Shingles (as in, the nasty chicken pox redux condition)

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My mom's come down with a case of them, which is Most Obnoxious. Based on talking with her and my dad just now and what they've said, it's been really rough, though after the first attack I gather it ebbs away steadily. Still, yech. Anyone else had to deal with that?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:02 (seventeen years ago) link

Hope your mum comes through ok and that the worst is over :-)

As a child I had chicken-pox which might have activated shingles in my mum, kindly, giving child that I was. It's most common in older people and is itchy, scaley and painful. But it does go away and pain-killers can help.

Just googling the condition - once someone has had chicken pox, the virus remains dormant in the body but is suppressed by the immune system; but as people age the immune system becomes weaker and the virus might re-emerge as shingles.

salexandra (salexander), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:14 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah, my significant other had it about 12 years ago, very painful for a short period of time (hard to remember, like a day or two), then it just kind of faded meekly away. don't know how age factors into it, hope she feels better soon.

timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:18 (seventeen years ago) link

First time I ever really heard it talked about was when Nixon had it and the news readers were saying "this can cause EXCRUCIATING PAIN," etc.

The Bearnaise-Stain Bears (Rock Hardy), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:22 (seventeen years ago) link

And so doubtless you roffled, Mr. Crump. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:26 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh hells yeah. But I'm not laughing at yr mom, I hope she feels better soon.

The Bearnaise-Stain Bears (Rock Hardy), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:33 (seventeen years ago) link

She definitely didn't want to speak much on the phone. The description of what it did to one side of her face is such that I'm glad I'm not there to see it.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 22 September 2006 02:36 (seventeen years ago) link

It's nasty stuff, especially if it's in your facial nerves. An acquaintance had it attack her optic nerve; I hope your mom is spared that Ned, and that she recovers quickly.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 22 September 2006 03:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Shingles is the worst. That's why I'm so glad kids of today have chicken pox vaccine.

Abbott (Abbott), Friday, 22 September 2006 03:53 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm so sorry to hear that Ned - I hope she recovers quickly. Yikes!

Sara R-C (Sara R-C), Friday, 22 September 2006 03:59 (seventeen years ago) link

It's bloody sore and very very uncomfortable when not being sore. Antibiotics and painkillers and calamine lotion and loose-fitting clothes and people who don't mind you going "aaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh" and crying with pain every so often are your friend for a few days. I can't actually remember how sore it was (I'm really bad at recalling pain), but I do remember being an unbearable monster as a by-product.

I developed shingles on my honeymoon, with hilarious consequences. I was told it may have been stress which weakened my immune system hence letting the virus attack me.

ailsa (ailsa), Friday, 22 September 2006 06:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh dear ailsa, thats unfortunate! :|

Trayce (trayce), Friday, 22 September 2006 07:03 (seventeen years ago) link

yes, stress is said to be a key factor in letting the virus out of its dormant state

timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 22 September 2006 07:04 (seventeen years ago) link

too late for your mom, but perhaps your dad should look into this?

"Shingles is an under-recognized, serious neurological disease that can lead to an extremely painful condition called post-herpetic neuralgia," said Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, a shingles expert and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. The new vaccine, called Zostavax, appears to reduce the risk of shingles and the neuralgia and seems to be safe, said Oaklander, who has no financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck & Co.

Shingles, which affects an estimated 1 million people each year, is caused by reactivation of a herpes virus called varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chicken pox. Most American adults have been exposed to chicken pox - and therefore are at risk of shingles. After this infection, the virus hides in nerve cells, then can emerge years or decades later, typically showing up on only one side of the body along the tract of a nerve, often in a belt-like pattern around the torso or in a nerve near one eye.

The $150 vaccine is covered by some insurers and also by Medicare Part D, said Dr. Jeffrey Kelman, a chief medical officer for beneficiary choices at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that administers Medicare.

The FDA cautions that people who are allergic to neomycin or any component of the vaccine should not receive Zostavax, nor should people with weakened immune systems, because the vaccine is made from live virus. An immunization committee for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to discuss guidelines for use of the vaccine next month.

Shingles can, and should, be treated - with anti-viral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famcyclovir. But it's far better to prevent it in the first place, said Dr. Richard T. Johnson, a distinguished service professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "People over 60 should definitely consider the vaccine because post-shingles pain increases with age."

timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 22 September 2006 07:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I had it a few years back...2001 maybe. It's very painful for a while, felt like I'd done something to my back/ribs, until the rash appeared!

Ronan (Ronan), Friday, 22 September 2006 08:52 (seventeen years ago) link

I had it about a year and a half ago. Very painful! Hopefully your mom will get over it quickly.

GILLY'S BAGG'EAR VANCE OF COUPARI (Ex Leon), Friday, 22 September 2006 10:33 (seventeen years ago) link

Get well soon, teh Raggett-Mom.

C J (C J), Friday, 22 September 2006 10:36 (seventeen years ago) link

Thanks for all good thoughts! A vaccine, you say...too late for my mom but good to know it exists.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 22 September 2006 13:19 (seventeen years ago) link

Maybe not to late to prevent recurrance. Although this episode will more or less act as a booster shot in and of itself :(

Herpes viruses are very wily little creatures that are likely among the oldest viruses ever to infect humans. So they've had quite some time to master being a lifelong pain in the ass!

quincie (quincie), Friday, 22 September 2006 14:33 (seventeen years ago) link

my mother came down with shingles shortly after we moved to france. i was 3, my little sister was about 6 months old, my older sister was 5, my parents spoke very little french, and it was very hard to communicate with doctors. my dad ended up calling their gp in the states to have the right prescriptions mailed over. anyway i remember her being laid up for some time, in a lot of pain, and very weak. she now has a scar on her forehead.

when i was in middle school, i got my own case of shingles, but i think it was quite mild as i was nowhere near as incapacitated. it was just more painful and annoying than it was debilitating, so i guess it varies from person to person.

hope your mom feels better soon!!

sometimes my entire life be like DAMNNN! (tehresa), Friday, 22 September 2006 15:52 (seventeen years ago) link

Is there any connection between shingles and lupus? I think the latter can make a shingles infection more likely, but I don't know? I had a geometry teacher in high school who had that happen to her, iirc.

elmo argonaut (allocryptic), Friday, 22 September 2006 16:39 (seventeen years ago) link

My grandfather-in-law had this, and it was horrible. He seriously felt suicidal from the pain. It did eventually fade, however. He tried all sorts of things, including acupuncture (which is very out-of-character for him), but I don't know if anything in particular can be pointed to as having been the "cure."

schwantz (schwantz), Friday, 22 September 2006 16:48 (seventeen years ago) link

i think lupus frequently involves increased susceptibility to shingles, as well as other rashes (malar) resulting from photosensitivity or the immune system feeling threatened and over-attacking the body.

sometimes my entire life be like DAMNNN! (tehresa), Friday, 22 September 2006 17:03 (seventeen years ago) link

I got shingles back in May, was going though a very stressful period, was moving home after dropping ou of college. Wasn't extensive but it hit my nerves on my left side going around to my back. Woke in the night in excruciating pain, couldn't move. Then I had the rash right on my belt line. It's a nasty bastard of a thing and I'm 21 so it was a bit unusual. Horrible the way it came on top of everything else. Luckily it passed within a week or two. Summer sun, being out of Dublin and being able to sleep again all helped me shake it but it is tough to shake for older people and often scars as well.

Major Alfonso (Major Alfonso), Saturday, 23 September 2006 14:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Really all sounds awful the more I hear about it, and of course since it's affecting someone close to me I'm all :-( -- hopefully she's on the mend now.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 23 September 2006 14:17 (seventeen years ago) link

I had a relatively mild case back in 1998, couple mini-comebacks but it was all over after a few months. Definitely stress-related: my dad had just died and his older brother (my beloved uncle) was debilitated w/a stroke so I was managing their estates and cleaning out/selling off their houses in Penn and Virgina respectively. Lots of back and forth from NYC at the same time my career was tanking, in retrospect better shingles than a 40th Bday nervous breakdown.

Interestingly, the doctor shot me up w/cortisone and gave me a bunch of vaguely religious/spiritual pamphlets about mourning and lost loves. Maybe the psychological component in shingles is stronger if you get when you're younger? Anyway, I feel like I got off easy!

m coleman (lovebug starski), Saturday, 23 September 2006 14:35 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...

Haven't had an outbreak in ten years. Ouch. It itches more this time.

Nate Carson, Friday, 13 March 2009 10:20 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

Ugh. I feel like my left side has been in a fight. I am wearing an undershirt under my bra. :P

Alma Mattar Paneer (doo dah), Wednesday, 20 February 2013 17:56 (ten years ago) link

seven years pass...


calstars, Friday, 4 September 2020 21:33 (three years ago) link

Ugh sorry.

Boring, Maryland, Friday, 4 September 2020 22:14 (three years ago) link

Just started taking xaljanz (sp?) for my colitis and apparently it puts you at increased risk of shingles, so I need to get the shingrix vaccine, which my insurance won’t cover because I’m under 50. Sucks, albeit not as bad as shingles (sorry calstars!)

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Friday, 4 September 2020 23:39 (three years ago) link

Just got the first of two Shingrix vaccine injections. It hasn't been available for couple of years until recently. Got it at the same time as I had my flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine. Both my arms hurt for days, but it wasn't a problem.

I had shingles 13 years ago. It was a really miserable experience so I'm happy to finally get a good vaccine

Dan S, Friday, 4 September 2020 23:44 (three years ago) link

Had this at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019. All over my back, and on my right arm from palm to elbow. Ultimately I think it might have been a fairly "mild" outbreak, as it wasn't horribly painful as some have described, so much as itching/burning/annoying, plus some neuropathy-type tingling in my fingers. It took about 3 weeks to cycle through.

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 5 September 2020 00:55 (three years ago) link

almost everybody in my family has experienced shingles.

mine was over the right side of my torso, with a neuropathic pain that was hard to describe but was very unpleasant. I was lucky because it was not as bad as what my younger sister experienced, with shingles in her mouth.

Dan S, Saturday, 5 September 2020 01:52 (three years ago) link

people should get the shingles vaccine if they can

Dan S, Saturday, 5 September 2020 02:52 (three years ago) link

Antibiotics seem to be working (on day 4?) — the spread seems to have halted after infecting my chest, neck, and earlobe. Lots of itching with the occasional stab of pain. Yeah

calstars, Tuesday, 8 September 2020 21:54 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

ugh just got this. thought I was young enough I didn't need the vaccine; I guess I was wrong. Probably the stress of teaching through the pandemic set it off.

Not too painful yet but I have gotten lots of dire warnings about what is to come.

Lily Dale, Sunday, 5 June 2022 23:18 (one year ago) link

one can get shingles more than once. my advice to anyone who's had chickenpox or chickenpox with subsequent shingles is to get the Shingrix vaccine

Dan S, Sunday, 5 June 2022 23:42 (one year ago) link

yeah, seriously, everyone get the vaccine. Don't be like me and assume it's for people older than you.

Lily Dale, Sunday, 5 June 2022 23:58 (one year ago) link

Too true - my son got shingles a few years back, when he was 34 or 35. The doctor speculated that with so many kids having received the varicella vaccine, younger people who had chickenpox before the vaccine became available were at higher risk due to their immune systems not getting the occasional hit of the virus from the environment. No idea if that's valid. Really sorry you are having to deal with this Lily, and hope it stays mild.

Jaq, Monday, 6 June 2022 00:04 (one year ago) link

i somehow assumed if you had HAD chickenpox you were immune. based on zero data. anyway. maybe i need that vax afterall?

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 6 June 2022 00:13 (one year ago) link

you should get it. after initial the chickenpox infection the varicella zoster virus remains dormant in the body but it is not gone. shingles is a later reactivation of the virus

Dan S, Monday, 6 June 2022 00:19 (one year ago) link

what age are people supposed to get it at? i had chicken pox but have never been recommended to get the vaccine

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 6 June 2022 00:21 (one year ago) link

50 or older, unless your immune system is weak, but I don't know of any problems with my immune system and I just turned 38. So I'd say get it now.

Lily Dale, Monday, 6 June 2022 00:26 (one year ago) link

yeah i was just looking it up. i am 37.

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 6 June 2022 00:28 (one year ago) link

my friend got it a few years ago while pregnant, probably around age 32

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 6 June 2022 00:29 (one year ago) link

i am 46 [cue “psycho” violins]

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 6 June 2022 01:43 (one year ago) link

read this thread title as "nasty chicken pick only ten"

frogbs, Monday, 6 June 2022 01:49 (one year ago) link

I really really need to get the vaccine. I'm 52 and have had several friends get shingles and all of them were varying degrees of miserable. Sorry, Lily!

pick only ten nasty chicken viruses

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 6 June 2022 01:55 (one year ago) link

I didn't know you *could* get the vaccine (in the US) before 50

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 6 June 2022 01:58 (one year ago) link

yeah i think both might be only fda approved for over 50 unless immunocompromised, not sure, just based on my search tonight

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 6 June 2022 02:04 (one year ago) link

Think it's only been tested in 50+ demographic, but yeah I've known people in 30s who got it, and FDA says:

SHINGRIX is a vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster (HZ) (shingles):
in adults aged 50 years and older.
in adults aged 18 years and older who are or will be at increased risk of HZ due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy.
Seems like "known disease" could plausibly incl. chicken pox, and that making this case to your doctor would be worth a shot

dow, Monday, 6 June 2022 05:03 (one year ago) link

Yeah absolutely get the vaccine if you are eligible. As you can tell from the fact I started the thread, as soon as I turned 50 I made arrangements and got my first shot a couple of weeks later.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 6 June 2022 05:10 (one year ago) link

nasty chicken pick only ten

irl lol, my brain immediately started trying to make a list of nasty chicken. Thanks for the sympathy, all.

Lily Dale, Monday, 6 June 2022 05:38 (one year ago) link

the NHS only gives it to you if you're 70-79

Tracer Hand, Monday, 6 June 2022 09:58 (one year ago) link

My housemate who's younger than me has had the vaccine, but she got it because she was working in home health care, so maybe she wouldn't have been eligible otherwise. Well, if the US doesn't usually give it to you until you turn 50, I feel less guilty and more annoyed.

Lily Dale, Monday, 6 June 2022 12:45 (one year ago) link

A weird side effect of this for me seems to be anxiety. I thought at first I was just nervous waiting for the promised excruciating pain to set in (hasn't yet, fingers crossed), but now I think it's the shingles itself making me anxious. Weird.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 8 June 2022 10:50 (one year ago) link

This is a weird dang illness. Lately it keeps jabbing an invisible needle into the left side of my chest like I am Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Could be worse - could be lots of needles! But a very odd sensation.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 11 June 2022 17:49 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Sympathy to all those suffering from shingles, must be awful. My first shingles vax shot just jacked me up for 12+ hours and I never have responses to vaccines.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Sunday, 17 September 2023 13:09 (one week ago) link

That was me a year ago--I had only fleeting pain after my COVID shots, but my shingles shots messed with my arm for a week afterwards.

Infanta Terrible (, Sunday, 17 September 2023 14:53 (one week ago) link

I doubled up the shingles and tetanus shots, which was probably not a good idea as it wiped me out for a day and a half. Covid/flu shot combo a comparative breeze.

henry s, Sunday, 17 September 2023 15:34 (one week ago) link

Yeah zero regrets on getting my shingles vaccine shots two years back but I would recommend you do them on a Friday and plan to do nothing for the weekend.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 17 September 2023 15:39 (one week ago) link

No regrets for sure. I'll be more prepared for the second shot.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Sunday, 17 September 2023 16:42 (one week ago) link

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