shingles symptoms

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by trailblazer, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    I have been trying to find a remedy for a bug bite rash that popped up a week ago but have not been successful so far. I need to do research but need pointers on what direction to go.

    This is not a life threatening issue but it is driving me crazy.
    I was bushwacking a week ago and got dozens of mosquito bites. Because it was 105 degrees, I had on a tank top and got a bite on my breast bone.
    A few days later I was at a social gathering at a friends house and took a soak in their hot tub. (101 degrees.) The heat made this bug bite itch and I accidently scratched it open. I put tea tree oil on it as soon as I got home but it ended up turning into a rash that is now 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.
    After reading the thread on Shingles at http://homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=36596&highlight=rash
    I am wondering if I could have some how contracted something from the hot tub water. There seemed to be plenty of Cholramine in the water...
    Anyway, the only difference from shingles is that I have bumps, not blisters (similar to hives) and the patch of skin is solid red, not splotchy as I have seen by doing a google image search.
    I had a chicken pox vaccination as a child so I don't see how I could have contracted this.
    What made me take notice of the Shingles thread is because my skin is extremely sensitive, itchy and my nerves feel like they are on fire. The skin "pain" or sensitivity is now radiating all the way across my chest.
    I have tried tinctures of tea tree and anise plus Benedryl Cream and triple antibiotic cream. Nothing seems to offer relief except vit. e oil.
    My skin is not broken and does not appear to be infected.
    Does anyone have a clue what could be contracted from hot tub water so I can research those avenues? I will go to a doctor if I don't find relief in the next few days. Thanks!
     
  2. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    Go to a Dr. now. It could be any number of things, and some could be potentially life threatening.

    I share with a lot of people the reluctance to go to a Dr. The alternatives are great, especially for prevention, but when you have an infection that doesn't go away, go to a Dr. They are trained to fix what is already diseased.

    I am amazed at the number of requests for medical help that are on this board. If I had a broken motor or engine, I would not go to a ballet dancer to get them fixed!

    I sound harsh, but I am just really concerned about something that escalates so fast, and causes pain as you described.
     

  3. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    West Nile? It'll make you feel a little down and get some odd symptoms, but it usually is only serious in small children, older folks, and those with suppressed imune systems. Still, it's important to go to the doctor to figure out what's wrong.
     
  4. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I've had shingles, which started after a severe sunburn. If you have shingles, the hallmark is that the rash is on one quadrant of the body. Draw an imaginary line down your chest and across the middle of your body, right around the bottom of your ribcage. Now you have four sections of your body and the rash shouldn't extend past one section. The pain is a deep one and often shoots down the nerves of the extremity associated with the quadrant affected. So you should have localized pain where the rash is and the pain may shoot down the arm or leg closest to the rash. You're contagious while the rash is weeping. Calamine lotion helps to dry the rash, 4 ibuprofen every six hours and 2 Tylenol two hours into each ibuprofen dosage helps with pain. Don't be afraid to ask your physician for better meds as it can be debilitating. You should start to feel better after a full week, but the neuralgia (nerve pain) can last for weeks to years.
    Good luck. I feel for you.
     
  5. Momo

    Momo Well-Known Member

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    If it could be the shingles get to a Dr. ASAP. Some people get severe cases and never fully recover. DH got it and thank goodness we went to the Doc right away. It was still pretty bad even with medical help but it could have been worse. DH's started on his back..he said it felt like a knife stabbing him.
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Hey, my old post from last winter. Mine started as pain with no rash which I took for lower back pain and was putting icy hot on it. Thinking about finding a chiropracter. Then few days rash showed, but just on front lower left quadrant. If rash is spread more than one quadrant, I would suspect infection or something else. But one quadrant means shingles. It is weird how rash just stops cold at mid point. Absolutely nothing past that midpoint. I have elderly friend who went through shingles on upper right quadrant of chest. So when I saw rash I suspected. Just didnt think I was old enough. Had always heard it was an elderly persons ailmnet. But people here confirmed that it wasnt.

    You cant catch shingles. It is chicken pox virus from when you were a kid hiding all this time and showing up when your old body is under stress. Just because you had vacination doesnt mean you couldnt have had chicken pox even earlier. School vacination policies are burocratic doo-doo. Unless you can prove you either had shot or medical record that you had chicken pox then you had to have a shot. I got caught in some stupid state law when I was a senior in high school and only had semester to go. Had to prove I had shots for lot childhood crap I'd already had but didnt have "official" records for to prove it. Thing is back then people didnt go to emergency room or even doctor without absolutely good cause and chicken pox was widely known and not considered heck of a lot more serious than cold or flu. You just kept kid home until he got over it. Maybe even made sure other kids were exposed so you could get it all over at once.

    As in my old post. I found lots of very strong regular Lipton type black tea for inflamation and lots of ibuprophen got me through it. Wet cold washcloth over rash helped lot too. Never went to a doc, still have some scarring. Its a painful bugger of an ailment. If you have insurance or $$ or just really worried with any doubts of what it is, go to doc. He cant do lot, but can confirm what it is and offer something stronger for pain.
     
  7. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes shingles won't be very symptomatic. I was in a bad car accident, and that night I developed what looked like BAD stretch marks running horizontally on my back, with a line right between each vertebrae. I thought it was unusual, but didn't think much more about it. About a month later, I was in a CPR class and reinjured my back. I went to the ER, and the 'doctor' asked me if my fiance had slapped or scratched me. It didn't look anything LIKE a scratch or slap, and wasn't indented or raised.

    So....I saw the chiropractor a few days later. He said that the doctor was just a jackass and that it was just shingles popping up because my body was very stressed. He said his daughter gets the 'stripes' just before a big test in college.

    It may NOT be anything serious (chickenpox and shingles normally aren't), but it it's painful, and with rashes that don't clear in a week, you're supposed to at least get an exam by a doctor.
     
  8. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    Thank you 3girls for your concern. It is appreciated. You may note in my post that I said this is not a life-threatening issue. Since you brought it up, please tell me know what you are referring to that could be life threatening that I may have missed? I will certainly take that info into consideration. A suggestion to go to a doctor, over sixty miles away unfortunately is not helpful in itself.

    I don't know if you are familiar with eating organically but that is what I do. Because of it, I no longer have the six "incurable" diseases that "doctors" were treating me for. I am perfectly healthy and have easily survived venomous snake bites and brown recluse spider bites with no inconvenience whatsoever.
    Do please let me know what you think is life-threatening about a mosquito bite that is not infected in any way. That would be much appreciated since I don't want to dismiss anything! :)
     
  9. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    If it's shingles, you'll be fine self-treating. The only time a doctor can really be of help is if you catch it right when it starts, and they can prescribe an anti-herpetic drug that sometimes shortens the course. You are contagious when you have shingles, but the big risk is that you'll transmit chicken pox to someone who hasn't had it yet. Lots of hand washing, ibuprofen, and lots of water and rest to rebuild your immunity is your best bet. A nice cool oatmeal bath (cereal oatmeal works great) is a nice messy treat.

    Take care, and as I'm sure you know, you'll know when it's time to see a doctor.
     
  10. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    Doctors are not an option since I am sixty miles from one.
    I did consider West Nile - thanks for pointing that out! If anyone knows of a photo of a rash as seen in a West Nile patient, I would love to view that. I was unsuccessful in finding one.
    It is described at this web site as being a "scarlet fever-type rash." http://www.emmitsburgdispatch.com/2002/November/doctorword.shtml
    The rash for West Nile looks like a peeling sunburn apparently and also can have blisters. This website has a photo of a scarlet fever rash if you scroll to the bottom: http://www.med.cmu.ac.th/dept/pediatrics/06-interest-cases/ic-14-fever-rash/case8-p1.htm
    I am pretty sure I don't have West Nile. My rash looks like a burn from hot butter or the stove - simply solid red with no blisters. This is more like an allergy rash. I also am not feeling down and have no other symptoms other than the rash. Only 20% of all people who are bitten contract it and then only 1% of those even get sick.

    Just for the record, I eat organically and am extremely athletic. I am the healthiest person in this region at age 45 and have no diseases or illnesses, take no prescriptions and am slender and muscular. I looked up West Nile on the Yahoo West Nile Virus Center and I don't have any of these symptoms other than the rash: high fever, body aches, confusion, severe headache, mucscle weakness and sometimes swollen lymph glands and rash.
    As long as I don't have symptoms, apparently my immune system has successfully fought off the virus. The duration of the virus in those who are HEALTHY is 3 days or so. The West Nile rash would be accompanied by other symptoms.
    According to the wealth of information on the Yahoo site, at http://health.yahoo.com/health/centers/west_nile_virus/13.html
    I am not a candidate to go to a doctor. Additionally, there is no treatment except for support ("take an aspirin and call me in the morning") or for more severe neurological symptoms or pneumonia hospitilization would obviously be required.
    The only reason for a healthy person to go to a doctor is for statistics to be reported to the state...
    I live sixty miles from a doctor so I won't be going in for a rash with no other symptoms. West Nile is treated just like the Flu.

    Thank you for pointing out the West Nile complication. That is certainly an important thing for someone to consider if they are a child, elderly or diseased.
    I did call my alt med doctor by the way and he confirmed all this.
    As long as the rash does not get worse then I will have to sit it out. Topical Vitamin E oil is the only thing that has helped with relief from itching so far.
    Just a note, this is not poison ivy or poison oak although I was in contact with a lot of it, including cutting it down. I have never had sensitivity to these plants.
    Thanks for your input! It is appreciated!
     
  11. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    Thanks HermitJohn! Your original thread was what got me started with this research. Thank you so much for that.
    I have determined that this is not shingles. ;) Thank heavens.
    What is the over the counter medication for shingles? It is the only thing I haven't tried so it certainly couldn't hurt.
    As you will see in one of my previous responses, this is not weeping and is very small and on my breastbone. It encircles the original mosquito bite. The only unusual thing is that the surface of the rash has welt-like ridges.
    I am beginning to feel that this is simply a severe allergic reaction. Since the rash is not spreading, I do not think it is a mite. I can't imagine getting a mite from a hot tub anyway.
    If it is not better in a week, I will go to an emergency room for a skin test.
    Just an f.y.i. for you that I have learned along the way, one can make the Shingles rash less severe by taking elevated amounts of vitamin C during an outbreak. For a healthy man that would be in the range of:
    Outbreak period - 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily
    Non-Outbreak period - about 2,000 mg daily
    You determine the amount by the stool test. You increase by 1,000 mg daily until you have a loose bowel movement then you decrease by 500 mg to stabilize. How much Vit C one needs changes from day to day depending on many factors. That business about the urine turning yellow is worthless. That is a very poor indicator of excess Vitamin C since that occurs in people who are vit. c deficient. Every person is different and smokers must take vit. c in the 3,000 to 6,000 range.
    I can personally attest as a non-smoker that even a healthy person can need vit. c supplements.
    Thanks so much for your advice on Shingles! Can you tell me the name of the over-the-counter Shingles medicine?
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Skinny people ...die , just like Fat ones Do . Shingles will reveal itself due to a depressed immune system most often from extreme stress or some other health problem . It, is NOT contagious, but can become VERY painful if not treated by a Doc . .....fordy..... :eek: :)
     
  13. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    I had some sores on my posterior, went to a DR. and she said shingles? like she really didn't know. Prescribed some expensive stuff that didn't work. I started taking Lysine which is an amino acid food supplement as recommended by someone. Stopped those sores in their tracks. I stopped when they were gone and another started up. So I have been taking a daily dose of 4-500 mg tablets daily with no new outbreaks. They are an over the counter thing with no script required. I don't usually do doctors or pills of any sort other than asprin. I am pretty skeptical of all things medical. But I will be darned if this didn't work for me.
     
  14. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    I don't think I will die from this rash. But thanks for your concern. I mentioned weight so that you know I do not have any diseases related to obesity. Also, I am not skinny. I am athlectic. Meaning I work out three times a week with weights and am of a normal weight. Obesity can also indicate a weakened immune system in many cases.
    I have very low cholesterol, perfect veins and arteries according to medical tests, no allergies (I cured those through diet and organics) and no other diseases. I do not have a depressed immune system. I am not stressed and have no other health problems. I am extremely healthy.
    According to the U.S. Govt. Center for Disease Control
    Shingles is contagious. Shingles is the herpes virus. While it is not extremely contagious as Chicken Pox, from whence it comes, it is none the less contagious. Please see this link http://www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/varicella/faqs-gen-shingles.htm
    After seeing a photograph, I know now that I do not have shingles. This is most likely an allergic reaction to the mosquito or a staph infection from scratching it.
     
  15. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    Thanks for the oatmeal bath advice. That is a great idea. I have an oatmeal concoction specifically for baths and I think I am going to also make a poultice out of it since this is a small spot not much bigger than the palm of one's hand.
    So far the vitamin e oil is working well, and I am going to step my Vitamin C up to 3,000 mg for a few days.
    I will let you know how things turn out!
    From now on, I am going to use the 100% deet if I can find it in a waterproof formula.
    So far 30% has been the strongest. I live in Texas where mosquitos have open season on people.
    Oddly enough, usually only my legs get mosquito bitten and GOOD! - My legs get bitten because they are not very tanned due to wearing pants to protect me from the brambles and burrs on the trail!!! I have 30 bites on my legs right now but no reactions to them. Maybe my prevention is the cause! It would also help if I didn't bushwack around sunset. I do that since it is 100+ degrees right now. I guess I will start having to tolerate the heat better and get out when the mosquitos are sleeping!
     
  16. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Only over counter medication I took was ibuprophen (went through three quarters of a big economy size bottle). Just the generic stuff although think name brand its sold under is Motrin? Its just general pain reliever. I have a nurse penpal and she said that was way to go rather than asprin or acetemniphan. Like I said, I found strong black tea to help lot also. Plain ole tea is about as cheap as it gets but an effective anti-inflammatory. Shingles was pretty much finished in my case between three and four weeks total. Felt lucky as I'd read that generally it lasted around 5 weeks.

    Gosh I hope I dont have another bout of shingles. Some people do, some dont. But will remember your advice on the vitamin C. I still am wondering about my immune system as I wasnt feeling under any particular stress at the time. Doesnt mean my body wasnt undergoing some stress though. I dont have insurance so anytime I can get out of dealing with an expensive "professional" I will.
     
  17. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    Lysine is an excellent idea! I had forgotten about it!
    I did read that Lysine is great for shingles and herpes by the way! Here's the link http://www.smartbodyz.com/cold-sores-lysine-1.htm) Because of the recent discoveries in herpes treatments with Lysine, I have heard that Doctors are finally admitting defeat and recommending it.
    How quickly doctors forget their herbal roots in the face of high commissions!
    I am getting ready to order Lysine right now! I do wonder if it could also be used topically like in a salve?...
    Thanks soooo much for the idea!
     
  18. Laura626

    Laura626 Well-Known Member

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    Trailblazer
    Is the area red, hot to touch, and is the rash spreading? To check, lightly trace around the area with a pen and look every so often to see if the red areas are migrating past the line. Also look for red streaking marks traveling away from the area. If the area is getting increasingly hot, the skin is very firm, and has the texture of an orange peel and/or the other symptoms mentioned it could be cellulitis. This is an infection that you could catch from a hot tub. Treatment will involve steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammaroty medicine(motrin) and antibiotics. I would not wait much longer even though the drive may be long. If it is cellulitis, it can progress to a septicemia that you will need to spend time in the hospital with an IV to treat. Good luck!!!
     
  19. trailblazer

    trailblazer Member

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    I have read frequently that stress is the primary cause of all illness, particularly viral. The greatest stresses are [in this order] food preservatives & chemicals; environmental toxins; lack of good fats in the diet (olive oil, flax, etc.); long hours/stressful, sendentary employment; and stressful home life.

    Maybe the problem is that you perceive stress to be only emotional versus of dietary or environmental...? Environmental stress is the cummulative effect of all toxins in your environment from yard chemicals to air pollution. A non-organic diet is the number one cause of stress on the immune system. How one feels is only one of the barometers for stress. A much better measurement is whether you are susceptible to viruses. Shingles is an excellent sign that you have stress in your life or at least you did at the time you experienced the symptoms. That is probably why Shingles outbreaks are so fleeting and far between. Read this medical article that says that something as simple as taking steroids or having radiation treatment (or x-rays?) can weaken the immune system enough to allow Shingles to break out. http://64.41.99.118/vran/vaccines/cpox/cpox_info.htm

    I have one question for you... even though my rash is very small, it is very painful to the touch - like a burn. I want to try the tea remedy. How long do you leave the compress on? Also, warm or hot water makes this rash burn like hell! So, would a cold tea compress work or is this temperature problem an indication that this rash may not be shingles?
     
  20. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I dont know about your problem, but yes you want any compress to be cold. Leave it until it gets body temp or dries out. Its messy. I went to taking strong tea internally and just using a washcloth dipped into cold water anytime it warmed up. Hmm, guess I could have just made the stong tea and dipped cloth into that. By way the evaporating moisture also has cooling effect. I did get my treatment down to where I had some nice periods of relief.