Shingles -Serious, Painful Disease

Shinges from the Chicken Pox Virus

Shingles is a viral infection causing a painful rash that looks like a band of blisters which can appear many places on your body. It is caused by herpes zoster which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. Anyone had has had chicken pox is at a higher risk for shingles because after you have had chicken pox the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. In the United States, 9 out of 10 people have had chicken pox. Years later, it may reactivate in the form of shingles, While it us not life-threatening, it can be extremely painful.

Risk factors include advancing age, as shingles is more common in people over 50 years of age and if you have a weakened or compromised immune system from medications such as cancer treatments you are more susceptible. About 1 million people in the US get Shingles annually but you usually only get shingles once in a lifetime. Shingles are highly contagious.

Typical Shingle Rash

Typical Ages for Getting Shingles

More information can be found at this website: http://www.shinglesinfo.com/risk-factors.html
More information can be found at this website: http://www.shinglesinfo.com/risk-factors.html

Shingles on Face

Adam Photot
Adam Photot

Shingles rash

Shingles Treatment

The first sign of shingles is usually a burning or tingling pain, or it may be numbness or itch in a particular area of the body or face which includes eyes, mouth and ears. Several days or a week later, the rash appears. It is fluid filled blisters, similar to chicken pox on one side of the body. It can be so painful that that gentlest breeze or touch may hurt.

Shingles can occur anywhere on the body, but the most typical site of the rash is a band on the back called a dermatome which spreads from the back and can reach to the breast bone on the chest only on one side of the body or face. The rash can last up to 30 days and the symptoms usually disappear when the rash dries up.

The severity of the disease can be lessened if you receive treatment within 72 hours of the blisters forming. There are some strong antiviral medications, such as Acyclovir, Valcyclovir, or Famcyclovir. Tylenol is given for pain. Blisters should be covered until they are crusted over and don’t scratch blisters as they can become infected. The blisters break and form small ulcers that begin to dry and form crusts which fall off in about 2-3 weeks.

Other symptoms can include abdominal pain, chills, difficulty moving some facial muscles, drooping eyelid, fever and chills, general ill-feeling, genital lesions, headache, hearing loss, joint pain, loss of eye motion, swollen glands, taste problems, and vision problems. It is uncommon to have all these symptoms, but it shows the seriousness of Shingles.

Shingles Virus Explained

Unusual Severe Cases

There are rare cases where shingles can be severe and cause critical illness, including pneumonia or encephalitis which, of course, requires hospitalization. Some people can develop a long-lasting pain condition called postherpetic neuralgia which is more common in the elderly. Again, early treatment for shingles helps prevent this complication.

Prognois of Disease and Prevention Vaccine

The prognosis for healthy people who receive treatment quickly is good. The lesions heal, the pain subsides within 3-5 weeks, and the blisters usually don’t leave scars. However, shingles is more serious if you are immune suppressed, for example, an HIV patient, someone on chemotherapy or someone one on immune suppression drugs for autoimmune diseases and people who have received organ transplants.

A VZV vaccine called Zostavax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2006, for use in people 60 years and older, who have had chicken pox. A panel of the AMA recommends people over 60 get the one time injection, even if they have had a case of Shingles in the past. The risk of getting Shingles is reduced by 50% and of postherpetic neuralgia 67%. The panel states “This vaccine represents an important medical breakthrough aimed at improving health in older people," said Anne Schuchat, MD, assistant surgeon general and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases. People who have had chicken pox have about a 25% chance of developing Shingles if they are not immunized.

Shingles Vaccine-Mayo Clinic

Conclusion

Shingles is a serious, painful disease and if you weren’t familiar with it before, you know what signs to look for now. If you start to experience the symptoms I described, certainly contact your doctor immediately for treatment to lessen the severity of the disease.

As you reach the age of 60 discuss the preventative vaccine with your doctor. It is not always covered by insurance, and the vaccine is about $200. I chose to have the vaccine after a discussion with my doctor, and my insurance paid a big $37. I made the decision based on my particular medical back ground and I have had no side effects from the vaccine. I think it was a good decision in my case

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 114 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Very interesting. I had read of shingles on the AARP site, but you have actually done a better job of explaininig it. As I age, I try to stay on top of physical symptoms. Thank you.

Forever His,


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

I need to get the shot;)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Rev Lady, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your comments.

Mentalist acer, Well, just go for it! Thanks for the comment.


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 6 years ago from West Virginia

I actually suffered from a case of shingles in 2007. Luckily, my rash was on my jaw and under my hair, and it was pretty mild and dissipated quite quickly. I was only 38 years old at the time. Of course, as my daughter was only 10 and had NOT had chicken pox, I had to avoid too much contact, but she remained uninfected.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

I unfortunately am very familiar with the subject of shingles. The age of 60 was way too late for the vaccine as I started blistering by 45. The HN was very painful by the time I was 60, but I do recommend the vaccine ASAP.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sheri, I6t is good that you had a mild case and I hope you don't get it again but the vaccine might be something to consider when you get older. Thanks for your comment.s

Tom, I am sorry to hear you started getting shingles so young. Would it help you to get the vaccine now? Ii hope things are under control now. Thanks for sharing.


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Yeah, I found out there is a vaccine out for it now. Do.

Do you know anything about it like effectiveness rates, and how long the immunization it good fo?

Keep on hubbing!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Great information. The Chinese believe that shingles work like a snake. Once it encircled tbe body, the effects can be deadly but of course, that's old wives' tales. Rated useful.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

My friend Pamela, this is a great hub, and in my senior community many have had this, it is really a serious condition and I love this hub, it's a must read for anyone over 50 rate up and useful


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Eovery, The vaccine reduces your chance of getting shingles by 50% if you are 60 or older, however, the testing showed an effectiveness rate for 60-69 years was 64%. It also reduced the possibility of getting the very painful neuralgia that some people get with Shingles by 67%, You only get 1 vaccine ever. Thanks for stopping by.

Anginwu, While Shingles isn't deadly, I can see why the Chinese correlate the disease with the snake since the virus gets into your nerve and lives dormant until one day it strikes. Thanks for the comment.

Darlene, I'm glad to hear people are getting the vaccine as it is a very painful disease. I know someone who just recovered from the disease not long ago and she was bedridden for most of one month, in a lot of pain and just very sick. Thanks for your comment. I hope you and your daughter are doing okay. I pray for you two girlfriend.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Pamela, for making us aware of this serious and painful disease. I heard many time of how painful it is.

How is your mother getting on? Has she fully recovered?


DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

Had a batch on the left side of my head, behind my ear. I had a hard time sleeping due to the pain, when it was active. It took anti-virals and more than five years for me to get symptom-free.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Hello, I appreciate you comments. My mother has improved but not quite well yet. Thank you for asking.

DiamondRN, I have heard enough stories just like that to make me want the vaccine. That had to be absolutely miserable. I hope you will remain free of shingles forever. Thanks for sharing.


viking305 profile image

viking305 6 years ago from Ireland

Great hub. Yes I had Shingles at the age of 40 and was very painful. A very informative hub thanks


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Viking, It is amazing how the literature talks about Shingles as if it is primarily a problem for those 50 and older, yet right here in our comments we are seeing many younger with the disease. I have a good friend that was younger when she first got shingles also. Thanks so much for your comments.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

I saw pics of a man who had shingles and it was devastating. Practically ate his face away. Thank goodness he is doing well now. This is one I do no like thinking about. The information you covered is well done. Voted-up/rated.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

My aunt suffered from this, and it was awful. Great job, Pam!


parrster profile image

parrster 6 years ago from Oz

Thanks Pam. I had shingles on my forehead. Extremely painful as it affected the nerve ending to my left ear, felt like a knitting needle was being driven into my head when it was at its worst. I was diagnosed at a hospital and they said I should go on a strong course of antiviral. they also said I would have severe scaring across my head by the end of it. Instead I went to my naturopath, she healed me within several weeks. Stopped the virus dead in its tracks. Now I only have a relatively small thumbnail size scar. It was a topical cream and something herbal she gave me, but that's all I know; worked wonders though.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, It is such an awful disease and I didn't put the worst pictures on the hub but I am glad he is okay now. Thanks for your comments.

Habee, It seems like everyone has had it or knows someone who has. Thanks for sharing.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

How timely. My granddaughter, in her early 20's, has shingles right now. A daughter had them while in her early 30's. So, as you said, comments here are showing there's a lot of it in younger people.


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

thank-you for that information. I woke up with bell's palsy about 6 months ago and it is said to be the same virus as shingles. It was extremely scarry, thank-god it is almost gone but I still have twitching in my right eye. I know that with shingle and blls palsy it can be brought on by extreme stress as mine was brought on by.

Thank you for a wonderful hub!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sheila, I hate to hear that. I hope her case is not too severe. Thanks for your comment.

Dawn, I had Bell's Palsy on the right side of my face several years ago and still have numbness on my forehead on that side. I was under a lot of stress also. I hope the rest of your recovery goes by quickly. Thanks for sharing.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

At doctors orders, I just had the vaccine. So far, no troubles, and I sure hope none of you go through the pain.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

This is scary. I thought , as the chart shows that it mostly affected those in their 70s and 80s. From your hub and the comments, it seems much more painful than I thought,too.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I keep hoping and praying since I got CHICKENPOX when I was 30 years old that I will not get 'lucky' and also get shingles but I understand that the same virus can also cause that in us 'older' people. I can only say I thought I had it bad with chickenpox at 30 - I definitely don't want to try shingles on for size - but I know so many people who have had it - and multiple times! Great info....I might break down and go have the vaccine although it seems every time I get a vaccine, something goes wrong - go figure! What are the chances?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Jim, I had no problem with the vaccine either. I hope everyone else stays free of the disease I never expected this type of response from this hub. Thanks for your comment.

bayoulady, The comments really have been unexpected by me also. I wonder if they don't need to do some more research. I am really glad I got the vaccine now and I hope it works. Thanks for your comment.

Audry, I think the point it you had the chicken pox so you could get shingles, but when you are older you will probably do fine with the vaccine. I don't always do well with various medications or vaccine either but the only problem I had with this one was a sore arm for a couple of days. I wish you the best. Thanks for your comments.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

What a well-written hub on such a painful subject! Really, this is very well researched and clued me in on information I was not yet aware of.

Thanks.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

My Doctor vaccinated me. I know people who went through hell with this terrible condition. Great hub with good photos. Thanks


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Lorlie, Thanks so much for stopping by.

Vocalcoach, Thank you so much for sharing your experience.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I never had it, but I've known plenty of folks who have.. some great info here!!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for the good news and I wish her all the best and speedy recovery.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Prrster, That is quite a story with a wonderful outcome. What a miracle and it just shows that looking at other options besides traditional can really pay off. I will definitely consider the naturopath for some of my problems if I can find one in my area. I missed your comment at first probably when I was answering other comments but I am so glad you shared this story. Thanks so much.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Chris, Thanks so much for you comments. i am amazed at how many people know someone that's had it or they have had it themselves. The research doesn't make it sound that common.

Hello, Thanks so much for your comments.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

This looks like a terrible disease to get. Thanks for the information.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

It would seem I've taken much for granted about Shingles, I thought I knew what it was and yes had the basic understanding but Pamela as always you have revealed very detail information which brings much light to this subject. I appreciate how you research so deeply bringing the entire facts. Your great!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sandy, Thank your for your comment.

Katiem, I am glad you are more fully informed since it seems like it is more common than I thought judging by the comments. Thanks for your comments.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

Nice job Pam. So often people forget that aging can become a device for illness. This hub is truly informative and important for all. I will be saring this read with some friends.

Thanks!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

K9keystrokes, You're right about age and illness. Thank you so much for very nice comments.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

Great article. Shingles are truly a miserable disease. I know. I've had them. The pain lasted for 3 months.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Hanna, Three months is awful. Maybe you can get the vaccine so if you don't get them again. Thanks for sharing.


ExpandYourMind profile image

ExpandYourMind 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Wow, very interesting. I know several people who have had shingles and I remember them describing how painful it was. I will be on the lookout for symptoms and run . . . not walk to the doc. Thanks.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Expand your mind, I am glad the hub showed you how serious this disease can be and glad your going to the doctor. Thanks for your comments.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Does NOT sound like a very fun experience. I've actually known two people that had it. Hopefully it is something I will never have to experience myself.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Springboard, I hope you won't experience it either. I never have but that's why I got the vaccine. It is good to know the symptoms as if you or a loved one had them you could get treatment faster. Thanks so much for your comments.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Just learned one of my uncles has shingles and I'm forwarding this to him and his wife. Thanks you never know when such information will be very useful in your own world.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katiem, I hope this article will be useful to them. It seems to be that shingles have become more common or at least I know of more people that have suffered with them recently. Thanks for your comments.


Vi 6 years ago

Hi, thanks for the info! I'm 21 now, but I got shingles on the left side of my pelvic bone when I was 18, a freshman in college. Obviously it must have been the stress that got to me. I learned later that a friend of mine (same age as me) got shingles on her hand too! Sad that so many young people are getting it these days...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Vi, It is sad for young people. Stress is certainly a factor. Thanks for your comment.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you for sharing this very informative hub. I know a lady who had shingles on her head. She said it was very painful. I've never had chicken pox so maybe I'll be lucky and not get shingles.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy, Everyone I've known that had shingle told be how painful they were. You should be okay. I got the one time injection about a month ago. Thanks for your comments.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

I was infected with shingles the first time almost 2 years ago. It was the subject of my first ever written hub here at HP. Piercing, stabbing pain, I thought my right thigh would end up dead with the virus. The pain still recurs but is tolerable now. These ugly scars will be the reminder all my life. I will be more careful now that I have working knowledge of shingles. Thank you for this added information.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Lita, It sound like you have been through an awful time. I hope they don't come back again. I appreciate your comment.


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

Excellent hub pamela99, as someone who has had shingles this is a brilliant hub. It is important that people know there is a vaccine. I would definitely have the vaccine if I hadn't already had Singles. Well done for bringing attention to such a nasty and debilitating condition which now has a vaccine!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

brightforyou, I just got the vaccine about a month ago after having a friend who was sick for a month and had a terrible time. Thank your so much for your comments.


sherrylou57 profile image

sherrylou57 5 years ago from Riverside

Thank you Pamela, for this great info!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Sherrylou, I appreciate your comment.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

I just checked this out because I have a friend who has just been diagnosed with this unpleasant disease. Excellent information, thank you and I shall encourage her to read this too.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

acaetnna, It is an awful disease due to the pain. I hope this hub helps her. Thanks for your comment.


Tarah_ 5 years ago

Great description of how shingles can affect us. I’ve heard of shingles affecting the face but had not seen any photos until checking out this Hub. Thanks so much for putting them up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Tarah, Yes, it can affect the face. That happened to my mother-in-law. Thanks for your comment.


ChristineVianello profile image

ChristineVianello 5 years ago from Philadelphia

Wow! Those pictures gave me a horrible chill down my back. Very scary to think that there are alot of people that suffer from this.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Christine, It has become a fairly common disease and it's very painful. The pitchers do seem a bit graphic but that is what shingles looks like. Thanks so much for your comments.


Joseph 5 years ago

Hello, my son got the shingles over a week ago and his doctor put him on anti-virals. his rash and blisters are gone, but there is still a little swelling and a little pain at night. is this normal


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Joseph, Symptoms typically last about 2-3 weeks so I think your son is still recovering at a normal rate. I am not a doctor, so if you have concerns it never hurts to check with your doctor. This is a tough, painful disease and I wish him a speedy recovery


Denise 5 years ago

I just got diagnosed with Shingles. It started as severe back pain on the left 8 days ago. My Dr. thought it was a pinched nerve from a motorcyle accident 5wks ago. For 2 days now,I've been on Gabapentin and Naproxen every 12hrs. I can't sleep more than 20mins an hour, the pain is extremely burning and my stomach is swelled up bad. My anxiety and stress levels are gone. I am not gonna be able to feel this way for 3-5 weeks, ugghh! Is there anything that can help faster?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Denise, I am sorry to hear that you have shingles as I know it's terribly painful. The drugs that I am most aware of are the ones I listed in the which are Acyclovir, Valcyclovir, or Famcyclovir. Gabapentin is also used to treat shingles and I don't know if it's more any more effective than the other drugs. I have a friend who get shingles occasionally and rest seems to help it resolve more quickly. I wish I had something better to suggest but unfortunately I don't. I sure hope it doesn't take any 3 to 5 weeks for you to get some relief.


Vinsanity100 profile image

Vinsanity100 4 years ago from Michigan

This a very good article pamela99. I am working on an article about chicken pox. Voted up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Vinsanity, Thank you so much for your comments.


skiball 4 years ago

I had shingles in my early 20's. While serving in the Military on a field problem in the early 1980's I felt pain in my chest. One morning I had my shirt off changing into a different uniform when a buddy made a comment about these ugly blisters. Being in the field, right away I thought some kind of bug or something got under my skin and laid its eggs. Don't ask where I got that idea but I did. I ended up at a MASH unit where after being looked at by many younger doctors this older Cnl. Saw it and actually got all of the young dr.s and nurses around me and gave them a class on shingles. Hmmm. I guess I made a great live training aid. I felt much better knowing it was not some parrisites eggs under my skin but boy was it painful. Just the sun hitting my T-Shirt felt like fire on my skin.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

skiball, I have a friend who has had shingles a couple of times and she said the same thing about the pain. I guess all the medical personnel definitely learned a lesson from your pain. I got the shingles vaccine just to try and avoid this painful disease. Thanks for your comments.


editorsupremo profile image

editorsupremo 4 years ago from London, England

A very well written hub that explains the nature of shingles in a way that one can understand. Well done. However, it does appear from the comments that shingles is no respector of persons and can hit you at any age.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

editorsupremo, Shingles can hit at any age but is much more common in older adults and the vaccine is typically given after the age of 60 only once. Thanks for your comments.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Thanks for this one which I am sure will benefit many. My daughter had shingles when she was around 12 or 13 years old.

It was quite nasty from what I remember but because she was younger it probably passed a little quicker than it would in an older person. thanks again for sharing.

Eddy.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Eddy, This is an awful disease. I have the vaccine for shingles, which you can receive one time after the age of 55 I think. Thanks so much for your comments.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Pamela,

It is a shame that insurance does not pay more for the one time injection to ward off getting shingles. My husband and I should both take that preventative measure. You have just reminded me and it will be put a bit higher up on our "to do" list. Up votes and sharing!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, My insurance did end up paying for my shingles injection in full. I was so glad. I know some people who suffer from this painful disease and I sure didn't want to take a chance. I appreciate your comments.


smiileyfacexo profile image

smiileyfacexo 4 years ago from New Zealand

That's very informative. It can be painful and dabbing organic apple cider vinegar can be used to ease the pain because it's an antiseptic.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

smileyfacexo, Thank you for the information and your comments.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I saw the commercial on TV about it, but I didn't know much about it. Thank you for enlightening me. I know you didn't suffer any, but what are possible side effects of the vaccine?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Millionaire Tips, You can always get some soreness at the injection site with most any injection. I read where a runny nose or even a respiratory infection were possible side effects. I don't think side effects are too common. Thanks for your comments.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Pamela... in depth research and information is always helpful. I have never had this but I know a few who suffer with it and I sympathize with them as I have seen the pain they suffer.

Hugs and Blessings from Canada


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Rolly, It is certainly a painful disease from what people have told me. Thanks for your comments and the hugs from Canada.

Hugs and blessings from FL


Wiendy 3 years ago

I burned my chest 11 days ago (today) with hot boiling water while cooking.. the burn was minor.. I put neosporin on it and bandaid to cover it up... the last couple of days the wound looks worst.. right on my chest :( .. It looks like a bad rash. I went to urgent care today and he says it looks like I may have shingles.. Im scared :( .. they took my blood to find out for sure and gave me valtrex and some ointment to put on it until i get the results back in a few days.. if it is shingles he said he wants to put me on steroids.. I hope all this stuff works.. my chest is very itchy and tingly/ painful.. i can't relax at all..


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Wendy, I am so sorry to hear you are having this problem and burns are so painful. Shingles are caused by a virus, so the Valtrex should help. Since the burn was minor, it should not have looked worse a couple of days later, plus the other symptoms are not normal for a burn. A short course of steroids may be the answer. The side effects of steroids usually only occur when you take them for more than 6 weeks. If this is shingles, it is treatable, but it is painful until then. Maybe he can also give you some pain pills or something to help you relax until you are better. Since he also took blood to test, it sounds like he is being thorough. I think this will pass and you will probably never have this happen to you again. I hope you are well soon. Let me know if you wouldn't mind. I wish you a speedy recovery.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

My aunt and my dad had shingles and I know how they suffered I have to get my shot after Christmas. Your hub remined me. Voted Up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Moonlake, The shot is a good idea, especially when others in your family have had shingles. Thanks for your comments. Merry Christmas/


georgiasky3911 3 years ago

I am 64 yrs old and I came down with what I think was a mild case of shingles, I saw a few bumps on day one. I thought that I had been bitten by a spider on my right side, on day two the rash appeared and was moving towards my back. on day three I showed it to my son, and he said that what ever it was i needed to have my doctor take a look, so I went to the doctor and from his first glance, he said, " I can tell you one thing, that's not a spider bite, that's Shingles". I was given medication for the rash and pain. Three days later the pain was so acute, I had to be given a stronger pain med. Its a month later and I have very bad pain in my stomach when I cough, is this common? My back pain that was horrible, but has gone, but the stomach pain is lingering.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

georgiasky, Since I am not a doctor, I would encourage you to seek his opinion on this pain to rule out another problem since the pain is in your stomach with coughing. That does not sound like what I have read about shingles.

I know for some people, the shingles pain goes away fairly quickly and for others the pain can last for many months. The longer the shingles pain lasts, the less chance that it will resolve completely. I am sorry you are suffering from this problem and wish I had something more positive to share with you.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I've known people with this, and it's dreadfully uncomfortable... I'm happy to hear they've got a vaccine for it ! Great hub !!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Chris, Many insurances pay for the vaccine now also as it is about $100. Thanks for your comments.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

My grand dad suffered from this. It was extremely painful, and not to mention he'd had chicken pox as a child too. I guess the virus mutated. Thanks for sharing, and I am passing this on for those who require more information about the disease.


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

I've often wondered what shingles was. This was a very educational and thorough hub. God bless the people who have to endure this disease.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

midget, This disease occurs because of having chicken pox as children. I have talked with people about the awful pain and sometimes it takes a long time to subside. Thanks for sharing your experience.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Careermommy, I am glad you learned some things about this disease, as it is very painful. I agree - God bless those that suffer. Thanks for your comments.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I've had several friends who have had Shingles and they told me the pain was unbearable. I have taken the Shingles vaccine, and I sure hope I never get this horrible disease.

Great info here, voted UP and shared.


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hi Pamela! You have written a thorough guide to this dreaded disease. Very enriching and very helpful.


denden mangubat profile image

denden mangubat 3 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

what! the chicken pox virus will stay with us.we work,play bringing with us that dormant virus at our back.why don't they die?.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Mary, I took the vaccine also, as I have know people that have really suffered from this disease. I hope we are both safe from this disease. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

pinto, I am glad you found this hub helpful and I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

denden, This virus stays formant in most people. It is usually older people who get shingles, and there is a vaccine you can get when you are 60 years old. The disease is painful, but it does not kill you. I hope I answered your questions. Thanks for your comments.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 3 years ago from Rocky Mountains

I was just diagnosed with shingles last week. I had been having pain in my right shoulder and itching under my arm and right breast before the rash came. I thought it was flea bites, but then it started erupting in a line from my mid backbone all the way under my arm and over my right breast to my breastbone. Believe me, it is painful. I wish I had had the vaccine, but my doctor put me on Valacyclovif and hydroco/apap to help. The itching is the worst and the rash bubbling and spreading. Hopefully it will recede soon. Two of my daughter in laws have had it while they were younger than 60. Certainly not a predictable disease and quite painful.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

elayne, I have had friends that had shingles and they always talk about how painful it is. I know a lady that had it for a whole year, but I do not think that is typical. It sounds like you are on the right medicine and you definitely need that pain med. Thanks for sharing your experience and I wish you a speedy recovery,


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Shingles -A Serious, Painful, Viral Disease the photo says it all. A well approached hub on this topic. Shingles sounds a painful experience. I knew of someone who had shingles but did not hear see much of her or hear much of shingle until reading this hub. Interesting, informative, and useful.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

DDE, It is a painful disease. Thanks so much for your comments.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

They have a vaccine...I did not know that, glad I read this, something to think about. Great article. ^


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Jackie, I got the vaccine as I think it is worth trying to prevent this painful disease when you have had chicken pox. Thanks for your comments.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

What an informative hub! This just sounds awful though!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Thanks Pam for an incredibly informative hub on shingles. I remember when David Letterman talked about getting them. He said it was the most painful thing he ever went through. It's strange to think this virus is sitting in any of us that have had chicken pox.


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 2 years ago from New Jersey

My dad had shingles in 1990when he was 41 Not only was the illness painful for him, it seemed to set off a subsequent series of health issues that culminated in his diagnosis of MS in 1995. There are some theories that suggest that the shingles/chicken pox virus is related to MS. I am not a doctor, but I do know that as a child, my dad had chicken pox twice and had shingles. Interesting article. Thank you for sharing!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Audry, Shingles is a very painful disease. I am glad there is one injection you can get that helps prevent the disease. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Linda, It is a strange but very painful disease. I think everyone needs to be informed about this disease. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Theater girl, I am sorry to hear your father suffered so much from this disease. There are treatments now, but some people have a more serious case than others. It is a sad fact that if you had chicken pox you do have a chance of getting this disease. I appreciate your comments and the share.


Reddog3 2 years ago

I am a generally fit & healthy 53y/o female suffering from my second bout of shingles in 2 months. I haven't found any of the alopathic medicines to be very helpful. As a matter of fact, the medicine I was prescribed for PHN shingles pain, Tramadol, actually inflamed my hiatal hernia & gave me severe gastritis. So beware! What I have found helpful are a few more natural remedies, ie. oatmeal/baking soda lukewarm baths followed by lavender essential oil on actual blisters which helps keep scarring minimal, licorice root (anti-inflammatory & anti-viral) can be drunk as a tea or taken in capsule form, and acupuncture sessions w/a skilled practitioner. I just felt I had to share and hope this helps someone else who is suffering. And I do mean suffering!

Good luck and good health.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Reddog, Thanks for sharing these alternative methods of curing this painful disease. We are all different and what works for one may not work for another. I apreciate all your methods and comments.

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