Exhausted post shingles

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I was diagnosed with shingles 2 weeks ago. Compared to some, it was a mild case with just a small rash on my back. I caught it early and was given antibiotics which I finished last week. The rash has pretty much cleared but now I have overwhelming bouts of fatigue. Yesterday I literally couldn't move. Is this to do with the shingles and if so, how long does it take to be 100% better?

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  • Posted

    Often, with shingles, you can have exhaustion, fatigue, malaise, irritability etc anytime 2 weeks before, during, and usually up to 2 weeks after the rash has cleared. It is important to remember that you are infected with the Herpes Varicella virus, that you had a viral infection that for some is excruciating, and is a serious infection. I prefer to call it Herpes Zoster, as I have recurrent Herpes Zoster Oticus in my right ear every three to five weeks for the last 19 years. I have fatigue, malaise, fever, preceding the severe pain, must take antivirals and pain medication, and rest during each episode. I hope this helps.

    Merry

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    • Posted

      Oh god, poor you. I think I've underestimated how serious it can be. I was in a lot of pain before the rash popped up but at the time thought it was muscle strain so powered through. I then didn't rest as I had a busy week in London with work that I had worked too hard on to miss out. I'm beginning to think I over did it and should have stayed home.
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    • Posted

      May I ask your age? I started with Zoster in my early 40s . I had a severe right ear ache in which I felt I was giving birth via my ear canal while being tased. I literally wanted to cut out my ear. Of course, I went to my allergist, who knew something was wrong, and 2 ENTs, who thought it was all in my head, no pun intended. I finally saw an otoneurologist, who diagnosed it when the rash came out on the external ear. My 7 year old son, whom I had trained to use an otoscope, had told me there were blisters on my ear drum and canal two and a half weeks after the pain began. I didn't think of Zoster right away as I was in so much pain. It actually took that long for the blisters, rash to appear. Then I called the otoneurologist, and he told me, it sounds like good Ole Ramsay Hunt Syndrome-Herpes Zoster Oticus, to me! Finally, a diagnosis! Unfortunately, it started reoccurring with increasing frequency. When I have a headache, I start the Famvir immediately.

      Because you overdid it in London and powered through it, it sounds like your body is screaming at you now to rest. I would obey your body. I am sorry you too went through Shingles. You sound like me. Working through the pain as it has to get done. I have become wiser, though, and realized, that my body can only handle so much stress, then it protests by becoming ill

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    • Posted

      I'm 33 and when I went to the doctors I thought it was either a kidney infection or muscle strain. He actually gave me a prescription for shingles because he had a hunch but wasn't sure as there was no rash present. 2 days later and it appeared but, because it wasn't as bad as some people get it I just powered through. I'm definitely resting now. Do you think a vit b supplement will help? My friend said it did wonders for her hubby when he was recovering.
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    • Posted

      If you eat nutritious food from all the groups, I doubt that a vitamin supplement would help. I have had concussions and two strokes, and tried Vit B supplements after the first stroke. It did nothing. A hematologist did a comprehensive workup after the second stroke. My Vitamin levels were very high. B vitamins are water soluble, and what your body does not use, it excretes out. You can ask your physician to measure your vitamin levels, but if you have no anemia, and are in otherwise good health, with no bleeding disorders, you probably need tincture of time and rest.

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    • Posted

      I am 65 years old.  I got shingles and had the vaccine already.  The outbreak was not terrible altho the pain in my face was.  I was off work the enitre month of August and hardly remember it because I mainly slept.  Now that it is November, I still get terrible fatigues and could sleep the whole day.  I have a very physically demanding job.  When I start to feel stressed it seems my hand starts to break out again for a short period of time.  I am wondering if it is natural to feel this tired.  I do have a good day now and then but, still tired.  Also, I seem more irritable.  Can that be natural?

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry, just getting over a pretty horrible bout of shingles and seem to have been left with shocking insomnia. Can't drop off when I do finally get to sleep its light and for a few hours. I haven't had sleep problems for years and years , is this a normal part of the recovery process ?
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    • Posted

      Hi Nicster,

      So sorry for your suffering.

      Where was the rash and how old are you, if I may ask. I have Herpes Zoster Oticus in my right ear and find it difficult to reestablish my sleep schedule. First, I know I am developing another bout of shingles when I have insomnia, but have trouble directly after the acute phase. If you are still having problems with pain, I recommend you continue taking the analgesics. If you were taking a lot of narcotics, sometimes people have mild withdrawal symptoms which would include insomnia. If you have no underlying medical conditions or allergies, perhaps you could take an over the counter sedative for a few nights to get you back on track. Otherwise, I would speak to your physician for something stronger.

      Remember, you had a viremia circulating in your body for weeks. It takes weeks, really months for your body to return to normal. As I am very sensitive to all caffeine, I only have I cup of coffee in the morning. That means absolutely no Tea, colas, caffeined sodas, coffee etc except for that one cup. I am very strict with myself or I simply will not sleep. Also, certain decongestants and energy drinks have caffeine.

      I also will make a soothing glass of warm milk, add a little chocolate if you must. Turn off the TV an hour before bedtime. Find a somewhat boring book to read. If you can find repetitive music, Bach is good...you might Google sleep hygiene for other ideas...

      I know as the virus affects my brain literally that it irritates the central nervous system. When I can't sleep I stay up and read or do crosswords until I feel sleepy, then I return to bed.

      I no longer stress about it and accept that I will not have much sleep that night. I do not nap during the day, ever...

      I hope this helps...please tell me where the rash was, if you have residual pain, and your age.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Oh, that's terrible, Merry! For three days at the beginning of my first bout with shingles--not knowing what it was, and then not being correctly diagnosed even when I went to the doctor--I thought I had an ear infection because of pains that seemed to strike down through my skull and into my right ear. I could only describe them as like lightning strikes, though of course, THAT is something I have never had happen.

      Now the shingles have abandoned my head and always concentrate on the left side of my back. I am grateful for their sticking to that location and hope never ever to experience the ear pains again! I'm so sorry that you are having to endure such frequent attacks.

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    • Posted

      Janbi,

      It sounds like you had Ramsay Hunt Syndrome-Herpes Zoster Oticus the first time, as well. I have described it as trying to give birth through your ear canal while being tased with a cattle prod. I literally wanted to cut out my inner ear down to the middle of my brain. I had the excruciating pain for three weeks. I saw 2 ENTS who thought I was narcotic seeking, even though my tympanogram was flat. The third was a neurotologist who finally believed in me and diagnosed it. I was completely deaf when I had it as I had a secondary bacterial otitis media, as well. I am so empathetic, naturally, but also because of the first episode of my Herpes Zoster-Shingles done without antivirals or analgesics of any kind. I was allergic to NSAIDS, by then. I offer support and knowledge as an NP on this site as I know how difficult this disease is, and how many clinicians are abysmally ignorant regarding this disease.

      Where do live? I know many from the US love this site, as well. It really helps!

      I am sorry you get recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles, but hopefully you have a stock of antivirals and analgesics that work for you. You learn to accept what you have and deal with life and move on with a sense of humor and grace. Otherwise, life isn't worth living.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Merry,

      Wow, I never thought that there was a specific name for what I experienced at the start of my first bout. Thanks, Merry.

      The pain really was awful, but fortunately each lightning stroke was of short duration. Also very unpleasant was a sort of warning feeling that preceded each strike, almost like a premonition, but now I realize I was probably sensing some excitation of the nerve. I can't imagine how I could have borne it if that sort of pain had been constant, even for the three days or so I experienced it. I have always thought of it as only a sort of precursor to the shingles because when the more steady pain started (preventing me for over 6 weeks from sleeping in any position other than on my left side), the ear pain stopped.

      I just googled Ramsay-Hunt syndrome and found this:

      "The rash will resolve but, unlike Bell's palsy, the rate of complete recovery of facial function is only 75%, even if treatment was initiated within three days, especially if aged over 50 and in the presence of complete paralysis."

      Since I had no treatment whatsoever and was considerably older than 50, I have to be very grateful that the condition did not leave me with poor facial function or hearing loss.

      To deal with the pain, all I ever take is acetaminophen. Can't take Ibuprofen, as I have a tendency to gastric reflux and have had (slightly) bleeding ulcers on two occasions.

      The recurrences of shingles have not been as bad as that first time. I attribute that fact to my having had the vaccine. I wonder if its suppressive powers wear off with time? Certainly the itching this time was worse than any I have had. But the attack began to taper off yesterday, and I feel much better. For one thing, now scratching gives me a bit of relief, whereas at the height of the itching, it only made things worse.

      I figure I will have to go through this again from time to time, but I can live with it. (Just wish I could scratch in public. When people are around--except for my husband--the best I can do is try to scratch unobtrusively against the back of any chair I may be sitting in.)

      I am so glad I found this site. I wonder who else is here from the U.S. I am originally from Massachusetts, but now live in California.  So nice to know there is an NP on this forum!

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    • Posted

      Janbi,

      I have a slight facial droop, barely perceptible when I have Herpes Zoster-Shingles, but partly because I had a stroke affecting by right side. It is more noticeable at night when I am tired. I had a stroke affecting my left side with a facial droop. It's a good thing as it evens out my face...lol. I still can smile and use my arms and legs as I received tPA, the clot buster drug which eradicated the paralysis and aphasia.

      Where did you live in Massachusetts? I lived in Nashua, NH, Sharon Connecticut, and La Jolla, California. I am in Delaware, currently. Much cheaper than Southern California, no firestorms, only one earthquake, a magnitude of 4 and 2 Hurricanes since I've been here the last 6 years.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Merry,

      I lived in a city of about 30,000, northwest of Boston. The train to Boston took about 30 minutes. I went to college near Boston, too, and my Boston accent has such a strong hold on my brain that I still retain it now, in spite of spending well over half of my adult life abroad. In around 20 years, 36 strangers have commented on it; I have been keeping count!

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry, I was diagnosed 2/19/16. I have been trying to post however, keep running into a problem. As soon as I start typing after one or two lines, I get some sort of cooking post that keeps playing on a continuous loop. Anyone else getting this?
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    • Posted

      Yes, Barbara...that's why I stopped posting! I would do a long lost and lose it when that thing popped up. Too frustrating, there must be some way to prevent it, but I don't know...maybe someone else does...

      Hope you're feeling better!

      Joyce

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    • Posted

      Oh dear, this time I had a "news" interference rather than the cooking one! There has got to be a way to prevent this...does anyone know how?
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    • Posted

      Dear Janbi,

      Well, With Bostonians, it is considered a cute affectation, when you pak Tha Ca. New Yawkas are considered more aggressive, but when I lived in California, I missed the East Coast accents and multicultural feel of NYC, Boston, Phillie, plus the East Coast state of mind and sense of humor.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Ha ha! But not an affectation to the people I grew up around. What is even more interesting is that while Bostonians substitute/substituted "ah" for "ar" (Has the influx of "outsiders" begun to change it? I've been away for so long that I may now be a relic preserving pronunciations from the 50s and 60s.), we also often add an "r" to the end of words that legitimately end in just "a." I once had some friends from Wisconsin in stitches as I was reading aloud from something and said, "Canader, Burmer, Columbier, and a few other country names. While I still often say "idear," I was always more careful with the names of countries but purposely put my accent to work that day to amuse the "audience." II would still say "pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd," with no idear of being cute or affected, though.

      My grandmother, brought up in South Boston in the 1880s, extended the use of "broad a" far beyond what I do. She would say "grahss" and "brahss," but I say, "grass" and "brass." We both used broad "a" in path and bath, however.

      Regional accents are so interesting; I wish I knew more about them. Incidentally, when I first heard Bernie Sanders speak on TV, I had only heard that he was "from Vermont," and his accent puzzled me because it was nothing like the way the Vermonters that I knew pronounced things. When I learned that he was actually originally a New Yorker, it all made sense!

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    • Posted

      I lived in NYC, which means Manhattan, and was able to tell whether someone was from Brooklyn, Bronx, or Queens. I love regional accents, but coming from New Joisey, my mother, a Norwegian from Minnesota banished the idea of any Joisey accent in her five daughters. No one can tell where I am from, but I have lived in Germany, New England, California, and now Delaware.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Janbi,

      Northern Delaware is more Phillie, southern is more rural with Baltimore thrown in. They ate unique, but not as obvious as Boston or NYC! Most of NJ doesn't have the stereotypical Joisey accent, but we all know how to put one on!

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi again , had episodes of heat exhaustion last week, ( riding motorcycle in 105 weather ) trying to get home ...finally friends had to get us . Since then though I've been drinking a lot of water , Gatorade I just don't feel right , seems my balance is off & today the shingles headache pooped up ..,just about a year ago was diagnosed .wonder if heat exhaustion triggered shingles . Blessings ??

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    • Posted

      Abella,

      Heat exhaustion certainly could have triggered shingles. That is a major stressor. It is obviously a dangerous condition. I'm sorry you are feeling unwell.

      If you have shingles, I hope you are on an antiviral.

      Best wishes to you..

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Merry I have been reading your posts and I am so grateful to find someone who knows what I am going thru. I have had shingles for 20 years however what used to be a yearly virus turnedinto a monthly virus and now I have had a pretty active case since December which I can't seem to get rid of. I have seen 7 different doctors and have had all types of tests and although they seem to know what it is, they can't seem to treat it. I had another script o was waiting to fill today of valtrex until I read a post of yours and I just called my dr to have it changed to vamciclovir. I hopeful something will help. This last case has been pretty bad for about two, maybe three weeks. My case is a bit different from what I have been reading. I have internal shingles which although I do get an itchy red mark on my calf, the pain is in the nerve on that same leg and into my hip. It used to be in the right side of my back and I have to say it's more bearable in my hip and leg. You can't see it which makes it hard to diagnose and I am desperate to find a dr who knows a little bit more about internal shingles. This case has never left me since December so I can't get the shot until I am free from this virus for 30 days. I think I read that the shot has helped some people so right now I just hope to get to that point. I am hoping this new medication will help me and I will let you know. This is such an underdeveloped virus when it comes to knowledge and medication, if I have heard correctly there are only four main drugs to help treat this, not great this, help treat this. I understand how it lays dormant in your body and stress most likely brings it out so I have to wonder if we are treating this wrong and we need more of a xanex then a valtrex....I have been doing this so long and I have tried drugs, diet, exercise, sleep, time off, happier days, vacations, and honestly I can't fix this. I am one of those people who sees something and knows how to make it better but this virus has gotten me and I am finally at a loss. Ironically my mother died of ALS which is also a nerve disease. Makes me wonder.

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    • Posted

      Hi Dfortkiewicz,

      I am so sorry for what you are going through. Famcyclovir seems to work better for me, but is not a panacea.

      The current vaccine Zostavax is efficacious only around 55-37% of the time, dwindling in efficacy as one ages.

      There is a new shingles vaccine called Shingrex by GlaxoSmithKline that hopefully will be available for distribution by 2017. It is pending approval by the FDA & European Drug Agencies in 2016. Shingrex is allegedly 97% efficacious, making it a winner. There are no studies, as yet as to whether it will help recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles patients. Zostavax did not help slow down the Herpes Zoster-Shingles episodes for me.

      Have you tried being on an antiviral daily? Again, this regimen did not help me, but does help some people. I am assuming that you had the appropriate imaging studies to rule out other pathology in the area where internal Herpes Zoster-Shingles is located? This would include an MRI with and without contrast, and CT scan. I'm so sorry your mother died of ALS. It certainly is difficult having a "nerve" disease, although Herpes Zoster-Shingles is excruciating, it doesn't paralyze you.

      I don't know what other medical diseases you have, but some people with PHN, Post Herpetic Neuralgia, and recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles take certain medications such as Neurontin, Lyrica, and I take Topamax. Obviously, there are contraindications if you have certain diseases for these medications, but these medications lower the intensity of pain for some. I take Topamax for migraine prophylaxis, as well.

      Where are you living?

      I have had recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles every 3-5 weeks in my right ear for the past 20 years and my right eye twice. I understand what you are going through.

      Physicians are abysmallying ignorant regarding this disease, the treatment, the recurrence, coconcurring symptoms, pain management, research, etc.

      Hopefully, I've been of some help to you.

      Best wishes.

      Keep me posted.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      The doctors didn't tell me any of these things..i feel like I gave a mild case of the flu off and on. The fatigue is awful but I didn't understand why any of this was going on. I just finished my anti viral, Acyclovir, last night. I was just sure that the diarrhea and nausea would be gone this morning but wrong. I don't know what to do at this point. My first bump came up July 10th.

      I thought it was a bug bite and didn't go to the Dr until July 18th.

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    • Posted

      I have tried all those drugs and I seem to be getting worse as the years go on. I am 47 and I find ironic that the current available shot decreases effectiveness as you get older especially since it's not covered by most insurances until you are 50. The new shot you mentioned coming out next year sounds promising. Is it available where you are or you just heard about it? I am the anti viral daily and my dr's want me to find a specialist because they don't understand the virus and are uneasy with the constant refills as well as now rejecting my request for the medication you mentioned in your earlier message which I referenced. They want me to see an infectious specialist disease dr and they gave me a his name. Funny thing is I have already seen him and he too sent me on my way with no knowledge. I have to find a specialty dr and that's what I am having trouble doing. I live in NJ and NYC is 40 min away. Imagine not being able to find a dr who specializes in this virus...plus I have amazing healthcare and no deductible, still no mention of a single dr that can help me. The pain gets overwhelming in my leg and I can't put pressure on it. I used to exercise 1-3 hours a day since I work from home and now I can't even do that. It does get you down.

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    • Posted

      Kimberly,

      The diarrhea and nausea should improve within two days from your last dose. If not, call your physician.

      The flu like symptoms, such as headache, aches and pains, malaise, fever, chills, sweating, fatigue, are typical of Herpes Zoster-Shingles.

      Are you in much pain, now?

      Where was your rash?

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Dfortkiewicz,

      As pain seems to be the overwhelming symptom affecting your quality of life, have you considered seeking a consultation with pain management/anesthesiologist. I am not certain at what level ie nerve root the Herpes Zoster-Shingles is located, but when the pain is exacting such a toll on you, an anesthesiologist may be able to perform a nerve block on that particular nerve. If the nerve block works, sensory only, then they can consider an ablation, where they destroy only that part of the particular nerve. I would go to NYC, not local, for a specialist.

      Just thinking long-term for you...

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Yes and yes to both dr questions. I feel I have everyone and I have tried about a doz different medications included all kinds of pain meds but for some reason pain meds don't help this virus. It's really strange to me. That shot blocking that nerve may be a great idea. I just had an epidural in my L5 with the same hope but it wasn't successful in blocking this hip pain. You may be on to something with your other thought ??

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    • Posted

      Hello Merry...

      My name is Rachel. I have a serious suspicion that I have Herpes Zoster Oticus in my left ear. The recurrence has been about every 3 to 5 weeks. I have other autoimmune issues as well. I was hoping to start a dialogue with you to see if any of our other symptoms match.

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry , have question?? I stated before I had shingles on scalp last year . Now a yr later the eye pain is returning , itchy sensitive scalp , also have intense itching n burning on r forearm , driving me nuts .... Area feels a bit warm . Am taking gabapentin ...haven't take Zovirax or any anti viral meds ... My pa doesn't seem to think shingles is on going problem . I respect your answers .. Hoping u can help or direct me. In this battle ??

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    • Posted

      Hi Splendidlife,

      Perhaps you can start by telling me what is going on with you...the full history of presenting symptoms, your age, gender, other medical issues including autoimmune diseases. Have you seen a physician who has diagnosed you with Herpes Zoster-Shingles?

      Thanks.....

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Azbella,

      I am sorry you are having problems. These the same exact areas as before that were affected by Herpes Zoster-Shingles, correct? If so, definitely see another health professional, ASAP. Get on an antiviral for seven days. You can have "Zoster Sine Herpete" or Shingles without the Rash...

      If I recall, you live in the United States.

      Please let me know how you are doing!

      All my best!

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Sort of started on my scalp, behind temporal area up towards top of head . No am having extreme burning n itching on r forearm ... Shingles don't cross sides ... ??? I've tried icing the area n using Benadryl gel .. Which does nothing ,, wish I could get my hands on some lidocaine gel ... Ty for your help much appreciated yes I live in Az but am in Ca right now

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    • Posted

      Azbella,

      Is this on other side?

      Herpes Zoster-Shingles can cross to the other side. I would see an excellent neurologist. Someone else had symptoms on the other side. It is more common than physicians used to realize. You need to see an excellent neurologist, however, ASAP, to start the antivirals and/ or whatever treatment ... only then will you start to feel better.

      Best wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thank you for answers n help . My arms are so hot they melted ice cubes . I used Carnac cream which took edge off the burning n itching . Took gabapentin n Xanax .... Hopefully I'll get some rest of course I'm not home . I'll try n get into my md but I don't know what good that will do , ill contact neurologist adapt when I get home , appreciate your help n concern .. Blessings. ???? carol

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan  I am from NZ North Island and have just been diagnosed with Shingles.  It is around my left eye and scalp, basically lefthand side of my face.  Happy New Year
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    • Posted

      Hi Margo nice to here from someone close to home I,m in Blenheim.

      I got shingles in july had vaccine in MARCH  I did not get rash but all other symptons.I,m so pleased i can walk around town again I was so exhausted.I still have the odd day when my energy levels are not good but on the whole i,ve got my life back .There is light at the end of the tunnel so keep smiling and Happy New Year

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan 

      How are the earthquakes?  I live in the South Waikato.

      It has been suggested to me to gt a vaccine however would not touch them.  First they are not very affective and two I don't like vaccinations.  Today after 1 week and 5 days after diagnoses my pain has been barely there.   However as soon as I eat something with sugar in it, it will hurt in the eye again.  Like a knife... :-)  I am also not concerned about tiredness, although I am tired now, that could be because of the antiviral pills.  I have a product that will give my pure energy and as soon as I am of those pills I will try it.  Now I am just relaxing, sleeping and doing not much.  I am 73 and still work 2 days a week, this is the busiest time at work, so I want to go back to work asap.  Got a note till 16th.  You are lucky not to get the rash, My forehead looks is full of scabs, eye still swollen, however it will take time.  I am pleased you are doing better.

      Take Care and nice to see a Kiwi on here.  :-)

      Cheers Marjo

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    • Posted

      Hi Margo thankyou for your reply .Like you I was still doing a little bit of work but had to give most of it up. You are the same age as me.I,m pleased I did have the vacccine  reading about people on here I was very lucky.My Dr. has told me I should not get them again  because of vacccine hope they are correct.Where in the Waikato do you live? Yes the earthquakes a scary we have had a good jolt for the last 2 days I can cope with them in the daytime but hate them at night  especially when they are over 5
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    • Posted

      Hi Susan  I had replied however lost it all somehow.  I have seen it happened before to people on this site.  Wonder how we can correspond without this site.  I live south of Putaruru.  Have a great Sunday

      Marjo

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    • Posted

      Susan, that number can be seen by literally anyone in the world who stumbles upon this thread. Do you still want this posted?
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    • Posted

      Hi Merry I have been reading a lot of this post. I am 57 and have been getting shingles since in my 30's. I am a retired underground coalminer and now a part time preschool teacher. For about 1 1/2 years I have been getting them every 3 months and I am so soooo exhausted all the time. Do you have any idea what will help? I take vitamins, l-lysine and workout. What else should I take? I have had blood work done cause I thought maybe it was something else, but all is fine with that. Should I go to a different Doctor maybe?

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    • Posted

      Dear Sissy,

      First, I am sorry you are getting Herpes Zoster-Shingles every three months. Herpes Zoster-Shingles causes severe fatigue, exhaustion, and malaise. The pain, of course, is depressing enough, but the fatigue that accompanies this viral disease is incapacitating for many of us. As a retired coal miner, you know what bone weary work is. Now, as a preschool teacher, dealing with active youngsters, you have full days five days per week. There is no magic cure for the fatigue that you feel. My only recommendation is to strictly adhere to the high Lysine low Arginine diet. It had made a huge difference in the frequency and intensity of episodes of Herpes Zoster-Shingles for me.

      Also, do not power through these episodes. Get plenty of rest and sleep. Hopefully, you have the antiviral on hand to start as soon as you feel the first twinge if symptoms. Do not wait until the vesicle-blisters have appeared. You want to start ASAP to stop the virus from replicating. The disease course will be milder. Also, you should have a strong analgesic to take, as well.

      Have you been evaluated for silicosis or autoimmune disorders? I have three autoimmune diseases that have predisposed me to Herpes Zoster-Shingles. It was not apparent initially when I started having recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster-Shingles.

      If you are not happy with your physician, change. You need to find one you can trust. If the physician has been treating you well, responded to your needs, diagnosed you accurately, treated the symptoms including the pain fully and comprehensively, and is approachable, stay.

      Best regards to you, Sissy

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thank you for responding and I think I will try a different Doctor. This being tired all the time has got to go! Thank you again and God's blessing on you!

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    • Posted

      Hi Boomslang,

      Are we talking about you or someone else re Zostavax?

      It is difficult to follow the thread on the post sometimes...

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      My dear Merry,

      My 72 year old husband was diagnosed with Shingles (in his groin and around his buttocks) 2 weeks ago. He was on Valtrex for 7 days. The rash has pretty much cleared and the  pain is minimal.  Now I can't get him to stay awake and he pretty much refuses to eat.  He slept 12 hrs last night...I made him get up (which was a real struggle)...made him a very healthy smoothly along with a banana. He ate and sat up for about 30 minutes now back in bed.  I'm so worried about him.  You've mentioned exhaustion and malaise but is this not to the extreme?! Please give me your opinion.  Oh in addition to the shingles he is having bladder problems.  He had a catheter in for about a week but is now removed.  He still has a hard time urinating.  Could this be related to the shingles?  Anything you could tell me would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Posted

      First, is he on any other medications? Gabapentin given for shingles can cause extreme fatigue. However, I strongly suggest you contact your physician. This is a rather extreme reaction to either the virus or some drugs. At his age a doctor needs to be advised, particularly as he's still having trouble urinating. There could be something else going on, or it could be expected but a physician needs to make that determination.

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    • Posted

      Well he has been on Flomax for about 2 weeks for his urinary problem but no other drugs for the shingles.  He takes pills for blood pressure and coumadin because he has an artificial heart valve...I've been giving him these pills as usual.  I've just called his primary care and we're going in today.  Thank you for your quick reply

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    • Posted

      I'm glad to have helped. I worked in the medical field for 30 years so I've picked up a few things, but hesitate to suggest too much. Many of the drugs given for the pain of shingles cause fatigue, but as he's not on them it's very good he's going on. Be as specific but complete as possible when talking to the doctor. Don't just say, he seems tired, say just what you told us. I also hope he allows you to be in with the doctor. It's very easy to mis-remember what doctors say, so we're much younger than your husband, but if there's a real health issue, hubby and I go to the doctor together. I also take brief notes for myself.

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    • Posted

      We're definitely going together and I'll be in there with him. My husband is an incredibly bright....very active 72 year old.  Up to this point he fishes practically every day and goes to the gym almost daily.  This is why this episode has set me on my ear.  Right now he's in bed either freezing cold or sweating.  We see the doctor this pm and hope to goodness he will give us some hope for recovery.  Thank you so much

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    • Posted

      Michelin,

      Your. husband's inability to urinate acutely is directly related to the Herpes Zoster-Shingles. He needs to see a urologist today. This is an emergency. Flomax is not the answer.

      Take him the A and E or ER.STAT. HIS mental status might be due to the backup of urine. High CREATININE!!!

      MERRY JULIANA

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    • Posted

      Michelin

      Please don't wait until this PM.....and do let me know how he is..urinary. retention is an emergency and so is acute mental change.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      I hope he's doing better and we were able to help. I imagine you're busy dealing with his health, but when you have a chance, if you're able, update us. I'm thinking of you two.

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    • Posted

      Babs and Merry,

      I can't tell you how much I appreciatre your spending time on our problems.  I took my husband to our primary care yesterday and all blood and urinalysis results are normal including his creatinine.  He is on a sulpha drug as he has a UTI.  When we got home from the Dr my husband passed out I guided him to the floor and lluckily kept him from hitting his head.  Of course I thought he was dead so dialed 911 immediately.  The paramedics examined him and also found all his vitals normal...they and I think that his lack of nutrition led to his passing out. Well ladies I'm completely stumped.  What started out as shingles 3 weeks ago, on Valtrex for a week, Foley catheter for 1.5 weeks, now a  UTI on a sulpha drug.  The problem is that he slept 14 hours last night,  I got him up and brought him downstairs where he flopped into a chair and fell asleep.  I'm preparing nutritious smoothies with lots of protein, ensure and other nutrient rich foods and demanding, nicely, that he eat and drink. Each day he gets a littler less responsive than the day before.  I have a walker that he used about 10 years ago that I'm making him use to begin moving around the house.  Needless to say I'm scared.  Could the virus that is in his body be the cause of his powerful need to sleep? Anything you can share with me will help.  Oh and he is urinating and not holding urine excessively.

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    • Posted

      Dear Michelin,

      What a difficult and terrifying situation. What concerns me is the change in mental status and the fainting. He might have Herpes encephalitis/meningitis. I still think he needs to be worked up at an emergency room. Individuals with Zoster-Shingles can feel exhaustion, fatigue, malaise etc, but not to this degree. Do you have difficulty waking him? Does he have a headache or stiff or sore neck?

      Where do you live?

      I am in the States

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      No Merry I can wake him just by touching or shaking. As I mentioned in my last post I've begun walking him around the house and he does it willingly but looks very forward to sitting back down rather quickly. I too am very concerned as this has gotten progressively worse over the week.  He does not have a stiff or sore neck or headache. We live in US as well on the East Coast.  I hear your suggestion about going to the ER but here that always takes hours and hours...he was first diagnosed in the ER on 1/23 and we were there for 10 hours.  Do you still think we should go to the ER and mention Herpes encephalitis/meningitis?

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    • Posted

      my son is getting over Shingles he is 17.  He has told me today that he feels sad and down and he felt like this before he got shigles.  I was extremely worried as his dad has bipolar, but after reading this I feel a bit better as I think it might be connected to his Shingles.  If you have anymore information I would be grateful.  Thank you
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    • Posted

      Dear Chuny,

      As he is 17 years old, I understand your worry about depression, bipolar disorder, and your son's expression of feeling sad and down. My former husband also has bipolar disorder, and a personality disorder. Since your son is at risk, just recovering from a major disease and his father is bipolar, I would take him to a psychologist, counseling center, etc that deals with adolescents. Remember, many teens feel sad and down, but I would never, ever dismiss it. Also, just because your son is down doesn't mean it is bipolar disorder. Please also validate your son's expression of feeling sad and down, which I am certain you do, as you are writing to this forum and encourage him to talk and open up. Please let me know how it goes. Sometimes you need to shop around for the right person who can help your son. I went through this with my 27 year old son, BTW. He has major depression, in remission, which was/is treated with an antidepressant. When we would we see a psychiatrist/psychologist/LCSW, I would ask him for his opinion of how it went. If he shook his head, we kept on searching. Obey your gut and his gut. They are always right!

      Please let me know how you are doing! I know how devastating this is for you and your son.

      All my best

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Merry, I've been reading your posts and they're so helpful.i hope you're still posting I came down with shingles about 4 weeks ago . I had had surgery and a weakened immune system with lots of anxiety and suddenly I had this rash on my forehead. My dermatologist knew exactly what it was ,prescribed the antibiotic (I was already on Gabapentin due to my surgery which was another nerve issue-sciatica) and sent me to an ophthalmologist right away because it was also on my eyelid. Well it's cleared up a lot but I still feel burning on my scalp and sometimes I feel sick with the chills,nausea and an upset stomach. Can this also be attributed to the shingles? I'm also embarrassed to ask but do you think its safe for me to now dye my hair since the rash has cleared?

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    • Posted

      The virus often can cause other symptoms, so it could be that, but it could also be a separte stomach virus. I did have nausea and threw up the second week of my shingles. But your symptoms are very common with various stomach aiiments. Sadly, you may know by now. 

      You mentioned your rash has cleared up, but you still have burning and your scalp, personally, I would hold off a bit. Do you go to a stylist or do you do it yourself?

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan,

      Sorry that you are suffering from Herpes Zoster Shingles. Also, I apologize for the delay in responding. I am driving a dear friend a large distance in the States currently.

      Often, the accompanying symptoms can persist, but I would see your physician if you are vomiting or unable to drink fluids, eat properly, becoming dehydrated, etc.

      Please delay in coloring your hair as you may set off an acute recurrence of Herpes Zoster Shingles or stimulate painful receptors on your scalp. I have seen advertised hair powders and hair "mascara" to allow individuals to increase time between hair coloring. I am by no means an expert on hair coloring, but have seen many patients with bad reactions to hair dye shortly after they were acutely ill.

      Has your vision in your eye been affected at all? If so, you certainly need close following up with the ophthalmologist.

      Do you normally have nausea or an upset stomach when you become sick, ie a fragile stomach? Do you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

      Your surgery was on your back? I hope it was successful and you are in a lot less pain and more functional than before. It certainly did not help getting shingles on top of it...

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Babs, Thanks for your reply.I don't think it's a stomach virus because it comes and goes and it's mainly the chills. For instance,this am. I feel fine. I do my hair myself but I'm afraid to start because my face still has some marks from where the scabs fell off even though my head feels clear. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Merry for your reply. I. can eat pretty well but will suddenly get the chills and just feel an overall sickness. This happens on and off. One day I'm fine and the next, not so good. 

      Luckily my vision hasn't been permanently impaired. There were days when I would feel that my vision was a little blurry but that seems to have passed, thank goodness. 

      The surgery was due to an extremely severe sciatica which, of course, was due to my back.The pain was L4-L5 going down my leg. Still feel some pain because they said that Nerves have a memory. I had to go to the ER twice to get shots of morphine. And finally the surgery. It's been a long recovery because then I got shingles-another nerve pain!! 

      I guess I'll have to put off dying my hair but my boyfriend says he likes seeing the gray. (Maybe he wants me to look as old as he is!) 

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    • Posted

      I forgot to add that I get easily tired. I've been attributing it to the surgery but could it be the shingles?

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    • Posted

      I had the exact same experience. Sharp pinpricks and hot flushes for a few weeks prior then thought I had strained a muscle in my shoulder. 2 days later - the dreaded rash. Caught it within 24 hours so had Acyclovir but they also told me to take pregabalin and tramadol for the pain. I thought I was slowly on the mend but then it hit me. No energy, severe post viral symptoms, zero appetite and I ended up in hospital with chest pain and breathing difficulties.

      My advice would be to get the anti itch creams, eat properly and eat good things that help your immunity. Try not to take the really strong stuff as some of the side effects make you feel worse.

      Best of health to you all. It's miserable. I'm not there yet myself but determined to get back to normal. Be kind to yourself and if you're tired- rest. You deserve it.

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry

      I had shingles begin on my upper eyelid moving to the brow and was hospitalized where I was given an injection each morning in my throat with a very large needle of an anesthetic like you get at a dentist. It was to cause the blood to rush to the nerve to bring healing. This was thirty years ago. I am 69 now and have fluid draining sometimes in my ears causing vertigo like symptoms and also into my chest causing laryngitis and coughing. I become weary easily and realize my life is more stressful as I

      Have had a son and twelve year old granddaughter return to live with us. I am being given nasal spray for the problem

      In the ear but am looking for something that can help as it takes months to subside. Any advice?

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    • Posted

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Let me think about and research the situation today. I won't forget about you, and know that I adore my patients!

      Are you in the UK?

      As I am 65, fall easily due to balance issues secondary to recurrent Herpes Zoster Shingles in my right ear and two strokes, I certainly empathize with you more than you know.

      You shall hear from me later when I can concentrate on you clinically.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Without examining you, I cannot say for certain. The best solution is to consult with an excellent ENT physician.

      That being said, you probably have allergies which cause a Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, thereby causing negative pressure in the tube that connects your throat to your ear. When people have fluid in their ear, and can cause vertigo, as the inner ear helps the brain maintain a sense of balance.

      It would also cause a post nasal drip down the back of your throat, which can precipitate coughing, etc.

      Which nasal spray have you been given?

      Can you look at the back of your throat and see pale red dots? Clear mucus the back of the throat? Do you have dark circles under your eyes? Is your nose stuffy?

      Do your ears, nose, throat itch or feel scratchy at times?

      I look forward to your answers!

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry. I tracked you down because I was told you were the guru of the site ❤️. I have a new post on shingles titled Acyclovir Side Effects in the Shingles forum. Can you please read my post and see if there’s any advice you can offer? Could really use the help! Thanks so much!! 
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    • Posted

      Got Shingrix 10 days ago. It made me terribly sick, very flu-like. Doc says I must NOT get the second shot. I am still tarrinly tired. How long til i am not tired anymore?
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    • Posted

      Betsy I am surprised to hear this. I too had the first shot and was told It will be similar to actually having shingles. I was also very sick but in no way am I not going thru with the second shot. This is supposed to be our only hope and it’s supposed to be very effective. I am curious why your dr told you this and wondering if you are located in the USA or the uk?
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I am a 69 year old male Christian Scientist. Last month I was suddenly admitted to Cedars Sinai for 9 days with Ramsay Humt And a secondary bacterial infection they called staf. Not a fun time. A month after my release I am still experiemcing major facial pain. Before this I was in incredible physical shape as a yacht racer and extreme skier. I also am mostly raw vegetarian  and take no supplements. Any thoughts on rebuilding my strenght and immune system so that I can return to my previous activities?
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    • Posted

      Hi Kristen

      It is very important to build up your immunity. That is what I did. So the aftereffects where not so bad. Taking pain killers or most medication decreases your immunity and with good food really it is hard to do as it's not in the food anymore with all the insecticides etc that is used.

      I take a product that has RiboCeine in it and I didn't suffer that much. I only got so sick because I took an antiviral drug. Wish i had not touched it. I would NEVER take a vaccine. As it makes it worse. Build up your own immunity is the best. All the best. If you want to know some more info please ask. Marjo

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    • Posted

      Dear Kristen,

      I am sorry for your suffering. I too get Ramsay Hunt Syndrome in my right ear. I have recurrent Ramsay Hunt every three to five weeks for the past twenty-one years and twice in my right eye...

      I literally feel your pain.

      Please Google High Lysine Low Arginine Diet and Herpes. Unfortunately, nuts, legumes, and chocolate are high in Arginine and can trigger a shingles episode.

      If you are low in Vitamin D, your immune system malfunctions. You can get your level checked. The level should be between 40-60. At some point, it is very difficult for an older individual to absorb vitamin D from his skin and/or fortified foods.

      You can contact "old lady and the shoe" in this forum to discuss other natural ways to improve your health.

      My suggestion would be to get the new vaccination, Shingrex and to take Vitamin D3 2000 IU daily, but as a Christian Scientist, you would be opposed to these methods.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi, you wrote that the fatigue usually lasts for two weeks? My mom still has fatigue and it's been months post shingles for her. Also, is there a connection between cognitive function and shingles? My mom really has trouble figuring things out now, and her memory is not as good as it was. I can tell she's changed, post shingles. Is there some kind of therapy that can be implemented? Maybe a visit to a neurologist? I need help with this. I can get her any help she needs.

      Thanks, Mark Carnahan

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    • Posted

      I have several comments regarding the fatigue and cognitive function. My first thought is that if she has PHN, Post Herpetic Neuralgia (Dang, I HATE this new update, it shows errors, that aren't errors) which is nerve damage and lingering problems like pain after shingles. Pain is wearing and causes fatigue, but can also affect your sleep. But more importantly, is she on any medication that cause this problem? Gabapentin/Neurontin is often prescribed. That drug and many others given for shingles pain cause numerous side effects, including fatigue, cognitive problems (can't track conversations, do simple math etc.) and memory loss-both short-term and long-term.

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    • Posted

      Hello,

      I am a 51 year old male who has had the misfortune of getting this nasty disease.

      For me it started with sharp spasming pain around my lower back and numbness from the hip around the back.

      As I have an enlarged lower socket on my lower spine, due to landing the wrong way on a trampoline when I was 8, I am no stranger to pain as it has gone out a few times and each time I have to have codeine phosphate for 14 days so I self treated with over the counter medication, as the pain level was just below what I get when my back only partially goes out.

      When the rash started, I guess you could say for someone who has never had any serious pain it would be quite debilitating.

      I had the rash go around my belly button to halfway around my back.

      I went to the doctor and was informed that I did indeed have shingles, but also a secondary infection on top. Was given antibiotics for that as I was advised that the shingles medication would not work as I had waited a week before going to the doctor, and that for the shingles medication to work, it has to be administered within the first three days of the symptoms.

      My problems are that I have not had any apatite or generally feeling tired since this started close to 4 weeks ago.

      My doctor has started me on Amitriptyline hc 10mg (ami) for the nerve pain, which I was advised I could be on for up to two years.

      I have had to take an alarming amount of over the counter pain medication, which I was scolded for by the doctor. Fortunately the number of paracetamol that I was taking has decreased to only really needing them when I want to attempt sleep.

      I have given up worrying about not sleeping as I have managed a few nights sleep in a row, so just force myself to lay down, so that at least I am giving my body rest.

      The numbness still has not gone away.

      About 4 months ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was started on enalapril maleate 5mg once a day, along with 1 100mg asprin and one 20mg Simvastatin.

      As this did not reduce the blood pressure to my doctors liking, a few weeks prior to getting shingles, my doctor also started me on 1mg doxazosin (half a tablet as these are 2mg tablets.) At the time of the change of medication, my doctor only wrote the script for the new tablets and forgot to tell me that I was also still meant to take the rest of them as well, so up to the point of getting shingles, I had only been taking the doxazosin for just on three months. From doing research the doxazosin is not normally used for blood pressure treatment.

      I am having to force myself to eat, as I can literally have 4 days go past and not eat anything.

      I am living in New Zealand.

      Regards,

      Christopher.

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    • Posted

      christopher i too am 50 and have gone through exactly what you are describing. i take an over the counter sleep aid and sometimes a prescribed sleep aid sleep is so important when you have shingles. its all about rest and i hate to say it, but its also about medication. i take antivirals whenever i feel sick and i had the two shot vaccine, shingrix. have you looked into that?

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    • Posted

      With regards to shots, whenever I had the flu shots as a child, I always got what was around far worse than when I said no to the shots.

      From my understanding the shingles vaccine is still fairly new, and I hate taking medication of any kind. I hate the fact that I am taking 5 pills a day.

      For me, I have a very high resistance to sleeping medication due to a prolonged bout of insomnia some years ago.

      I am still getting this crazy need to scratch where the shingles was. I now have little lumps on the skin. I have not scratched them once, though that was tough.

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    • Posted

      i had the vaccine and highly recommend it. i suffered for 20 yrs with shingles to the point i would miss a week or more of work. the vaccine def made a bid difference and i highly recommend it

      Report Reply

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