First shingles attack

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I'm a 49 year old male and at the beginning of December this year I came down with shingles. The rash appeared on one side, areas effected were upper arm, shoulder and armpit and I hadn't noticed it until 4 days after the pain started. I've been controlling the pain with 1000mg paracetemol, 200mg ibuprofen and when the pain was bad codeine phosphate. Side effects were feeling cold, sweating on mild exertion, tiredness and just generally feeling unwell / uncomfortable.

With shingles is it possible there is a preamble where one feels unwell for weeks before the rash and pain appears e.g. feeling like you have a chest infection without the outward symptoms of a typical chest infection.

I also had had a UTI infection about 3 weeks previous to the shingles appearing so could this also be a symptom of shingles?

Rash has almost now gone after nearly 3 weeks and the pain seems to be subsiding but slowly. Is this normal for it to take so long for the pain to go and is it a gradual process? I guess I'm just worried I will be left with residual pain long term.

I'm normally fit and healthy but it seems my immune system has taken a bit of a battering and probably due to recent worry and stress.

Input would be appreciated.

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  • Posted

    Hi there about five years ago I felt very unwell for a few weeks thought I had flu coming, my grandsons had chicken pox at the time but I stayed away from them as I had never had it....I suddenly got the most immense pain in my neck that radiated to my shoulder blade around my left arm like ay snake and into my little finger and finger next to it, and my elbow, then it went into my chest, I can honestly say I have never had pain like it in my life, I have had four children anfpd childbirth was easy in comparison..

    this pain I obviously went to doctor with, they said I must have injured my neck without knowing it is a nerve...ok.....so gave me video e phosphate paracetamol...the pain got a lot worse though I don't know how...I ended up after a bout six weeks crying in agony at physio, they tried everything even accupuncture.  Another few weeks on, I ended up in our hospital on a morohine drip on a massive dose, all big pain killers, ones I wasn't allergic to, and gaberpentine,   As soon as morphine started to wear off I was vomiting with the pain, then the following day I came out in a line of spots, exactly following where the worst pains were coming from I was immediately rushed into quarantine as they said it wS shingles...I spent two weeks in quarantine, another fir weeks in and out of hospital while they tried to control the pain....honestly I still have awful nightmares about it, I felt so alone....

    five years on, I still suffer from pains in that part of my neck and arm and hand , it flares up accompanied by chest pains, it's like its a whole long nerve it attacked from my head down , when it's really painful, I can't breath properly, it's horrid.   

    So you have my sympathy and understanding I hope you feel better soon regards I was 55 at the time 

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    • Posted

      Wow so you believe in your case the shingles had flared up months before the rash appeared. I'm beginning to suspect myself that instead of 3 separate bouts of illness I've actually had one! That being the shingles which was the cause of the UTI and initial feeling of a cold coming on and all this several weeks before the obvious shingles symptoms.

      To build my immune system I'll be starting regular long walks and eating healthier. 

      Many thanks for your email and seasons greetings smile

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    • Posted

      Your very welcome, it's awful when you feel on your own with an illness, it's great to see someone else has had similar symptons,  well not great someone else is ill...you know what I mean, it's kind of reassuring,  I certainly do think it was all connected,  seasons greeting to you too, I have found by the way that arnica cream works really well on the painful areas when it flares up x

       

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  • Posted

    Dear Shingles friend;

    I don't know if you have been able to read any of my other responses; but, for anyone new out there, here goes.

    I have had Shingles outbreaks since I was 20. First, once a year. Then, about 8 years ago, BOOM, every few months, then down to every month. Now I am on medication for genital herpes that curbs shingles outbreaks, Valtrex or Valcyclovir.

    To get to your questions, I hope to answer them all from my Many experiences, although I am not a medical professional. I have worked in a cancer research hospital as a medical assistant; but, that doesn't apply to this. My symptoms have not always been in the same order; but, I have had stomach virus-like symptoms along with diarrhea, sweats, a low grade fever, and I ALMOST ALWAYS, get the feeling of heaviness in my chest, like pneumonia. I feel like I have an upper respiratory infection, an now have scar tissue on my left lung.We don't know for sure why, and that doesn't mean this will happen to everyone with shingles; but, I'm surprised that you have experienced this,too. The pain can linger; but , if this is your first bout, I would say after its cleared up, 6 months to a year of Minimal twinges is at most, all you should experience. That is the worst case scenario. Remember minimal twinges. The actual pain, depending on how large the rash and scabbing, after scabs are gone, 4 weeks is still possible.

    If I had had the possibility of having the vaccination available a long time ago, I would of gotten it. I have spoken to the manufacturer of the vaccination, and they say for people with repeat shingles, there have been no studies done. They say it will not prevent me from getting it again; but, it might reduce the problems that come with shingles. I still get outbreaks about once or twice a year; but, I haven't gotten the vaccination. I double up on my medication for outbreaks. I have even had an outbreak after getting a flu shot,last year. If I were someone just starting out with shingles, I would get the vaccination as soon as I was over my bout. Anything to prevent a lifetime of shingles, do it.

    If you have any other questions, just let me know.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      a low grade fever, and I ALMOST ALWAYS, get the feeling of heaviness in my chest, like pneumonia. I feel like I have an upper respiratory infection.

      Yes this is how I've felt for 4 weeks before the shingles showed itself and the more messages I read on here the more I'm convinced its all linked to herpes zoster.

      I do plan on getting the vaccination asap. And thanks for putting my mind to rest regarding the lingering pain.

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  • Posted

    Hi 

    it can go on for six weeks or some times more .did you get a ativires tablets from your doctor you should take this for five days taking five tablets a day .my did take 7 weeks till I was better .did you have a flu jab before you came down with it ? Just asking that as it seems a lot of people seem to come down with this after the flu jab .not that the doctors would say that got nothing to do with it .hope you feel better soon .

    julie

    julie .

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  • Posted

    As all shingles events are different, I can only report that I had no warning at all for any of my four events.  I never feel unwell and did not prior to these events.  It is not at all unusual for the pain to last for a very long time.  My first lasted about four months, June to September 2002.  My last one (May to July 2014) was sixty-one days from start to finish.  Any scars will always be there and you might have post-herpatic neuralgia ~ internal pain throughout the site of the shingles, from back to front.  I still have pain from my first event over twelve years ago.  In addition, my skin is totally numb at all four locations ~ no response to touch at all.  Worry and stress may increase the chances for some people, although my retired life is very low-key and I am not a high-strung person.  Only discussion panels like this will assist sufferers in their quest to find causes.  Good luck in your recovery ~ Susan
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    • Posted

      My rash has practically gone. There is numbness which I'm not bothered about and the pain is lessening but slowly and am getting by on supermarket pain killers. Still feeling chills but this may be down to a small area of rash that was on my chest. Definitely improving and fingers crossed.
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  • Posted

    When ur healed, remember, you might want to consider the vaccination. I don't wish on you, my lifetime of shingles. Even if it isn't a sure thing, your chances have got to be better, it being ur first bout. I'm glad ur feeling better.
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  • Posted

    I believe you have to wait for your lesions to clear up, not the scarring, if you have any. I suggest you call your pharmacist from the number on any script you have and double check with them. That's where you can get. the vaccination.

    For any getting a flu vaccination, they give a free vaccination to a child in a 3rd world country, if you get a flu vaccination at Walgreens. They're not even my pharmacy. All major pharmacies have the shingles virus vaccination, also.

    Keep up the good work!

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  • Posted

    I am a 57 yr. old female.  I thought I had pulled a muscle and went to a walk in clinic.  The dr. gave me a muscle relaxer and prednisone.  I thought I had a hernia because it was very painful.  5 days later the rash appeared.  Mine was so bad that it started around my naval. completely on my right side and covered 1/2 of my back from my buttocks to my bra strap.  Within days it got increasingly worse with huge blisters that started to burst.  That was nothing for what came after.  Once the rash started to dry up about a week later, out of the blue I got this intense pain that wasn't easing up.  I went to the emergency room (e.r.) and was crying because it was so bad.  The e.r. dr. gave me a shot of morphine and sent me home with a prescription of neurontin 100 mg 3x daily and the anti-viral med. Valtrex.  Naturally, I was out of it the rest of the day, but the pain came back the next day.  I suffered so bad that my husband was going to take me to the mental hospital becasue I couldn't stop crying.  Nobody understood.  This went on for the entire day (Saturday) with no relief.  By 4:00 am Sunday morning, I couldn't take it anymore.  Back to the e.r. where the dr. gave me a shot of dilaudid (supposedly stronger than morphine) and at least sent me home with a prescription of dilaudid 2 mgs.  As usual the next day the injection wore off and the pain was back with a vengence.  Fortunately, I had a dr. appt. in the afternoon with my family dr.  He did indicate that it was one of the worst cases he'd ever seen and suspected that the prednisone exasterbated it and that was why I had such a sever case.  I BEGGED him to put me in the hospital because it was literally unbearable pain.  I, too, gave birth to 2 kids and that was nothing compared to this.  My dr. looked at my medications ( I brought them) and he said I didn't need to go into the hospital, the e.r. just didn't give me right dosage of meds.  He up'd the dilaudid to 4 mgs. and up'd the neurontin from 100 mgs. 3x daily to 600 mgs 3x daily.  I still have pain and the rash is nearly gone.  I have numbness and now the itching has begun.  The whole time I had the rash, I had no itch.  Now I itch a lot, but can't even feel my skin to scratch.  The only way I can deal with the itch is to slap the area several times until it goes away.  I will admit with the 4 mgs of dilaudid and the neurontin, I still have pain 24/7 but it's probably 50% less than before providing I do not miss a dose or wait longer than 6 hours.  I have a follow-up with my dr. tomorrow and hope that he'll continue with these pain meds or I'll die.  I'll just end back up in the e.r. otherwise.  My initial pain without the rash started January 4.  The rash started on January 9.  the intense pain didn't begin until around January 16, and here it is January 28 and I'm still in pain.  I'm praying I won't have that PHN forever  Anyway, God bless and I hope you're out of pain soon.
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    • Posted

      Well compared to what you and other people have suffered my shingles was small fry. I'm glad to say I'm recovered, well acutally the numbness is practically gone as is the rash with the pain being the first thing to subside. I would say its taken a month to get over the shingles pretty much. What I do notice 2 months after the symptoms appearing is that after I come back from a jog I'm getting a strange sensation/weakness in my chest just like when I had the shingles so I guess I'm still not 100%. The nerves are still sensitive.

      I've come to the conclusion now that this might not have been my first experience of shingles. These weird sensations around my chest area that I have experienced in the past generally when I've had cold symptoms and past experiences of numbness near my armpit make me suspect I've had bouts of shingles in the past without the pain and or rash. Very strange I know but it does explain a few things.

      I will definitely be looking to get vaccination once I've had a 12 month period of no symptoms. What sort of shocks me is the lack of progress with treating shingles which I remember my mother having back in the late 70s.

      I hope you will be starting to feel better over the next few weeks, there is light at the end of the tunnel so hang in there. All the best smile

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