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Anyone ever have shingles?

A friend of mine was diagnosed with shingles this morning. The thing is, from what I've read, shingles is usually only something older people get (over 60) or those with HIV - of which she is neither. So it seems odd that she would get this being that she is younger. The doctor told her it's very contagious and she pretty much has to stay indoors.

Has anyone ever gotten this being younger (under 40)?

How did it go? Were you in prolonged pain? She is in quite a bit of pain now, but I heard the pain can get worse as the rash heals. She was also given some really weird drugs that can have bad side effects - extreme drugs for depression that I've never even heard of until google, which is suppose to help the virus in her nerves (she isn't depressed)

Anyway, anyone have experience with this kind of thing?

by Anonymousreply 6612/30/2012

Yep, had it on the left side of my head and face. Started out with itching on my scalp that I initially took to be some kind of reaction to shampoo or something. Just before that I had been feeling run down, but figured maybe I was exposed to some cold or flu bug. I knew something was really wrong when it felt like a knife had been plunged into my head and that kept repeating, to the point of keeping me up at night. I looked up my symptoms and knew it was shingles right away so I got in to see the doc immediately and they put me on a strong dose of Valtrex and prednisone. The drugs did tame things down quite quickly, but I also was not crazy about the way they made me feel and I was happy when the full course was completed. After it was over, I still had a lot of residual bumps on my face that I was able to clear up with the help of -wait for it- DL fave Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask!

Yes, you can definitely get it at any age, the only prerequisite is that you have had chicken pox as a child. It's speculated that some kind of stress brings out the virus which is laying dormant in your nerves. Actually it's only contagious to someone who hasn't ever had chicken pox or the vaccine.

by Anonymousreply 108/23/2011

How can you talk about shingles at a time like this?

by Anonymousreply 208/23/2011

I was close to 60. Mine wasn't bad. Didn't go to the doctor.%0D %0D According to the CDC, "Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, a person with shingles can transmit the virus that causes shingles to others. If a person who has never had chickenpox is infected with VZV, he or she will develop chickenpox, not shingles."

by Anonymousreply 308/23/2011

People sometimes develop shingles as adults if they've never had chicken pox. A cousin of mine had it when she was 17-ish. It passed.

by Anonymousreply 408/23/2011

I had it on my face too, age 50. It started in my mouth and spread to my lip, then face. Very painful. The worst was the fever and feeling sick. It is NOT contagious unless you ooze all over someone's open wound. You stay home from work because you feel like shit.%0D %0D Drugs didn't help, just waited it out. it's completely over in a couple a weeks.

by Anonymousreply 508/23/2011

That should be "if they've had chicken pox".

by Anonymousreply 608/23/2011

lol R2, I was actually in the middle of typing up this thread when the earthquake hit! So once I calmed down, I erased what little I had written in it and posted to the earthquake threads!

R4, That's the strange thing, she's never had chickenpox. Only had measels as a kid. But her doc said that 99.9% of the cases where people didn't have chickenpox actually had chicken pox as a kid but it is so mild of an outbreak it basically must of went undetected.

Thanks R5, yeah he told her it was contagious - especially if she is around anyone who is pregnant or who has cancer, they can then get it and it can be more dangerous for them. Problem is, she had a 3 week vacation planned out of the country and is suppossed to leave this Thursday. So for now, it looks like the trip is going to be postponed or cancelled.

Thanks for the responses - I just have never heard of someone this young getting it. A friend on mine also had this years ago, but he was in his mid 40's with HIV so his immune system was already weak to begin with.

by Anonymousreply 708/23/2011

I got them in college, when I was 21. At the time, I was completely run down from six months of non-stop work, and then I got a bad sunburn. My immune system freaked out and I broke out in shingles. And, no, I don't have HIV.

by Anonymousreply 808/23/2011

I had it, and it hurt like a motherfucker. I had stabbing pains in my chest, and I was sure it wasn't a heart attack, because it was on the far right side of my chest. Finally went to the ER anyway because I couldn't take the pain anymore and I knew something was wrong.

They diagnosed me immediately and gave me Valtrex and some pain medication that didn't even touch the sides.

Sleepless nights, bad pain for two weeks, and residual pain every now and then for months afterward -- almost to the point where I started to feel bad for all the smack I'd talked about the fibromyalgics!

by Anonymousreply 908/23/2011

Had it a year or two ago, around the midriff, age 50. It was triggered by extreme stress. But the drugs took care of it pretty well and I didn't suffer any pain or anything. It's extremely common when you start getting up there but the vast majority only get it once.

by Anonymousreply 1008/23/2011

Take good care of your friend. %0D %0D I hear it is very painful.%0D %0D I don't know any more than that...

by Anonymousreply 1108/23/2011

My ex had it -- she was in her early 20's. It was around her midriff, and lasted about a month. I did NOT get it, even though I had had chicken pox as a child. This was in the early 80's, before they had drugs like Valtrex or even SSRIs, and she just toughed out the pain and waited for it to pass.

by Anonymousreply 1208/23/2011

I had a mild case in college. I was 20 and not eating right and under a lot of stress. I had chicken pox when I was young.%0D %0D For me it showed up as a narrow strip on my back about 1 inch long. I thought it was bug bites at first, but it was painful and itched at the same time. It was agony.%0D %0D My mother got a bad case a few years ago in her late 60s, so I believe there is a genetic link.

by Anonymousreply 1308/23/2011

They have a vaccine for shingles now.

My college friends and I plan to have the shot in a future reunion gathering.

We're 58 now, so it will be soon. 60 and up is when you can have the vaccine in he US.

One of our number an MD and she can dose us.

The shots are expensive BTW.

by Anonymousreply 1408/23/2011

My mum got it when she was younger. They didn't have the vaccine or valtrex, so she has chronic, mild outbreaks now (she's in her early seventies).

It is exacerbated by stress if it becomes chronic.

by Anonymousreply 1508/23/2011

I had a relatively mild case when I was in my twenties and in college. I felt a pain like needles sticking in me in my armpit. I had a slight rash there and another patch on my shoulder. The doctor said it was shingles. It didn't last long, but that underarm pain did hurt. Supposedly people under stress with compromised immune systems are prone to it.

by Anonymousreply 1608/23/2011

had it in my early 20's on my back. painful as all get out. my homophobic doctor insisted that it was probably a side effect of an HIV infection, and made me get tested, even though i was a man sex virgin at the time.

fun stuff.

by Anonymousreply 1708/23/2011

Your friend should get a thorough physical. Young healthy people usually don't get it.

by Anonymousreply 1808/23/2011

I was 26.%0D %0D Stress caused it.%0D %0D Appeared on my back and was very painful. I had to work and go to school all day everyday during it so it took forever to go away. If you can, stay home, sleep, medicate. The pain and fever were inescapable. Take an anti-viral asap. The after-pain was intense for 10 years when I was stressed and/or tired. Shingles really teaches you to take care of yourself. If I feel the 'twinge' now (I'm 41) I know I need to de-stress and catch up on my sleep. While I still feel the pain at times when I am run down, I am relieved the intensity lessens as the years go by. %0D %0D My niece had it at 15.%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 1908/23/2011

If you've never had chicken pox, you cannot get it.%0D %0D During an outbreak you are contagious only to people who have never had the chicken pox vaccine or have never had chicken pox. You can pass on the chicken pox virus, not the shingles (though they may eventually get it years later).%0D %0D I got a mild case when I was 45. I'm HIV negative and can't remember the last time I had any sort of infection, including colds or the flu. My brother and father both got nasty cases and they are both healthy men.%0D %0D So, yeah, even healthy people can have an outbreak. It's just not common.

by Anonymousreply 2008/23/2011

Thanks for all your responses. It's almost comforting to know that some of you got through it without going to the doctor, because my impression is that the doctor made it sound like it was super serious. Which I guess it is especially if there are complications and if it goes near your eye and it's very painful.

Thanks R18, she's really diligent with going to the doctor to get check ups, and eats right and takes vitamins etc. It must be from family stress or something.

Thanks R19 She's on Valtrex, Amitriptyline and Gabapentin, so I think those are probably anti virals (it's what the doc prescribed).

Good to know it's not unheard of for someone to get it who is younger. When I first heard it was shingles I was like WTF how can this be?

by Anonymousreply 2108/23/2011

A friend's husband got it when he was around 30 (he'd had chicken pox as a child). Doc said it was probably caused by the stress of his wife's pregnancy. The wife didn't catch it from him (she'd never had chicken pox, so maybe was "immune").

by Anonymousreply 2208/23/2011

R22, she would have to touch the rash or blisters and ingest the pus somehow. Something tells me she didn't do this.%0D %0D Shingles is indicative of possible HIV infection only when there are repeated outbreaks. People who are not HIV positive generally have an outbreak only once.

by Anonymousreply 2308/23/2011

I just had my yearly physical and my doc asked if I had ever had chicken pox. My answer was "no". He was asking because he wanted to give me the shingles vaccine. Took a blood test and found out that indeed I had had chicken pox at some point--I never knew it--and had the anti-bodies to prove it. Said it must have been sub-clinical. So now I have to get the vaccine.

Boy that's a boring post.

by Anonymousreply 2408/23/2011

How old are ya, R24?

by Anonymousreply 2508/23/2011

I had an outbreak when I was 31. That was the most stressful period of my life and I believe that's what triggered it. It was mostly around my waist and on the butt cheeks.

by Anonymousreply 2608/23/2011

Had it at 19. Very painful. Had Belles Palsy about 3 years ago and that is supposedly part of the same virus. Maybe acupuncture will help. Hope she feels better soon.

by Anonymousreply 2708/23/2011

I had shingles just earlier this year. Appeared as a rash on my back. The interesting thing was that in the 8 months or so before the rash, I had intense itching in that area. I would just scratch and scratch, but nothing made me think anything was wrong.

Then one day in February I was coming out of the shower and shocked at the rash on my back. No pain, just the rash. Went to the doctor and he diagnosed shingles immediately and told me it was no big deal. He prescribed whatever the standard medication is, which involved one pill a day for a week (I think that's what it was).

During the shingles outbreak, though, I had no pain and I had no itching, just the ugly rash. I was able to work and play and do normal activities. It took about three weeks to fade.

by Anonymousreply 2808/23/2011

I had it as a 12 year old. Started as an itchy scab the size of a nickel and it spread all over 1/2 of my back within couple of days. Doctor said it was unusual for a kid but life was very stressful for me at that time which explains a lot. I don't remember much pain, although I may have had it but was afraid to tell my parents.

Both of my parents developed shingles late in life. Both occurring after extremely stressful accident and a law suit. They both had terrible pain which could not be controlled. I'm hoping I won't get it as a senior citizen since I've already had it. Can you get it twice??

by Anonymousreply 2908/23/2011

Of coursh. I need them to tip the shtrippers.

by Anonymousreply 3008/23/2011

[quote]The shots are expensive BTW.

My health insurer told me that they now cover the complete cost of the vaccine, Zostavax, to be in compliance with Health Care Reform Act of 2010.

My doctor suggested the vaccine. I took it.

by Anonymousreply 3108/23/2011

Wow, crazy timing. My partner was just diagnosed today; 42 year old female, HIV negative. On Sunday night the bottom lid of her right eye started to swell. It got progressively worse, with a few red bumps along the inside bridge of her nose and between her fingers. We ended up going to an urgent care center today, and they diagnosed it as shingles--VERY VERY dangerous shingle, as when they are around your eye, they can cause blindness if not treated properly. The doctor said we came just at the right time. They gave her these drops--two drops in her eye EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES for six hours (we started at 9:30pm so this will continue till 3:30am), and after that, two drops in her eye every half hour for another 18 hours. WOW. Also some pills, too, to help the infection go away. She has to take one every six hours for a week I think. The doctor also says she has to see an opthamologist (SP?) TOMORROW, because she has some scratches on her eye from the shingles. Scary shit!!

As I type this, I am struggling to stay awake while she sleeps next to me. Every fifteen minutes I wake her up, put the drops in, and she goes right back to sleep. I am ridiculously tired, but I'd rather just stay up than have to wake up every 15 minutes, and God knows if I didn't do it she'd just stay asleep and end up blind.

by Anonymousreply 3208/23/2011

I had chicken pox as a kid and got a mild case of shingles last year at age 40. I even started a thread about it because I was a bit freaked out.

I feel bad reading these other horror stories because mine was nothing compared to some of you. A big patch on my shoulder with some smaller blisters on my chest and arm. Some itching and achiness but no major pain. I took the medication the doctor prescribed and it went away after a week or so.

by Anonymousreply 3308/23/2011

My husband had been suffering from depression and developed a rash. He went to the doc and before he even lifted his shirt up for the doctor to look the doc told him he had shingles. Obviously he then checked out the rash etc but that's what it was. Not pleasant so thoughts with all of you that have it.

by Anonymousreply 3408/24/2011

Had it last year, when I was 30. Actually, less than a year ago. I took Valtrex for a week and a couple pills of some major serious painkiller from the doctor. I'd been very tired, not eating right, working too much, and very stressed. I got the shingles vaccine afterwards. The rash was on my left perineum, the left side of my scrotum, and lower back. I thought it was herpes (the kind from sex) at first, but my brother is an MD and said if it's all on one side it's shingles, etc. I started a DL post on herpes at the time. It's accompanied by a fever at first, then just massive pain - like you're being torn in two.

by Anonymousreply 3508/24/2011

And it came w/ neuralgia - shocks on one side of my body. - R35.

by Anonymousreply 3608/24/2011

Thanks for all the stories. A dear friend was recently diagnosed; had to go to ER. In terrible pain, lost feeling on the left side of his body.

He has been majorly stressed over the past few months, and has been suffering from sciatica over the past week or so.

Wish I could do something for him. I think even a hug would be to painful.

by Anonymousreply 3712/01/2012

I had chicken pox 3 times as a kid and seem to be immune to oral and genital herpes (and poison ivy); what are my odds of getting shingles?

by Anonymousreply 3812/01/2012

Thanks for bumping this thread. Like R37, I have a friend now with what I thought is shingles but now I'm not so sure. He has an extremely painful rash on the lower part of his body but it's not limited to one side; it's on his buttocks in the back and around his crotch in the front, so maybe it's herpes? (He got oral when he was a kid but up to now no genital.) He's under an enormous amount of stress these days because of his job/financial situation, so I'm pretty sure that's what caused this outbreak, but again I'm not sure. (He also just had a severe case of strep throat that sent him to the ER, so needless to say it's not been a good week for him at all.)

by Anonymousreply 3912/01/2012

Got it when I was 17 on my back. Very painful and left faint white scars which gradually over the years have faded. Thirty years later and haven't had them again.

by Anonymousreply 4012/01/2012

The New York Times ran a piece on diagnosing shingles this week. Here is the link. Hope it helps.

by Anonymousreply 4112/01/2012

I had a mild case when I was about 18-20 (can't remember exactly). I don't have HIV or any The pain was very manageable and was more of an annoyance than anything. I don't have any residual scarring but I do have reduced sensation over the area. I haven't had it again (I'm 26 now), but from what I understand the younger you have it the more frequently it comes back and the worse it gets as you age.

by Anonymousreply 4212/01/2012

I had it on my scalp in my early 50s. It was painful, but only if I touched it. When I turned 60 this year, my doctor sent me an e-mail asking me to come in to get the vaccination. It was fully covered by my HMO (no copay.) It's different from a flu shot-- they give it under the skin as opposed to in your arm muscle. I guess it's kind of like an insulin injection.

I guess not too many kids get chicken pox these days with all of the vaccines available, so maybe this will eventually become a non-issue, unless those idiots who refuse to vaccinate their kids become more prevalent.

by Anonymousreply 4312/01/2012

My experience was like, r10. Brought on by stress. Started on a weekend and was unbearable on Monday. Sharp pains mainly on my back and lower neck. I thought I'd been bitten by an insect. Went to the ER. The doctor diagnosed shingles, and prescribed a pain med, a steroid, and something else. Within 2 days, I was fine. Itchy little patches on my back. Scabs. But no pain. Didn't miss a day of work, only the time to go to the ER.

by Anonymousreply 4412/01/2012

[quote] A friend of mine was diagnosed with shingles this morning. The thing is, from what I've read, shingles is usually only something older people get (over 60) or those with HIV - of which she is neither. So it seems odd that she would get this being that she is younger. The doctor told her it's very contagious and she pretty much has to stay indoors

What have you been reading? The internet? That's hilarious. Then must know it all then. I hope you don't drive any Dr's out of business.

Anyone who has had chicken pox and has a low immune system can become susceptible to shingles. It usually happens in older people, but it can happen in younger people. A person can get shingles almost anyplace. It can affect a person eyes. It looked like they just got in a car accident or was punched in the eye a couple times. It gets black and blue and is very crusty. You can get it in your mouth or your sides, or your arms. Anyplace you have nerve endings you can get shingles. It's a super, super inflamation of the nerve endings

[quote] Has anyone ever gotten this being younger (under 40)?

Now what do you think? Do you think your friend is the very first person in the entire world?

[quote] She was also given some really weird drugs that can have bad side effects - extreme drugs for depression that I've never even heard of until google, which is suppose to help the virus in her nerves (she isn't depressed)

You've never heard of these drugs? So? What does that have to do with anything. In two minutes I can name 100 other drugs you've never, ever heard of. It doesn't mean they don't work. You don't even know who can get shingles and you're worried because you haven't heard of a drug your friend's Dr gave her. The drug she is on is probably one used for facial nerve pain (sometimes called trigeminal neuralgia). Drugs don't just have one use. Many seizure and depression drugs are used for pain, headaches, TMJ, TGN, stomach problems and various other things. Her Doctor is treating her correctly.

by Anonymousreply 4512/01/2012

A friend of mine had it recently. He's at the clubs every weekend and isn't very choosy about who he sleeps with, so it was probably inevitable that he'd catch it sooner rather than later. Amazingly, he's still HIV- and says this is the only STD he's ever picked up.

by Anonymousreply 4612/01/2012

I've never heard of anyone refer to shingles as an STD.

by Anonymousreply 4712/01/2012

[quote] Amazingly, he's still HIV- and says this is the only STD he's ever picked up.

R46 - Shingles isn't a STD!

by Anonymousreply 4812/01/2012

Wow, what an old thread. I am the OP. However I was being quite vague in my post at the time - the "friend" was me that got shingles.

R45 - At the time I was diagnosed I didn't know of anyone my age who had gotten shingles.

Regardless - it was treated successfully. There was a reason for my getting shingles R45. For me, shingles WAS a sign of a more serious illness, that lowered my immunity. Which was diagnosed many months after getting shingles, this past spring, and has been treated.

Also, 45 - I never recall having the chicken pox! My doctor obviously says I must have, but my case must have been so slight as a kid it went unnoticed. I use to want to get them as a kid, because that meant a couple weeks off of school - I waited and waited, but never "got" them (or so I thought at the time).

by Anonymousreply 4912/01/2012

With shingles, the best way to minimise its impact is to get treatment IMMEDIATELY.

by Anonymousreply 5012/01/2012

R49 / OP

Just curious how long the pain lasted.

Glad you are feeling better.

by Anonymousreply 5112/01/2012

Hot, hot showers will prevent shingles.

by Anonymousreply 5212/01/2012

It lasted about 2 months. It was the worst the first couple weeks- I had neuropathy. It kind of felt like I was being stabbed in the back while having a heart attack (those sharp shooting pains that come on with out warning). Also it made my side (the side with the shingles) very weak. I couldn't sleep on that side etc, or else it would be very painful. That was actually the first symptom for me. A couple days before getting the rash my side had this dull pain. I alway slept on that side, but couldn't for some reason - then the rash appeared on that side.

by Anonymousreply 5312/01/2012


R53 is me, OP/R49

by Anonymousreply 5412/01/2012


I'm glad that you are better. I feel so bad for my friend (actually a friend and not me). He is 750 miles away and he lives alone; a friend of his living in the next town will be helping him.

He is starting school in January, so hopefully he can rest up over the next month. The person that is helping him through this is partially the cause of the stress.

He has had such a crap year; this seems to be the cherry on top of a shit sundae.

by Anonymousreply 5512/01/2012

Yes, I had those sharp pains, too, r53. I think getting treatment early on (within 3 days of the symptoms) helped me get through things without the worst effects. I felt better almost immediately after taking the meds.

by Anonymousreply 5612/01/2012

had them as an otherwise perfectly healthy 21 year old. horrible.

by Anonymousreply 5712/01/2012

Yep, had them at 14. I remember that something quite stressful was going on at the time at school but can't remember what it was now. I don't remember it being especially painful. I remember being unwell at the same time my sister had chicken pox when we were kids, but I never got the actual pox. When I got shingles my mother said that it resolved the mystery of whether or not I had had the chicken pox virus too.

by Anonymousreply 5812/01/2012

A friend of mine suddenly came down with Bell's Palsy while on a 2-week business trip. He had been (so he thought) in a 10+ year monogamous relationship.

He happens to have herpes and the meds he takes for it (valacyclovir) did not help (even though they are somehow weirdly related diseases) and it has taken him about two years of therapy to recover from the Bell's Palsy paralysis.

Who knows how/why/where he got it.

The herpes he will have to live with forever.

by Anonymousreply 5912/01/2012

It's Chicken Pox part 2! Apparently being in the sun too long can awaken the virus as well. My doc told me only about 25 percent of healthy people get it again later in life. I had a small outbreak under my arm after 3 weeks in Spain, it started with tingling for a few days then some ugly blisters. I still have a couple red marks 6 months later.

by Anonymousreply 6012/01/2012

No, I have tasteful Spanish terra cotta tiles.

by Anonymousreply 6112/02/2012

Old people get shingles. If you're young it's something else.

by Anonymousreply 6212/03/2012

Tons of young people get shingles.

by Anonymousreply 6312/30/2012

Yeah, AIDS. [R62]

by Anonymousreply 6412/30/2012

HIV Neg. here, I had a case when I was 45. Took about a month for it to go away. STRESS brings it on too. It was a very bad year.

by Anonymousreply 6512/30/2012

I had sheveral hit shinglesh back in the sheventiesh! Shurely you remember "New York New York"?

by Anonymousreply 6612/30/2012
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