going ..wish I had gone before !

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 13:15:07

Is the doctor likely to give me anti-viral meds? I thought they weren't that effective?

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 14-Jan-11 13:17:56

Hmm, thinking about it, I haven't had twinges very recently. And I think mine was about 18 months ago, as well. The NHS pages on postherpetic neuralgia say 95% clears up within one year, so that works

And mostly it's just been a nasty itch, so no big deal. <makes libations of thanks to Hygieia. And GlaxoSmithKlein>

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 14-Jan-11 13:19:27

Yep, Aciclovir. Doc said they're highly effective if started early enough.

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 13:24:58

I think he will iheart they usually do, I don't know if they help (because obv. I haven't experienced not having them) but it can be pretty painful so anything that may clear it up quicker is worth it IMO. My mum didn't get anti virals when she had them - but that was because she left it too late for them to be of any use.

Thanks for link ThisIsANiceCage - interesting.

Elibean Fri 14-Jan-11 13:25:31

I had shingles in early October. Mine was on my face and head, very like Kurri's but I had a lot of pain - not so much from the spots, but inside my neck, behind my ear and behind my eyeball: I thought I had a trapped nerve for a few days (and felt 'viral', slight temp and sore throat), then a few red welts on my forehead that looked like sunburn.

Never had a rash, but did start antivirals straight away - they stopped the 'rash' in its tracks, but I had to take pain medication for 2-3 weeks. Worst part was exhaustion, was really really wiped out for about 6 weeks and caught every cold going! Now fine, though.

Antivirals are usually given out if you are over 50, or have shingles that might affect your sight or hearing, or a particularly bad outbreak. Otherwise, not normally given - but I imagine it depends on the surgery/GP.

Hope yours stays mild, if thats what it is, and goes away fast! Prob worth showing spots to a GP, especially given the numbness (which sounds like a nerve thing - I had VERY weird nervey sensations along the path of the facial nerve, which is where mine was).

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 13:25:56

Sorry - called the GP a he - how sexist of me! I meant he/she of course.

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 14-Jan-11 13:52:11

Heh heh. When I called the surgery to say, I'm still pumpkinoid do I need more drugs, the doctor wanted to rule out another eye infection. So he asked...

Do you have any pain?

Think I may have chipped some enamel replying unprofanely to that one. smile

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 14:17:22

Spoke to the duty doctor, and she said to pop in and she'd take a look. She's not convinced by the spots, but gave me a prescription to use only if a rash appears.

Thanks for all your advice everyone. I would probably have done nothing about it, so if it gets worse I now have the option of getting the anti-virals. (Doc said that the post herpatic pain is much less common in younger people - I am 41 - so that is reassuring.)

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 14:19:13

And yes kurri - it was a she doctor!

KurriKurri Fri 14-Jan-11 14:19:31

great stuff iheart - pleased you got to chat with the doc. smile

ihearthuckabees Fri 14-Jan-11 14:24:30

I know: I rang up, she rang straight back, said if I could get there in the next 10 minutes she could see me. I could, so did, and so within half an hour I'd put my mind at rest and got a prescription in case of emergency. I think I'm very lucky with my local health centre, and this doctor in particular is very good and by pure luck was the duty doctor today.

Feel blessed.

Labradorlover Sat 15-Jan-11 21:13:48

Had shingles at xmas. Hardly any spots, but pain, itching and burning feeling on one side of my body in a band around from front to back above one hip.
On the advise from other mumsnetters I went to see Doc at hospital on boxing day. Was given antivirals and am now feeling back to normal. Was painful/itchy for about a week and the odd twinge after that.
Prehaps I could have done without the drugs, but didn't fancy dealing with the pain for longer than necessary.

Labradorlover Sat 15-Jan-11 21:17:47

Also my shingles started with just being itchy and a bit odd, with a couple of spots for the first couple of days. Then on xmas day was really sore and wiped out, which was what sent me scurrying here for advice.
By the way I'm 39. Hope it clears up soon.

Beveridge Sat 15-Jan-11 21:27:52

I had shingles over a year ago, probably quite mild, started having a weird, tingly feeling on the left side of my back when lying in bed or sitting in the car.

Then after a few days, breastfeeding DD from my left breast became absolutely excruciating! I was in tears and gripping onto furniture feeding her - saw 3 GPs over the course of a week who suggested thrush, then mastitis but it was only when a crop of spots had come out under my left armpit that the third GP had me diagnosed in a few seconds from the other side of the room when I was pulling up my top to show him the rash.

Honestly, I could have wept with relief - I was so pleased to have a diagnosis. GP said I was probably through the worst of it and given I was breastfeeding, we decided I wouldn't take the antivirals. It cleared up fine and I've never had a twinge since.

mishymoshy Sat 15-Jan-11 21:32:15

I had shingles on my back and under my arm. Started out with a small patch of red that was like it had been rubbed raw. Felt a bit under the weather but not much else. Then the same thing started as a bigger patch on my back. It was very itchy-burny, after a few days scabbed over.

I never felt that ill, was just tired and puked once after having one drink.

Shingles can only affect one 'corner' of you at a time, so won't go from one side to the other across your spine, or from your back to your face or vice versa.

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