Shingles

Question:

How was your case of shingles diagnosed? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Chain on leg, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 09

I have spinal arthritis and since Christmas have suffered what I thought was flu. My immune system got rid of the cough fairly quickly 2 weeks. I could not sleep well due to arthritic back and my hip hurt, so one morning about 4 am I sat up and thought what I can do, I was so uncomfortable. I massaged my back and found the shingles rash. I had the appropriate medication from my doctor. Since then the exhaustion has been overwhelming. My rash appeared 25/1/18 so I wonder how long before I start to feel better. I wonder if anyone else had the fatigue for long.

Comment from: Cathie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

I have been to a doctor four times in 4 months. The blisters were diagnosed as white tailed spider bites, diabetes, smoking/drinking and finally shingles. For 6 months I have been on antibiotics that did nothing at all except make me feel ill. The last doctor prescribed acyclovir which seems to help. I had it first on my back then the last outbreaks have been strange burn blisters down my arms and legs. It looks like burns, or something from the garden. Blisters that hurt, ache, then itch and I have a giant feeling of being unwell. I just want to sleep and feel like I have the flu or pneumonia. I have no idea why this keeps happening, my arm and now leg just keeps ulcerating. Christmas Eve it erupted again, there does not seem to be much information on what is happening to me. My eyes and ears are also affected. I can't see or hear. Before the blisters appeared I thought I had a kidney infection.

Comment from: 700shirley, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

My shingles started with a sore swollen tip of my nose. On the second day the swelling and soreness had moved to the bridge of my nose and between my eyes. The left side of my face was sore to the touch, but no pain. I was shivering by evening and my left side of the face began to swell and get hot. Both lymph nodes were swollen and hard on neck. I went to a doctor who thought it was early shingles. So I was started on antibiotics for facial infection, and anti-viral. The rash lasted about 4 days. Blistering was done on face and I felt pretty good. Then the neck and head pain started. I was confused. Usually shingles begins with pain and finishes with rash, but mine was different. The pain was on the back of my neck and up to the center of back of skull. It is now day 8 and I was put on new drug called Horizon for post-shingle pain. It helps but makes me drowsy. Now the hard part begins; waiting for the pain to quit which may take days, weeks, or months. By the way, I had Bell's palsy on the same side of my face about 5 years ago. I believe there may be a connection.

Comment from: Judyt929, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I had a stiff neck for a couple of weeks, had recently had a major seizure so thought that caused the neck pain. I woke up Saturday morning around 2 a.m. with extreme neck pain. It hurt just to move or lift my head, plus I couldn't hear out of my left ear, same side as the neck pain. I went to an urgent care clinic and they said I probably had a pulled muscle in my neck, and they gave me a steroid injection and muscle relaxers; they also gave me antibiotic for ear infection. By Thursday I still wasn't feeling any better. After removing a heating pad from my neck I noticed a couple of blisters, and I thought I had burned myself. I mentioned the blisters to my sister who is a doctor and she asked me to send her a picture of my neck. I did and she said it looked like shingles. I then went to see my doctor who confirmed it is shingles and gave me anti-viral medicine and pain killers. Now it is 2 days since diagnosis and it still burns and hurts badly, but I can move my neck a little easier. I am only using lidocaine patch at night for pain. It helps a little, I have hydrocodone if it gets worse.

Comment from: Frustrated, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: March 24

It started with a small breakage of the skin just below my left eye, in the cheekbone, caused probably by shaving. After a couple of weeks this had grown larger. I went to see a dermatologist who ordered a blood/culture. The results came back as shingles. By this time, more spots had developed on my left leg, chest, back and the face. There are a few spots in my hairs. Immediately I was sent for a series of antibiotics (IV). Now I am on antibiotics, taken orally. I notice that that one of the symptoms include itching, open sores. I do not have any of those. Other than that, apart from being fatigued all the time with no energy. Two or three times a day, without any warning I get this excruciating pain to an area above my left eye. This pain lasts usually around 5 minutes.

Comment from: Andee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I have had outbreaks of herpes zoster for 33 years. I was misdiagnosed repeatedly. I am now 55 and take acyclovir. Why my immune system is so repressed is unknown. I had for 10 years repeated outbreaks precisely on my tail bone, and/or right thigh. They would become huge and horribly painful. I now am having them on my upper buttocks right to left and as one cluster heals another begins. I must take prednisone as I have spinal arthritis and frequent inflammations.

Comment from: Sherry, 55-64 (Patient) Published: July 10

I have facial shingles. It started with itching at the top corner of my forehead, and then wan tender to the touch. I developed bumps across only the left side, in my eye, and down the left side of my nose only. Left neck hurts to touch, but no rash. I have heard that it's very painful; that's putting it nicely! It just started 4 or 5 days ago.

Comment from: Shan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

Red dots turned to blisters in the left side of my back and the front part of my trunk before I was diagnosed with shingles.

Comment from: Cathy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

It all started with a sore throat that didn't go away over a few days. Then I had a swollen gland on the left side of my neck. Left ear felt strange, but no pain. I saw the doctor and we both thought it was an ear infection. I went home with antibiotics. Next day I had fever with chills and was throwing up (nausea). This lasted two days. I knew something was really wrong when I had trouble walking the next morning. I walked like I was highly intoxicated but I didn't have anything to drink. It is called vertigo. I went back to my doctor with the aid of my neighbor and the nurse. He looked in my ear and saw the sores and rash. Perplexed (he's a PA, physician's assistant), he brought in the regular doctor. He tested me for nerve damage, looked at my ear and said I have shingles, and to go to the emergency room at the local hospital. They gave me mega doses of anti-viral medicines for three days and two nights. An MRI showed that it wasn't in my brain or my eye. It is called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. I still have a slight vertigo but I am in physical therapy for that. I got a hefty hospital bill. Three months later and my ear still itches. Massive rash and sores never developed. Thank you doctors and nurses.

Comment from: countingblessings, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

Initially I went to an orthopedic/sports doctor when I experienced an excruciating pain on my right shoulder, I thought I did something to my shoulder when I played tennis two days prior and worked out at the gym the day before. I asked the doctor if my blistered (looks like burnt) finger and 2 pimple like rash on my right palm had anything to do with the pain on my shoulder. He laughed and said he did not think there was a relations between the two because he thought my hand symptoms looked like poison ivy. He told me to put cortisone on my hand and take 2 Aleve every 12 hours. Aleve did not alleviate the pain. The following night the pimple like rashes had spread on my hands and wrist and I was talking to my sister-in-law about my poison ivy symptoms and she thought based on her experience with poison ivy that mine was not, and said it could be shingles. I did not know much about shingles, so I googled it and came upon this forum. After reading the postings I was convinced I had shingles. I went to a family doctor first thing that morning who confirmed that I did have shingles. She prescribed an antiviral medicine and hydrocodone for pain. Hydrocodone did not seem to work so the following day I called her back, and she prescribed gabapentin that I can take along with hydrocodone. After 3 to 4 hours of taking gabapentin, the shooting pain was gone and whatever pain left behind was bearable, so I discontinued the hydrocodone the following day and was just taking Tylenol with gabapentin. I'm still waiting for all my sores to ripen and dry up but at least the pain is now just from the sores on my skin. I've been putting Desitin and sprinkling baking soda on the sores and that seems to help. This forum was a lot of help for me. That's the reason why I'm taking the time to post my experience also, hoping to help someone else. Thank you to all who posted their experiences before me.

Comment from: happytobehere, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 22

I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back. For 4 days I had extreme deep ache in right hip and buttock, wrapping around to front thigh down to my knee. Day 4, I felt stinging and hypersensitivity in one area on my butt. Next morning there was a rash in the area of stinging. I went to the doctor the next day and was diagnosed with shingles. He prescribed acyclovir 800 to take 5 times a day for 10 days along with Tylenol 3 for pain. Rash has spread to all the areas where I originally ached but no visible blistering or oozing. I still get achy feeling in my hip and hypersensitivity on and off. I only take a Tylenol 3 at bedtime as that is when it usually hurts. I'm on day 6 since diagnosis and am coping well.

Comment from: K, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I thought I had strained my right shoulder and upper back (had past injuries) and phoned in refill for muscle relaxant. Before picking up the prescription and after 3 nights without sleep due to severe pain, I noticed rash under my arm and thought maybe razor burn. But by late afternoon it had spread across chest and burning like heck. I didn't want to wait until next morning and went to 24 hour walk-in clinic and was diagnosed with shingles. Actually I was quite fortunate I went there right away and was able to start antiviral therapy within 72 hours of rash developing and given Vicodin for pain. Rash did spread further across upper back to spinal cord and upper breast and down arm to elbow. I suppose stress of losing and caring for terminally ill sibling during the past year had caught up with me.

Comment from: SandyT, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

On a Friday, throughout the day, I was aware of a sensitivity on the left side of my neck and top of my shoulder. I could see nothing there, so I just assumed it was irritation from a necklace I was wearing that day. By Saturday, a very small red spot appeared in the same area. My neck felt a little sore, so I began using a warm rice sock on my neck to relieve the soreness. By Monday, a couple of other spots appeared on my skin; nothing raised, just red in color. By Monday afternoon, I began having excruciating, stabbing pain in my neck and nothing would control it. The pain was like nothing I have ever experienced before, and finally got the best of me. A kind neighbor took me to the emergency room (ER) for diagnosis and treatment. Ice packs in the ER helped a bit. The doctor there prescribed pain medicines, cortisone, and several other medications, and the diagnosis was perhaps a pinched nerve. I was instructed to follow up with my spine doctor (as I have had low back spinal issues before). Tuesday continued with pain off and on with almost unbearable pain from time to time. Everyone kept asking me about my pain level on a scale from 1-10. During the worst episodes, the pain level was easily a 12 or 13, and in between the episodes, the pain level was a constant 8 at least. I went to my spine doctor on Wednesday, and, by that time, more red areas had appeared, and he quickly said he thought it was shingles and referred me to my regular family doctor. Two hours later at my family doctor's, the diagnosis was confirmed, shingles. Five more prescriptions later, I have been dealing with this for another 5 days. The worst episodes seem to have subsided, but the rash and blisters continue and the neck pain just never seems to let up. Ice packs and ibuprofen have been my best friends. There is no doubt in my mind that I would rather give birth again than have to deal with shingles again.

Comment from: Snowqueen, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

It all started about a week ago with chills which I didn't pay much attention to because I live in the north and have a very tender scalp. A few days ago, I started to get occasional shooting pain in my right ear. The following day a blister formed on the bridge of my nose and by night time the rash had developed on the outer edge of my eyebrow. Throughout the day, it began to feel as if I had sandpaper in my eye. Late yesterday, I noticed a lump in front of my ear. I have been fortunate that the pain is tolerable and I am mostly cold and tired. It has not been officially diagnosed by a certified doctor but my research and the rash point to shingles. It doesn't help that I already have adrenal exhaustion.

Comment from: Beth, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

Had flu 3-4 weeks ago followed by bronchitis. End of last week started feeling ill again - headache, tiredness now ear ache and pain that is covering a greater part of the left side of my head. Just seen doctor - no ear infection but it could be a muscular headache but my neck isn't stiff. However, I had shingles in this ear in 1988 and I had symptoms of shingles pain in my back last summer but no eruption. She is cautious that this might be the start of it again as I'm feeling ill and tired. Last time I had it I remember my neck ached - a new symptom on her. Taking paracetomol and ibuprofen alternately. She has given me a prescription for anti-viral in case it erupts over next few days. I sympathize with the person who described the pain on scale of 1-10 as 12. I can truly say that shingles in the head is the worst pain I have ever experienced including childbirth. The virus destroys the nerve sheath and ever since 1988, I have been slightly deaf and suffered intense pain in the winter.

Comment from: Akhealth, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

Noted a slight numbness or coolness with soreness to touch of left thigh for a couple days and it was so minor that I thought nothing of it. However, in a couple days I noticed a red raised area on left buttock that I really couldn't see very well even with a mirror. Next day it had grown and I noted a hand size reddened area on left front near pubis so I went to the doctor thinking it was either a bug bite, impetigo, or just maybe shingles. Actually I felt silly going to the doctor for a bug bite but I am glad I did. Next time, if there is a next time, I'll go at the first symptoms; it was shingles so I am presently on Valtrex 1000mg q8h. So as of 2 days later I notice above areas, described, less in appearance but do now note a slight burning sensation on upper left back. Have a follow-up doctor visit next week.

Comment from: Perry, Male Published: October 06

I was recently diagnosed with Shingles. This is a condition caused in those who had chicken pox. The virus stays in your system forever and you have to live with the thought that because it is hidden in your nerve ending in the spinal column it can raise its nasty head when the immune system is comprised of because of age; 50+. I researched this painful condition and found that Lysine, a form of amino acid helps in the relief of pain. Lysine is found in fruits, meats fish etc. STAY AWAY from nuts, seeds, grain products, spinach, seaweed, watercress, chocolate, gelatin and sugar.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 03

Last Friday afternoon I notice a slight rash appearing on my right chest, by that Night it had spread around to my back. By Morning I couldn't stand the intense burning and itch so headed for the Hospital, no pain yet. I was seen and after a very quick look she said it was classic shingles pattern and prescribed Famciclivir. Because of Spinal surgeries the pain meds had held off the pain until then but now it was extreme. I read online that acupuncture works so I had an appointment for Tuesday to see. After fifteen minutes the pain was gone. It's now Wednesday morning, pain is still minimal, it's not spreading and it's drying up. Thank God, but it has to be caught within the first Seventy two hours, or the Medication won't work. I feel for anyone who has this, I really wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Good Luck everyone.

Comment from: Shirley, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 04

Shingles is very painful, the rashes itch very badly, especially when you perspire. I was diagnosed, then the rash came, I knew something was definitely wrong. I did not even think of shingles, as I was told it is an old people's disease.

Comment from: greg, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 08

I am 64 year old male. I have had outbreaks for the last ten years on lower face. After the eruptions I started treating with a mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and bag balm mixed in to a heavy paste. Burns a bit but felt like it was killing it. Usually within 2 weeks it went away. Last week a bout was starting. Tenderness and swelling started. Before it erupted this time, I started the paste. Three days later it was mostly gone. Three days after that there is no sign of it. No swelling and no pain. Works for me and hope it will for others.

Comment from: Emily, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I have been sick with the flu and bronchitis for about a month and am in the process of moving my family from Wisconsin to South Carolina. Yesterday, I started getting intense itching on the left side of my torso with a strange burning, stinging feeling. The area from my spine, straight around my torso became red and very tender, but there were no blisters. Today I went to the doctor and he diagnosed me with shingles. He put me on the antiviral medications for seven days and hydrocodone for pain. For most of the day I have been OK. However this evening I started getting sharp stabbing pains in the area. The DR warned me it would probably get worse before it gets better. Lord help me. I have a family to take care of! Momma doesn't have time for this!

Comment from: Dixie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I had a severe stiff neck and pains in back of my head from ear to ear. Then rash broke out on my lower back. The rash is under control and disappearing, and the stiff neck is gone, but I'm still having terrible pains in the back of my head. It's going on three weeks now.

Comment from: suzieQ, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I received the shingles vaccine at age 60. I am 66 now. 10 days ago I felt an itching/burning across the base of my belly and into my groin. I could see nothing when I examined the area. After a few days, I noticed a light rash staring a few inches from my left hip and traveling into my groin. The rash developed into blisters. I went to urgent care for an official diagnosis, even though I was 99% sure it was shingles. The pain was bearable and in truth did not exceed a 5 on a 1-10 scale. I use cortisone cream on area which helps somewhat.

Comment from: amendez, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I was recently diagnosed with shingles. My brother had shingles young as well. It started with burning pain on my back one morning when I woke and then I started getting a rash that spread all over. I am going into my fifth day of having shingles and I am having excruciating pain in my left ear.

Comment from: nance, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

I started out with itching on the left side of my neck along with a burning. I saw two brown dots that I thought they were bug bites. My chest stated itching like mad and I had red welts that were burning and itching. The worst was a dull ache. I waited more than a week to see my doctor. He told me that I had shingles and gave me prednisone. It's drying up, but it's still itching. I would not wish this on anyone. The itching drives me crazy.

Comment from: Cookie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I woke up late one night with a sharp pain on my left hamstring. I found an area of little bumps the size of my palm which i believed it was mosquito bites. The pain increased and continued the following day. It was painful to the touch. I thought of shingles. I went to our school nurse. She said that it couldn't be shingles because they usually form in a band. I needed a second opinion, so I went to the doctor that afternoon. My diagnosis was right. I had. He was surprised that shingles was in a cluster. He gave me meds right away. On the third day of taking meds, the blisters started to scab. A week later, all i see is a cluster of scars.

Comment from: peachy60, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 22

I have had shingles virus for three weeks now. It started in my left eye. I went to my eye doctor because I thought I had something in my eye. He diagnosed me with shingles and prescribed 1 gram of an antiviral medication. I took the medication for eight days. I called my primary doctor and she also prescribed 10 more days of 500 mg of the same antiviral.

Comment from: Listerine/Shingles, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

After a few weeks of feeling an unusually itchy scalp, and speaking to my hair stylist about product line being a possible cause, I began to experience sharp head pains affecting the top of my head, my left temple, left ear and left eye area. I spoke with my family doctor and nerve pain was lightly touched upon. Two days later, I spoke to my eye doctor regarding increasing pressure in my eye to rule out an impending eye disorder. 24 hours later, I was in the emergency room at the hospital with the first signs of scalp/facial rash and diagnosed with Shingles on the left side.

Comment from: Stanzi, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I was diagnosed with my second case of shingles today. It showed up about two months ago on my inner thigh. It's weird because so many sites say they are gone in a month. I didn't go to the doctor because it wasn't that bad. Mine is dried up now, but not fully healed. This one on my thigh didn't really hurt, but it did itch a lot. I'm 39 now, and had my first case at 32.

Comment from: tams252, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

I had a severe case of chicken pox when I was young. When I was about 18 years old I got my first outbreak of shingles at the base of my spine and have been on Zovirax since then. In recent years doctors have changed me to taking one tablet a day, which seems to keep the outbreaks at bay, unless I get really stressed out. There are times it just feels like my back is going to break because the pain is so severe. The daily dosage has really been a life saver for me. I am just hoping my son doesn't wind up with shingles since he has a worse chicken pox infection than I did.

Comment from: kdj5535, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I have Myasthenia Gravis and am currently immunosuppressed related to treatment with Cellcept and prednisone. I had various areas of pain followed by mild lesions on the left side of my body over a 6 week period. After these strange outbreaks subsided, I had 4 days of severe pain in my right breast and lungs, with the pain being visceral and involving right anterior lungs. On day 4, the pain was at its worst and two distinct patches of zoster lesions following the nerve root along the axillary line around toward the mid back. I was diagnosed by a primary care doctor and started on Valtrex that day. I took 1 gram tid for a week. The lesions continued to spread for 2 more days after treatment started. I had flu-like symptoms for a total of 2 weeks. Now, going into week 4, I can tolerate wearing a bra for part of the day, but have pain, itching and burning every day, although far less severe. What an unpleasant period. I'm sorry I did not take the vaccination!

Comment from: Dobbs, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I was in my 40s. I had no health insurance and it came on so fast, I was not sure what to do. I had a local doctor, an elderly gentleman, look at me. I had Shingles. He offered to prescribe for me to alleviate some of the awful pain. I ended up wearing very loose clothing. It took weeks. It was awful, but I got through it. I would say it is equivalent to having someone stick a hot iron on your skin. My whole left side was hit from above the breast area to my waist.

Comment from: chickadee, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I had severe pain on right side near breast area. I was treated as if it were muscle spasms. The pain became so bad that I asked to see doctor and he thought it was a pulled muscle. Two days later, I returned to doctor with pain so bad I could not lay on the exam table and was having difficulty walking. Finally, after two weeks and an MRI, mammogram, and x-rays, he decided I might have shingles on inside of my body. I'm on pain medications. I am 68. Is the worst pain I have ever had.

Comment from: Big Al, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 30

I had a very deep stabbing pain in the lower left side of my body, (backside) above the waist. I thought it was from playing too much golf. After a week of constant pain that lasted for about eight hours, I saw my doctor. She listened to my verbal descriptions of my symptoms then asked me to lift my shirt and she inspected my back. She immediately said I had shingles. I asked her how she could make that quick assumption. She said for me to look at the lower left side of my back (which is hard to do without a mirror). She then pointed out some red blisters which I had not seen before. She prescribed Acyclovir which I took for seven days. It had No effect on my pain. She had warned me that the virus may have been active for at least three days before I took the meds and that it may be too late to be effective. After about four weeks the pain subsided, the sores really never got out of hand and I am pain and spot free now.

Comment from: msaylor, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

I experienced pain around and in my left eye that I thought was inflamed tear glands. One week later, it didn't get any better, so went to the doctor and was diagnosed with shingles, not noticing that the red rash was beginning to erupt. The pain spread to my scalp and cheek.

Comment from: songbird, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

My symptoms started with unrelenting, excruciating pain in my back, which I thought was muscle spasms. I visited the doctor and he gave me muscle relaxers and a shot. One week later, I had to go to the emergency room with again with severe pain. There they found the rash, and diagnosed shingles.

Comment from: Aimee, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 25

I am 22 years old and about a month ago was diagnosed with shingles. That was the most unbearable pain ever. I had to take medicine for about three weeks. When I first noticed it, I thought it was just a normal back itch. As the days went by, the itching got worse and it started to really burn. Big blisters were only on the left side of my back. I waited until the fifth day of my symptoms to seek medical help. By that time, the whole left side of my body was in massive pain. The doctor looked at my back and asked if there was any itching, burning, or pain. The doctor told me that he was confused on I could have shingles because I'm so young. He also asked a series of questions, one being if I was under a lot of emotional stress. That day I learned that anyone who has ever had the chicken pox can get it also. I did not know at the time that stress could trigger the virus.

Comment from: TBear, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I was diagnosed with shingles almost 10 years ago. I kept getting weird blisters mainly on the sides of my toes and nowhere else. When they popped, they itched real bad and very painful. I ended up at the doctor's office and they told me there is nothing I can do for it. The doctor asked me when did I have chicken pox and told him it was in November of '93. The last couple years, I've noticed I would get one or two blisters on my fingers besides on my feet and now I have one on my lip. I do get cold sores, but this one is totally different. Hopefully when I see my new doctor, he can give me something for this.

Comment from: martino, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I had what I thought was osteoarthritis on my right index finger for about two weeks. It got so bad I went to my doctor. Two days later I noticed a sore between my index finger and my middle finger. I decided to go to the emergency room of our local hospital. The nurse immediately diagnosed it as shingles.

Comment from: natalie, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 21

My daughter is seven and has just been diagnosed with shingles. She has had a headache for two days now.

Comment from: sonjacoggins, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

It started in the top part of my back, my breast area, and under my arm became very sore then tingling and burning. I knew from having shingles about a year ago on my face. That hurt nowhere as bad as this. I'm depressed and in major pain. I sat in a clinic for six hours. All the nurse gave me was some cream made from peppers and Advil. I am in so much pain and this could last up to 30 days. I WILL GO CRAZY.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

I am a 39 year old female and have been living with outbreaks of shingles over the last 10 years as I have herpes zoster. I have always been told it is not contagious but I have at least two attacks every year, usually in the face with severe nerve pain and rash. This time it is on my back with rash over chest and arms and a lot of back pain. I keep medication on standby at home in case of an outbreak. I live in a small village and I believe I have found a connection that when chickenpox is going about I develop the shingles.

Comment from: ruth, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I noticed 5 red spots on my mid arm and 3 red spots on my upper arm. It was not itchy and not watery. After a week I went to a doctor and she pricked one spot to get a sample for lab test. The spots were almost dry. She confirmed after 2 weeks that it was indeed shingles but not contagious. She gave me Zovirax ointment on my first visit but nothing on my second. She told me I could take pain relievers if the pain persists.

Comment from: JVL, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

I had a spot to show up on my lower leg when I was 4 years old. The pediatrician told my mother it was shingles, which came from chickenpox. I have been having breakouts from 18 years old until present. Stress brings it on. If I get upset or worried about anything!

Comment from: JulieP, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

Has anyone tried ice packs? I had a terrible burning pain in my right low back that also ran down my leg. Thinking it was sciatica I started using ice packs on the spot that hurt. (I also had upset stomach and headache.) A few days later a painful rash of blisters appeared on my right foot between my toes. I didn't realize it was shingles until a similar but much smaller line of blisters appeared on the aching spot on my low back too. Ice seemed to help ease the pain of the blisters on my low back, so out of desperation I started ice on my toes as well (which were much worse) and it helped relieve the pain right away. I have been putting ice packs on both places twice a day for a week now and the rashes have stayed small and the pain is gone for hours, even lasting all night if I do the ice before bed.

Comment from: JC, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 13

I have been diagnosed with shingles on the trigemminal nerve near my ear. The pain is 12 on a 0-10 scale.

Comment from: CMS, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

For a week I suffered with stabbing pain in my right hip, thigh, down the leg and into the arch of my foot. I thought it was back pain and wore a kidney belt for three days. On the four day a spot appeared -- not itchy, just red. The next day it spread in several places on the shin. The next day, I was able to see my primary physician and he diagnosed shingles right away. I am only 4 hours into the antiviral medication plus Tylenol 3 and it is working for the pain. Hopefully the rest will dry up soon.

Comment from: Tom, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I am 60 years old and have shingles right now. This is the 5th time I have had them in less than one year. I get a huge painful rash on my buttocks and lower back. I also get what feels like flu symptoms. My doctor prescribes valacyclovir for me. He wants me shingle-free for at least 4-6 months before giving me the shingles vaccination. I feel sorry for anyone that gets shingles!

Comment from: riverlynn, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 12

Initially I concluded that I had shingles based on the location of the rash and the way it broke out. My first lesion was just above my left eyebrow. I thought the spot might have been a severe blemish but the next day I had another lesion near it. Sine pain and itching had started in that area also. Within 48 hours a doctor examined me and although the shingles diagnosis was not firm that day he put me on antivirals. Even with treatment the condition worsened and I sought care again two days later. At that time the rash, pain, and itching were confirmed by the doctor as shingles.

Comment from: Pat, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 20

I had a very sensitive sensation on my upper arm and back with stabbing pain but no rash or blisters. I went to my GP who suggested it may be from my neck. I asked if it could be shingles as I had witnessed my mother suffer terribly from this. He said unlikely but as I was travelling, gave me a prescription for if the rash broke out. It did but only a week later. The medication was not very effective and the pain terrible. It is three weeks later and I still have pain but the rash is gone. I am treating the area with tea tree and lavender and taking L-lysine twice a day.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 07

I was diagnosed with shingles almost 27 years ago after my oldest son was born. I have had it off and on since then and due to the almost monthly breakouts it was suggested that I go to see an acupuncturist. It was just in the last 2 years that I discovered that by taking calcium, and a high dose of folic acid B12 that I am almost completely shingle free. I suffered with intense pain in my lower back, hip and leg down to my foot until I could hardly stand to walk. Due to my very low levels of b12 I am convinced that this did the trick. It's been almost 7months now with a single symptom. Aspercream also works to help with pain.

Comment from: Choppy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 02

I went to the clinic I attend and could not see a doctor; the nurse on duty saw the rash, saw my swollen eye and was explained the extreme pain from my face, head and in my eye. She diagnosed me with a sinus infection. The pain and rash became so severe that I went to the emergency room. One look and the doctor told me I have shingles; I was two hours away from not being able to take the medicine to help. I have been on anti-viral meds for two days now and have not seen a marked improvement, only more rash. At this point I am really hoping the medicine helps me soon.

Comment from: tashilama, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I felt mild burning around chest/back area. Then the classic shingles symptoms (red rash, etc.) developed. I was given the anti-viral and pain medications which really did not help. I developed post-shingles stuff. The ONLY thing that helped was acupuncture and lidocaine patches. Ten months later, I still have itching and pain. I later got the vaccine. I recently developed very mild shingles on the other side. I have fever and fatigue, but mild (relatively) pain on new area. However, it retriggered the old side.

Comment from: Carole, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

The shingles were not diagnosed until I actually suggested to my GP after the rash became very uncomfortable. Until then I was tested for a kidney infection then kidney stone. As I also suffer from psoriasis I dismissed the initial rash as this not knowing the pain I was suffering was possible with shingles.

Comment from: DiAudGirl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

I had stabbing pain for 3 days under my right rib cage. On the 3rd night, I had flu-like symptoms, and when I woke up I develop a rash on my right back. Went to the doctor that day and they diagnosed it was shingles. I got prescription and took the tablets right away. I'm just on my first 8 hrs of treatment. The stabbing pain is still there.

Comment from: albuquerky, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

My case was diagnosed by my primary physician on the basis of symptoms and blisters. He thought the outbreak was severe and referred me to an anesthesiologist at the hospital. I went to the day surgery unit and had a nerve root injection with lidocaine at the base of the nerve they thought was affected. We could watch the blisters dry up almost immediately. The pain was also relieved. I had some discomfort around the area and granular drying for several days but it wasn't too bad.

Comment from: pld, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I saw my doctor when I had those lightning-like reactions after my breast cancer surgery -- mastectomy with reconstruction in 2000. I had similar pain after a colostomy that same year. My shingles definitely recurs. Valtrex helps with symptoms, and rarely now do I get the full-blown blisters. My grandmother told me she had it in her groin area during her 80s; my sister had a bad attack of it before age 60; I was 49 when I got mine.

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REFERENCES:

Janniger, C. "Herpes Zoster Treatment & Management." Medscape. May 4, 2017. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1132465-treatment>

Moon, James E. "Herpes Zoster." Medscape.com. May 11, 2011. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/218683-overview>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Shingles (Herpes Zoster)." May 1, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/>.

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