25 y.o. Male, Healthy and Active - Do I have shingles or could this be something else?

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Hi I'm a 25 year old male, I maintain a rather healthy and active lifestyle. On August 29th, 2018, I developed a skin irritation on the right side of the abdomen area, there is no visible sign of anything. The irritation feels like my skin is raw/scratched, it is not itchy, pain is mostly felt when rubbing occurs (from shirt). On September 4th the irritation spread to the right side of my back, same type of pain, again no visible signs of anything. I decided to go to the doctors on September 5th as the irritation has been going on for a week, my doctor prescribed me the medications required for Shingles, he told me to take them should a rash appear. It's been over a week since I first had any irritation, I read everywhere that the rash should appear within a few days, should I still be worried about shingles if it's been over a week and still no rash? At this point I just want something to appear so I can know for certain what is going on...the irritation hasn't improved any since it began, I would say it has gotten a bit worse. 

Has anyone experienced the initial irritation (without any rash) for more than a few days?

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi justin ,

    Usually the rash would apear I would say. Have you changed soap power, shower cream of anything?

    Just a thought.

    Kind Regards 

    Kathy

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    • Posted

      Nothing has changed in the past week with soaps or creams, the irritated area is very localized and spread to my back as well a few days after the initial irritation started on my abdomen. The irritated areas are also only on my right side. The signs seem to point towards Shingles, though it has yet to "appear". 

      ?

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  • Posted

    Justin,

    Sorry you are experiencing this.  I have had shingles 6 times in 6 years.  I only had the rash three times and it wasn't much of a rash.  Really just looked like red area with a couple pimples.  Google shingles without the rash.  It is more common than you think and a lot harder to diagnose. Do you experience and burning or a shock like pain in the area?  That is usually my first signs, but everyone is different.  At this point you can take the meds the doctor gave you but if it is something like Valtrex it is probably too late to help, but worth a try.  Gabapentin is really good for the nerve pain.  If pain becomes too intense you may need an actual pain reliever.  The pain for me usually peaks around week 2 and slowly gets better.  Let me be clear, NOTHING makes the pain go away, it just makes it more manageable.  I know have permanent nerve damage on the right side of my head after having it in the same place 3 times.  So every now and then I get the little electric shocks, some days are worse than others.  Good Luck to you and if I can help with any other questions, please let me know.

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  • Posted

    Dear Justin,

    I am sorry you are going through this. As your pain occurs on one side, has increased slightly since it started, is irritated by simply a shirt rubbing your skin (allodynia), it certainly sounds like Shingles. Shingles without the rash is called "Zoster Sine Herpete," and your Physician should have treated you with an Antiviral immediately. The rash will probably not form now.

    I would wear cotton knit clothing to decrease the irritation.

    You can use cool compresses or ice on the painful areas as it will help decrease the pain.

    Also, sprays with lidocaine such as Bactine or Solarcaine with Aloe help to soothe the irritation tremendously.

    You might try hydrocortisone cream on your skin, as well.

    I am a Nurse Practitioner in the States and have had Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every 3-5 weeks for the past 22 years. I also have had it my right eye twice. The shingles has now escalated and spread to my right scalp. I tried the above treatments, and they helped me enormously.

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Justin, hi I am sorry you are going through this. I am much older then you 57 but I have had terrible pain and burning for 4 months now. I told the Dr I thought it was Shingles even though I have never had a rash. I have also seen a neurologist and she said it must be shingles. I feel for any one that has to experience this pain and burning. I keep thinking it’s going to go away but it’s still there. I have tried various meds but nothing seems to really work. I spray a cool/heat on my right backside and use cool compresses to get a little relief. The burning is there quite a bit of the time. I hope you don’t have to deal with this for too much longer or any one else on here. I just wanted to reach out to you because I have never had the rash but just a lot of pain. Take care. Lorray 
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  • Posted

    Hello.  It is certainly possible to get Shingles without a rash - known as zoster sine herpete (although this doesn't necessarily mean that its what you've got).  I understand that if suspected, it is possible to do some tests (blood/saliva) to see if the virus is present, so this may be worth pursuing.

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