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Talk to me about shingles. Because I've fucking got it :(

(39 Posts)
Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 04:26:13

Please come talk to me about your experience with shingles. Lucky me, I've got it angry sad

It started with odd low back pain last Monday evening. Pain in my low back and right hip. Achy and pinching and yucky. Really crappy night. More of the same Tues and Tues night. Weds morning noticed an odd blustery rash on my low back. Thought I'd burned myself with the hot pack.
Went on a short family holiday Weds to Sunday. Back ache, yucky burning pain in my hip, bloody awful itching all over my right hip. Lymph nodes in groin swollen and painful. WTF? I finally put it together when I asked DH to look at the rash on my back again and he said "hmmm... it looks exactly like when you got those fever blisters on your cheek last year" (baaaaad cold sore outbreak on my lip/ cheek last Sept).

<lightbulb>

Fuck. What if its shingles???
Got home Sun night, begged to be seen by GP this morning. Yup. Shingles. Massive prescription for acyclovir. Seeing her again Thurs.

So. Tell me about shingles. How long does the rash last? How long does it hurt?

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself right now. sad

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 04:26:57

Blustery = blistery

Cadmum Tue 02-Oct-12 04:49:28

Sorry Jacks...

Shingles is painful but it is good that you were offered meds right away. It generally runs a ten day course but can have lingering symptoms.

Dh had it earlier this year and was off work for several days which is virtually unheard of so I know that he was in pain. A friend's dh was unable to sleep for the pain but he opted not to take the Acyclovir.

The chicken pox vaccine has a lot to answer for... An increasing number of young, healthy adults are contracting shingles because the chicken pox are no longer making the rounds.

I hope you manage to rest and recover quickly.

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 04:54:51

I had a massive case of chickenpox thirty-odd years ago so the varicella vaccine isn't to blame in my case.

GP said it's best to start acyclovir within 24 to 72 hours after blisters appear. Today was day 6 so I missed that boat sad
She still said it was worth doing though.

Bleeeeeeeeh. I am so unimpressed. sad

Cadmum Tue 02-Oct-12 05:05:59

It is increasingly found in our generation because it lies dormant following our initial illness. Normally, our immunity is reactivated by the circulating virus...

I am sorry that you didn't catch it on time for the antiviral to be most effective. (I think this is why my friend's dh opted not to take it as well.)

How do you feel now?

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 05:09:57

Crappy. I hurt. I'm tired. And I know I'm going to sleep like crap because the pain is worse at night and I can't get comfortable. sad

Thank you for asking thanks smile

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 05:11:14

I'm in a different time zone (West Coast of Canada, eight hours behind the UK) so I may not be back for a bit. Unless I can't sleep.

Cadmum Tue 02-Oct-12 05:46:04

I hope you manage to sleep... Dh was worse at night. (I grew up in Victoria and am currently living in Thailand.)

Get well quickly.

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 05:52:41

Oh smile
A fellow Canadian!!! smile smile smile

Night. Going to try to sleep. We'll see how it goes.

twolittlebundles Tue 02-Oct-12 06:35:47

I had shingles very severely while pregnant with dd2. Couldn't take the meds due to pg. The pain was agonising and I couldn't sleep- everything bloody hurt and everything was basically shit!

After 5 days of almost no sleep, midwife prescribed low level sleeping tablets, which helped A LOT- they had painkillers in them too smile. Would definitely recommend it if you can get the gp to prescribe. Here (NZ), they are called zopiclone- very addictive stuff though so I had to turn my leftover pills into the pharmacy when I was better as apparently there is a huge black market for them!

Pain-wise, it took about 2 weeks to fade to the stage where it was mostly unnoticeable, and the scars are still with me (much faded but there) 2 years on. There is a chance of long-term pain as an effect from the virus, but I believe there is some research to say that this is more likely to happen in the over 65 age group.

There is also research that points to capacin (sp?) as an effective treatment for the ongoing pain- would probably be worth discussing with gp or searching on internet if you end up with long term effects.

Good luck- I hope you start feeling better soon and have had some sleep!

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 14:56:58

Gah. That was the crappiest night.

Twolittlebundles, we have zopiclone here. My GP isn't keen on prescribing sleeping pills and I completely respect that, because of the addictive potential. Last time I had trouble sleeping she prescribed trazodone and that worked very well so I'll ask her for that on Thurs.

Ugh. I hurt. And the numbness and itching on my hip (at the same time!!! WTF!!) is making me crazy. Scratched myself accidentally last night and touched the blisters, just about leaped out of bed.

I know that compared to some other problems this isn't a big deal, but ugh ugh UGH!!!!!!

KurriKurri Tue 02-Oct-12 15:08:13

Oh poor you jacksmania - shingles is the absolute pitts - I've had it three times. Acyclovir will usually prevent the rash from becoming too bad, but doesn't do much for the pain IME.
Dose yourself up with pain killers, and if they don't work get something stronger from the GP (I have higher dose co codamol (more codeine - but can make you constipated and a bit spacey) and I have amytriptyline which works on neuropathic pain.

keep cool - a fan helps, or ice packs wrapped in a cloth applied to the area, - loose cotton clothes. You might feel quite ill - I was in bed for a week with my second bout, (not the other two times) remember it is a nasty virus, so may very well make you feel unwell as well as sore.

If you still have a lot of pain after 2 - 3 weeks, go back to docs and get something, - and if it really drags on, you might need a second dose of antivirals - last bout I had took two lots to knock it on the head.

Its an absolute bastard - hope you feel better asap, also unless people have had it they don't realise how excruciating it can be sad - much sympathy from me.

Elibean Tue 02-Oct-12 15:43:28

<waves at Kurri my shingles twin>

Poor you, Jacksmania, I feel sorry for you too. I had shingles two years ago, on my face. The rash stopped in its tracks when I took Acyclovir, which was good (especially as it was near my eyes), but I had shooting head pains for about two weeks - and felt utterly wiped out and crappy for 2-3 weeks.

My friend has just had shingles on her face, and the pain lasted a few days, and she was running after 10 days - so it isn't always the same!

Do rest, as much as possible. If its any consolation, I didn't get a single cold the winter after I had shingles....must have boosted my immune system smile

Sympathies, and pain killers, and TLC from me x

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 16:52:59

Thanks all.

It's almost 9 am here and I'm in work (saw no reason to lie around in pain at home) but am grumpy and tired and feeling very sorry for myself.

This sucks sad

BigBoobiedBertha Tue 02-Oct-12 17:04:00

Sorry you have got shingles. It is very nasty. sad

I have only witnessed it second hand though so I'm not much help to you on what to do. The only thing I would suggest is that pain can linger after the shingles has gone if you don't get it under control as it can with a lot of painful conditions. Make sure you get some painkillers that work and keep taking them without a gap - don't let the pain come back and then try and medicate. It is easier to keep pain under control than it is to get rid of it in the first place fyswim.

You also said that you were are at work. Are you sure that everybody around you has either had or been vaccinated against chickenpox? You can pass on the virus if they haven't and it can be very nasty in adults.

I hope you feel better soon.

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 17:47:37

Thanks.

No worries, I have told everyone (only two other people besides DH) and all my clients. Have cancelled those who haven't had CP or aren't sure if they have. As GP said, at least it's on my back, so not anywhere that's going to touch people. If it were on my arms, I'd be staying home!

Trust me, I am not taking chances with anyone else's health. CP or shingles is not a joke, I am being very careful.

DystopianReality Tue 02-Oct-12 18:02:39

Jacks, you need to keep away from pregnant people (who may not have had CP and are also immunocompromised). Someone with Shingles can give CP to someone who either hasn't had it who who isn't vaccinated. Shingles can't cause Shingles nor can CP cause Shingles. It is the Varicella virus (left over from an attack (prob in childhood) that gets re-activated due to one thing or another, anything from tiredness and feeling run-down to a course of chemotherapy.

It sounds wretched. Hope you feel better soon

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 18:04:31

Dystopian, thank you, I know smile
I'm in the health care field myself. And have been doing tons of reading on shingles. I am taking every precaution, for myself and everyone else.

cocolepew Tue 02-Oct-12 18:11:34

Oh no poor you, I've had it 3 winters in a row, in the same place on my back. I don't think the anti virals were much use to me. I still get pain and itching around the area I had them. The itching is very regular the pain more so if it's cold.

I had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago and I'm feeling a bit run down. My upper back feels like I'm taking them again.

Hope you feel better soon smile

blue2 Tue 02-Oct-12 18:11:45

I had shingles twice in 3 years - you have all my sympathy...

I also tried a herbal remedy called Sambucol. Its a syrup made of elderberries and can help the body kick the virus 'out' a lot better. It also tastes rather comforting.

www.sambucol.co.uk/

cocolepew Tue 02-Oct-12 18:16:04

I might get that Sambucol for me and my DD, she catches everything. Thanks for the link.

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 18:23:17

Does it have Sambuca in it?
That would make me feel better grin

Narked Tue 02-Oct-12 18:23:35

Eat well, take antihistamines - I don't know if they really help but it felt like they did - and try to find some good stuff to listen to (audio books, comedy etc)

It's horrible sad

Jacksmania Tue 02-Oct-12 18:24:54

I'm lurking on MN, trying distract myself grin

twolittlebundles Tue 02-Oct-12 20:31:03

Have the Sambuca grin. When I had shingles, my yelps whenever I moved in bed or brushed against the blisters woke the whole house. A nurse I know suggested trying putting strong, cold, cammomile tea on the blisters- I just laughed- she obviously had never had shingles... smile

Hope the recovery is swift!

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