Going to work

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I was diagnosed with shingles last Thursday. My gp put me on anti virals for 7 days. It's pretty painful but doesn't seem to have spread. Is a week's course enough? He also told me to carry on working... I have to say I've felt so tired and in a fair amount of pain I have been off sick since last Thursday.

I'm a recovery worker in the community for young people with psychosis. I'm out and about on visits a lot and rushing around most days. It can be stressful some days too.

Is a week long enough to rest or should I go back to work Thursday? Need some guidance... the pain hasn't got any better if anything it's got worse since I was diagnosed. I'm also concerned I haven't been prescribed a long enough course of anti virals. I wasn't happy with my gp s attitude towards this when I saw him.

Any advice gratefully received.

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  • Posted


    I have had shingles for nearly five weeks now and I too was given the anti vir

    als for seven days.

    I was told by the chemist to take them as quick as I could to avoid the spots but alas the rash appeared. I can honestly say the rash has not been a problem but the pain has been horrendous and like yourself it isn't easing off any.

    If I was you I would continue to take time off till you feel better in the end the gp doesn't have the pain.

    I am back at work as a cleaner and as much as I'm right handed and all my pain is tothe left when I have finished I have incredible pain. I don't get paid if off my work but if in your job you are still getting a wage I would continue to take the time off to see if resting would help.

    Hope you feel better soon . Heather x

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    • Posted

      As far as I know, 7 days of antivirals is the usual treatment to stop the virus replicating. The dosage will vary depending on which drug you are taking - a full course of Acyclovir 800mg would be 1 tablet 5 times a day, spaced out. When I tried taking 400 mg it didn't do the trick so I needed to follow that up with another course at the higher strength. Yes, you should rest as much as you can and take painkillers for the horrible nerve pains which unfortunately last for a long time. I find codeine and paracetamol combined are the only thing that work for me but others take various drugs prescribed by the doc which are more heavy duty. Gabeprentin comes to mind. So sorry you have an unsympathetic doctor - that makes things more difficult.

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  • Posted

    Like many doctors, yours doesn't seem to know much about shingles.  You need to rest, rest, rest!  The pain is horrible as all of us on this website can attest. You probably need another round of meds but I'm not the expert on that.  You do need to avoid stress as much as you can.  The time of recovery varies widely but activity seems to aggravate the condition.  I've been told that emu cream can be very helpful.

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  • Posted

    It sounds like you're on a typical course of meds, so that should be OK. The important thing is getting them soon enough. You need them within the first 3 days of the symptoms developing, or they're not as effective. It's really good news that rash hasn't spread. My husband got Shingles twice in a few months (while caring for me) with only a couple of spots and avoided the pain. I didn't get the meds soon enough, so I was in pretty bad shape.I'm still dealing with the pain after the shingles itself has cleared up (called PHN).

    Here are some important things to remember. You are SICK! The virus has multiple symptoms, the rash is just one outward sign of it. The virus causes pain, fatigue, abdominal problems such as nausea or bowel issues, and other, odd symptoms.Many, including doctors, just think of shingles as The Rash, no it's much more than that. If the pain is worse, ask for something to deal with it. It can help you heal more quickly as you rest and avoid stress and whatever makes the pain worse. Where is your shingles? That will make it easier to give good advice.

    The typical treatment consists of:

    1) the anti-virals such as Valtrex.

     2) for pain either Neurontin (Gabapentin) or Lyrica are prescribed. Both affect the brain by disrupting the pain signalsl. Often you need to slowly increase the meds until you find the right level to help. They can have nasty and frustrating side effects, but for some (like me) the pain was so bad, it was the only way.

    3) rest and avoiding increasing the pain. Mine's in my back and chest, so I avoid lifting, bending and twisting. In earlier stages, sitting too long. You do NOT want to aggravate the nerves more. I was off for two months.

    4) pain cream or patches either prescription or OTC. Aspercreme with 4% Lidocaine either in patches, lotion or roll-on is helpful.

    I also use extra-strength Tylenol and a prescription NSAID I've been on for years. There are other treatments or aids such as distracting yourself (Yes, it IS important to not focus too much on the pain), showers, heat or cool packs or prescription pain drugs.

    You need to be your own advocate and learn as much (despite how discouraging it is) as many doctors aren't familiar with it. These forums area very good sources of info.  Take care, we're here.


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    • Posted

      Thanks that's very helpful I am very tired all the time. I have pain on my right side all down my back and my stomach. I've got a small blistered rash by my belly button. I have a 7 day course of Aciclovir, 800mg 5 times a day. My last dose is today.

      Rash hasn't spread but pain is worse and fatigue is bad. If I go out or walk anywhere the pain gets worse.

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  • Posted

    Dear, I hate to be the bearer of, well you  know. but it could be a few weeks (or more) before you're done with this. Please call the doctor and ask about Gabapentin. I resisted because of the side effects, but it does help the pain. Everyone grapples between "powering through" or taking sick time. The more you push, the more likely the condition will linger. You are NOT playing possum, you're sick. So only you can decide.

    The virus follows a dermatone, meaning the nerve and it's path. Mine is at the bra line, so it's my back and chest. In the beginning, it may feel like everything hurts, it's hard to tell what to do to avoid it. Also, even tho the pain is SUPPOSED to follow that larger nerve, you can also get pain in surrounding areas. My pain was supposed to be on my left side, but often the pain followed the nerve to the right side too. I guess nobody explained to it how it's supposed to work.

    My doctor would ask me how to describe my pain on a 1-10 scale. For about a 3 day stretch, it was often between 7-9. That's when he kept increasing the Gab, I got more foggy from the meds, but after two-three weeks it was down to 6-8, and then it slowly improved, But I'm at 9 months, and as I said now have Post Herpetic Neuropathy, which means that after the shingles cleared up, the nerves are damaged. My pain is less than it was, but I'm still on a lot of meds.

    So my doctor said, do NOT do anything to make the pain worse (such as lifting etc.) He believes you need to rest and allow the nerves to heal and not get aggravated. BTW, when I say "lift" I mean, I couldn't raise a class without pain, so I used a straw, I couldn't (and still have trouble with) lean towards the mirror to put on make-up. You get the idea. So trying to work through this, which I did for about two weeks, is NOT a good idea.

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