Help! I have shingles!

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On Friday July 21st, I started having some pain in my left upper back and the left side of my chest. Saturday, it was way worse. Nothing seemed to ease the pain. Then, exactly a week later on Friday, July 28th, I discovered a rash on my left chest and the middle of my back. After some internet investigation, I figured out that it's shingles. I went to the Dr at 2pm, and she confirmed. She prescribed oral valtrex, and topical acyclovir. I stated them both that night. So, I started meds 1 week after pain started, and 24 hrs after rash appeared. It's now been 11 days since pain started, and 4 since rash appeared. I'm still in a ton of pain and discomfort. I see a lot of sites say the disease typically lasts 3-5 weeks. Is that from when the pain starts, or the rash? How long will the rash typically last? It's on my back and chest which makes it impossible to get comfortable in any position. Plus, the tape I have to use, to keep the rash covered with gauze, is causing a bad reaction on my skin. It's red and itches or hurts where the tape is. I just need some relief. It seems like there's no end in site. My whole summer is going to be ruined.

Btw, I'm only 38, but I have chronic Lyme disease.

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  • Posted

    I have had shingles for Four weeks.

    Started off with pain in my shoulder blade going under my arm and round to the front.I too was put on the meds before the rash appeared. The thing is the rash was nothing but the pain is unbearable and I have to work and I'm right handed and all the pain is on my left side and when I finish work it is horrendous. The feeling I get is that when you touch the infected area it feels quite numb to the touch obviously this is the nerve endings. My rash is more or less away.

    I know this doesn't give you much comfort but I hope things get better for you soon.

    Don't know where you are but I'm in Scotland and I've been telling everyone I know who has an elderly relative please get the vaccine which is available as this is something you don't want an elderly relative to deal with

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  • Posted

    I didn't cover my rash.  I certainly wouldn't want tape around it as this would just aggravate it more, in my opinion.  I was told that emu cream helped a lot by someone who has just had an attack.  The length of the attack varies from one person to another.  The pain for most of us is much worse than the rash.  Rest is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Some others here will suggest diet changes.  

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  • Posted

    I am so sorry! Your timeline and experience is almost to the date exactly the way mine started 3 years ago. It took about 2 weeks for my rash to go away, and unfortunately the pain eased only a bit. A month later I went back to the dr due to the pain. She put me on gladentropin and that did give me some relief. I have been fighting shingles symptoms ever since!!! The good news is I am off all medications and I am managing it all with diet and supplements. I will let you in on my regimen if you are interested. Take care
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  • Posted

    I am not an expert by any stretch.  It seems you are doing all that you can to address the shingles.  I used oatmeal paste to ease the skin irritation.  I also used a lidocaine cream.  I did not dress my rash because it would have caused irritation and pain.  I took a lysine supplement which seemed to help but the nurse said it was just a placebo effect.  There are some great people on this forum that helped my through it.  My shingles onset was also in the summer so I avoided sunlight. Hang in there!
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  • Posted

    Hi Purplepraise,

    Your shingles rash is in exactly the same place that mine was. First, please try to stay calm. Stress is a trigger for shingles and for pain. The shingles blisters/rash can last two to six weeks. Everyone reacts differently to this disease. What works to ease pain for some, may not work for others. We all want shingles to go away quickly but unfortunately some of the symptoms may last for months. The blistering rash doesn't usually last long. However,

    if you feel pain, have lack of energy and are tired you should not resume your daily activities. 

    As I have learned the hard way, no one should power through shingles and nerve pain. Even though your summer may be ruined, your long term health is what matters most. If you take time off from work, rest, try to avoid stress, eat a healty diet and try not to be anxious you may be able to avoid long term complications like PHN. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying.

      What is PHN?

      My body has went haywire in the past few weeks painful shingles as well as digestive problems which are new to me , so it's my body that is giving me stress and the fact that nobody seems to care how bloody miserable this is making me.

      I must let you know that I have clinical depression and anxiety prior to ever having shingles, so it's hard for me not to worry.

      Many Thanks again I hope this reply finds you well. Heather x

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    • Posted

      PHN = postherpetic neuralgia.  Ranges from very mild (or none at all) to severe nerve sensations (tingling, pain, irritation).  In my case, there were moments of pain in the affected area (around the neck and face as well as just behind the ear) but I did not take anything for it.  I, too, am very anxious but decided I would deal with the PHN for what it was-pain.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I am not advocating taking it head on.  There is no badge to be earned here.  Seek professional help, if needed.  I hope this helps.
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