shingles?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, few days ago I developed sharp pain just above my left hip. Then pain moved bit so it seemed maybe more lower back pain, but oddly I was more comfortable if active. I've had bouts with lower back pain in past and believe me active is not the way to go. Some swelling but max dose of ibuprophan delt with both pain and swelling. Oddly I hadnt done anything that should cause muscle or back pain.

    This didnt go away and penpal suggested trying chiropractor first thinkin its back pain. I thought so too and thinking of calling one monday, but today I have a strip of rash on both side of my left leg below hip and some on lower left abdomen. Pain is stabbing kind and has now moved to where rash is on my abdomen. Took me a while, but I had the inspiration that its the shingles despite my being a might young for it. Since its not on my face (can cause blindness), think I'll just tough it out. Oh, skin is rather numb to hand touch in this area but at same time sensitive to clothing touching it. Nobody really mentions this on shingles sites but then swelling has simular effect when it happens for other reasons so assume its that.

    Anybody suggest alternate causes. Remember this is left side only and pain came first followed by strip of rash.
     
  2. chaplain robert

    chaplain robert Well-Known Member

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    If the rash does not cross the midline, I think you have a pretty strong case for shingles. It originates from a nerve root and will only affect that portion of the body which the particular nerve root supplies. If it is on you lower abdomen and leg, I doubt you have to worry about getting it any further north. I don't know your feelings on modern medicine (personally, I ain't that much of fan) but I if I were you, I check into getting some serious pain relievers from you doctor. Hope it clears up fast for you. Let us know how you are doing.
     

  3. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I've had shingles when I was 17, and it is exactly what you describe. If you beat feet to the doctor, there is a medication that can help, but you need to start it a couple of days after infection, so I don't know if it will work for you. The rash should stay on the 1/4 of your body it's on, although you can get a few stray bumps. When the bumps are weepy, a cool colloidal oatmeal bath like Aveeno helps. Calamine lotion helps the discomfort as well. It can be extremely painful and the pain where the rash is and the associated nerve pain can last long after the rash is gone. I don't envy you, but you should start to notice a big improvement on the rash in about 5 days. Take care...that's no fun at all.
     
  4. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    By the way, as the other poster mentioned, get some pain medication. You can survive shingles without it, but had I been older and wiser at the time I had it, I would have asked for them. You could try 4 Ibuprofen (800mg total) at a time if you don't want prescriptions. I think the anti-inflammatory would help the rash and the nerve swelling.
     
  5. JanetJ

    JanetJ Well-Known Member

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    If you want to do it without medicine, though, it IS possible. I had it on my leg, and it itched like crazy... itched and hurt at the same time. I managed to live through it without any pain medication.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    Shingles is caused by the shot that you got to prevent you from getting the Chicken Pox. It is a first cousin of the hearpes virus but is NOT contagious(sp) nor can it be transmitted like its cousin........fordy :)
     
  7. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for sharing your experiences. I have an elderly friend that went through this couple years ago. I know its not pleasant from his experiences if not my own so far. Yep sores are lower left quaudrant only, no crossover. I have fairly high tolerance for pain. With the ibuprophan think I will get through it. Just quite a surprise and had me really wondering what was going on. Lot of cancer in my family so my thoughts always turn to that. It just usually happens in our family members in their "golden years" although my dad died at age 54.
     
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Lysine capsules like you would use for a cold sore helps. Also any topical med for cold sores. Same virus family causes them.
     
  9. Soap

    Soap Well-Known Member

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    Actually you are incorrect on 2 important points:

    1) Shingles is not caused by the vaccine, it is caused by the individual previously being infected with the Chicken pox virus. Once infected with the chicken pox virus, the virus continues to live in your nerve endings after the "pox" are gone and shingles is a secondary outbreak of the virus.

    2) Individuals with an active outbreak of Shingles are contagious because they can infect others with the chicken pox virus.

    If you want to hear this from an authority then read this From the Mayo Clinic Web page (http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00098)

    "Shingles (herpes zoster) is a common condition in which the virus that causes chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus) reactivates after years of lying dormant in your body. As the virus reactivates, it causes pain and tingling and eventually a rash of short-lived blisters.

    Shingles normally isn't a serious condition, but in some people the rash can cause an eye infection. Shingles can also lead to a complication called postherpetic neuralgia, which can cause the skin to remain painful and sensitive to touch for months or years. When identified early, shingles can be treated with prescription medications that help shorten the infection and reduce the risk of complications."

    Risk factors
    "About 20 percent of people who have had chickenpox eventually develop shingles. The virus is more likely to reappear in adults age 50 or older or people with weakened immune systems. Most people develop shingles only once, but recurrences are possible.

    Shingles isn't contagious, but the virus can cause chickenpox in anyone who hasn't had chickenpox before, and the infection can be serious for certain groups of people. If you have blisters from shingles, avoid physical contact with:

    * Anyone who's never had chickenpox
    * Anyone with a weakened immune system
    * Newborns
    * Pregnant women, because the infection is dangerous to a growing fetus

    Once your blisters scab over, you're no longer contagious."

    The Mayo Clinic has a lot more information about shingles (treatment, self care, etc.). I heartily recommend that site as a great source of medical information.

    -soap
     
  10. As to shingles being caused by chicken pox vaccine - I suppose it can be, but it is usually caused by the actual chicken pox virus (shingles existed long before the vaccine) which we store in our bodies after having the virus. The virus acts like the similar herpes virus and can become active and "bloom" at the end of a nerve cluster with blisters that are in fact chicken pox sores. Although you can not give shingles to someone else, others who have not had the chicken pox can contract chicken pox from your shingles sores while they are open and active. This is my understanding anyhow - told to me by my doctor after one of my older children developed shingles and she indeed gave chicken pox to the younger kids.

    Sara
     
  11. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    I have heard that shingles is appearing in more and more younger adults--an age group not previously affected often by shingles--and even in children who have received the chickenpox vaccine. I had a mild case a couple of months ago and within two weeks all three of my children had chickenpox. Coincidence?
     
  12. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    My grandmother used to get shingles all of the time...She complained of the pain often. I suppose she got it about 10 times while I was growing up.
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    Well soap, I'm Glad I was wrong!! It motivated you to enlighten us all(including me) about the truth of the virus and its ability to infect others and the circumstances under which it will occur, thanks , I'm not quite as ignorant as I was previously , fordy :eek: :haha: :worship:
     
  14. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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    I am now in week five (age 45 yrs) of an outbreak and I know that every person is different, but it got much worse for me about mid-point of the five weeks. Fever, and I had rather bad abdominal pain, which happens rarely I guess. Anyway, Valtrex is the medicine they give you but their website states that it really only works if given within 48 hours of the rash appearing. I was almost a full two weeks into it. Took it anyway. Pain killers didn't really do much but Ibuprofen helped tremendously.

    I did a lot of reading on the net about it - I suggest you do the same. I stayed away from everyone so as not to give it to any folks who had not had the chickenpox yet.

    Good thing you got some correct info about it here - I feel for you. Hang in there.
     
  15. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I guess I am about week or little more into this. More painful and itchy, but I'm getting by. Sores are in full bloom. Most comfortable to sit today since clothing rubs against the rash area. Not much sleep the last couple nights. This is lot like poison ivy only with somebody beating on you and poking you with sharp stick. No noticable fever but then I've been taking bunch of ibuprophen. I too feel sympathy for anybody going through this. Short of some powerful narcotics that the government has doctors afraid to prescibe, not sure anything would really help the pain that much. Personally I prefer some pain to walking around in a stupor. Sure prefer it to writing checks to the doctor and pharmacy.
     
  16. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I do feel for you. My husband had it many years ago around his middle/one side. He seemed to think the calamine did help esp. with itching. I have since heard of people having them in much worse places...use your imagination!!!
     
  17. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Little update. The ibuprophan does help but only to limited extent. One nurse friend said once a day I could go as high as 1000mg. I tried it but didnt see any significant difference over 600mg dose. Last couple days pain got worse. Pretty sure its from inflamation. Looked on net for natural anti-inflamatory agents. One site suggested that black tea is effective both topically and orally. Ok, I have black tea bags I bought for ice tea during summer. Used my dripolator coffee pot and made strong batch adding some peppermint and alfalfa tea to try and cut the bitterness. Drank three cups. Ok, nothing noticable. Then took the tea grounds and made a poltice. Shortly thereafter noticed some relief. Messy though. So tried just a towel soaked in cold water. It seemed to work. I was up few times during the night to rewet the towel and to get rid of all that tea..... But for most part slept fairly comfortably. Not so comfortable by 6am when I stoked the fire in the stove. Wet cloth alone no longer really helping. Took 400mg IB and made some more tea. Took little bit but with wet towel, I was comfortable again. The tea must be helping some. By way I tried ice and that just made it hurt more. Seems skin area with the clusters of sores has to be kept moist. If I had bathtub, think I would be soaking in some epsom salts. As is theres no convenient method to do this considering where sores are.
     
  18. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    With my mom, she had a pretty bad out break. Interestingly, her sister also had a outbreak at the very same time. My aunt was on vacton and about 1000 miles from home when they both had their first outbreak. I suggested that my mother take about 1000mg of Vit. E to help with the healing along with lecithin which seems to sooth nerve endings. My mom was absolutely miserable but recovered pretty quickly. Her sister would not consider taking Vit E or lecithin because her daughter, a physician's assistant , said it was nonsense. My aunt's out break lasted much longer than my mother's and progressively got worse. My mother has not had another outbreak in 7 years.
    I had a friend at the time who worked in a hospital for an anesthesiologist (sp?). He said that for really bad out breaks, they could do a sort of nerve block on the particular group of inflamed nerves.
    Hope you get better soon....
    Tana Mc
     
  19. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Its bit of a hassle every few hours, but with black tea, ibuprophen, and wet towel, I can now get comfortable. I was even outside puttering around this morning. Will try the vitamin E. Thats got to be fairly cheap. As to lecithin are you referring to the liquid or the powder stuff. Used to use the liquid kind "watered down" with veg oil to coat pans making them nonstick when baking. Remember it had instructions/suggestion on bottle for dosage for those taking it for health benefit.
     
  20. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can buy the lecithin in capsules at Walmart.....I have bought it in liquid form for some other project but I just don't think that I would be able to take a swig of that stuff no matter how sick I might be!
    Our Dr. suggested the capsules as part of my hubby's regime for his blood vessles (recovering from a heart attack). Since he is several years down the road from the heart attack, he has gotten out of the habit of taking it regularly so I haven't bought any recently. I should probably urge him to get back in the habit....

    Tana Mc