Plagued by the Chicken Pox
Guards are Down
So, let's take a few steps back to the first time I began my Prednisone regiment. As I told you before, though necessary at times because of its reaction time, Prednisone can have some harmful effects. I don't know if all of my readers have had the chance to see that "Shingles" commercial but I'm here to tell you....IT IS NOT PRETTY.
Shortly after starting the Prednisone treatment I noticed a rash starting right in the middle of my chest; it was very itchy. After a while the rash began to spread, it still itched and then it began to burn!!! It also began to look more like blisters and it moved from the middle of my chest all the way to my back in a straight line. My mom thought it was some type of allergic reaction to the Prednisone so she took me in to see my Rheumatologist.
Well she explained that prednisone, being an immunosuppressant, brought down my body's guards. The immune system that kept things like virus and infection in check were free to roam free and one of those viruses that it keeps under control was that of the chicken pox. Because I had already been exposed to the chicken pox (in 1st grade) the virus continues to live under the skin and when the "guards were down" that virus came back up in the form of shingles. The commercial speaks about how the elderly are most likely to suffer from Shingles but that's not necessarily true. Anyone who has a compromised immune system and who has had chicken pox can suffer the effects of Shingles. The burning sensation came from the fact that the virus runs across nerve sections and even after the break-out has subsided a person can feel pain in the area of the former outbreak.
Because it was viral nothing could be done, it had to run its course, so I suffered for about two weeks. The worst of it was when it was drying up and the skin was shedding, the itching was NON-STOP as the body's natural way of getting rid of that dead skin. I still have the scars as the blisters scar when healing up.
Ironically, I developed shingles a few years ago (yes again) around Thanksgiving time. I identified and diagnosed myself right away so I went to the ER and basically told the doctor what I thought I had. After a couple of hours the ER doctor confirmed my suspicion, the difference was now they treat shingles with an anti-viral which if given within the first two days of outbreak can shorten the duration. So the second time around the Shingles wasn't as bad...thank God for modern.