I don't know if I'm contagious or not??

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I am a 25 year old male. This is my 2nd time having shingles in the past 7 years, which isn't bad reading others experiences. I started noticing the rash after I accidentally scratched it at work. I went to the bathroom and immediately noticed what it was. The rash started as very little dots onthe side of my head just to the right of my eye but it hasn't spread to my eye.  It was in full effect by Saturday evening. I couldn't get to my doctors so I went to the urgent care to get prescribed Valtrex. Sunday I had headache, pain, swollen on side of head and right lymphnode. Saw my doctor Monday and she confirmed it was for sure a common case of shingles. She didn't seem too worried and said I will be good once the blisters lose fluid and scab over.

So i covered the spot Friday night. I had the blisters Saturday evening, started Valtrex on Saturday evening and receive cream on Monday. Wednesday (today) in the morning my bandaid had no fluid on it and it seems the blisters are scabbing? They are reddish/dark red/brown. And my swelling is starting to go down. I still have fatigue but I'm totally paranoid about getting "re-infected" if that's possible and ecspecially triggering or infecting my wife. So I decided to start washing all my/her bedding today (Wednesday) and on Monday I essentially "quarantined" my self in the spare bedroom hahaha

Should I have waited a little longer to clean and disenfect everything or am I just being really paranoid about this?? I would feel terrible if my wife/co workers/ family/ friends got it. 

It's been about5 days of having it you think I'm still contagious???

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  • Posted

    Don’t worry! You can’t give anyone shingles. There is a slight chance you could give someone chicken pox if they came in contact with open lesions. Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus that remains dormant in your body. Some people sadly get them multiple times a year. My hubby had them three times in 6 months, I’d say caused by the stress of caring for me and my PHN. Luckily, he got Valtrex immediately every time and had no problems.

     I hope yours clears up quickly as I’ve heard that facial infections can be the  worse.

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    • Posted

      Interesting I thought it was something like that because I Monday my doctor said I could return to work on Tuesday if I feel up to it, wash my hands here and there and keep it covered at all times. She said your good if you aren't wiping your head all over things hahaha. She added a lot of people had chicken pox or have had the vaccine so just be cautious. 

      I guess what got me into this paranoia of infecting others was a co worker of mine is out with shingles on Monday. How does that work?? Haha

      Maybe a silly question but can I cause another episode of blisters in I come in contact with the fuilid I may have left behind at some point during this week??

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    • Posted

      Tyler,

      Not a silly question at all...

      The way Shingles works is the virus lays dormant on the nerve root of your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord.) The subsequent pain and rash, (vesicle-blisters) only come from the nerve root. You cannot reinfect yourself with the fluid from the vesicle-blisters. Only a person naive to chickenpox ( one never having had the disease) can contract chickenpox, but not Shingles.

      A better question is, perhaps your place of employment is stressful....????

      I hope you are not in too much pain.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Ironically, where I worked someone also got shingles and some (ignorant) people did wonder. My boss told me to stop talking about shingles! PLEASE be careful with your health, as you're sicker than you realize. The rash is just an outward sign of the battle going on inside. The best thing is rest, as if you push yourself, you can over-extend yourself and take MUCH longer to heal. I do believe that's why I have PHN in my chest and back now--I eventually realized I couldn't work, stopped for two months, but by then, the damage was done. You can NOT power thru this. Would you power thru a 103 degree fever? A surgery? Of course not, but body needs to be allowed to heal. Shingles can cause nausea, fatigue, confusion, headaches and possibly in your case light sensitivity.  It seems we all tend to be in denial and think that this can be "cured" in a couple of days.

      However, I hope you're like my hubby's been, and once the Valtrex was in him, he only had minimal side effects of the shingles. (That lucky dog!!)

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    • Posted

      My blisters are starting to get scabs but I still have fatigue and aches. I totally agree with you about rest and don't try a bunch of activities when you think you're alright. Thank you

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  • Posted

    Hi Tyler!

    Babs is correct re how Shingles is not transmitted, but chickenpox can be.

    If someone has never had chicken pox, they can indeed get chicken pox from your lesions only if the lesions are not covered. This becomes dangerous if a woman is pregnant for her newborn baby or a person who is immunocompromised. If your wife had chickenpox, I wouldn't worry at all. Your clinician should have told you to cover your lesions with a dressing until they had all scabbed over. Usually, in your age group, the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine had just started being offered in the States.

    Again, once all the vesicle-blisters have scabbed over, you are no longer contagious.

    I am a Nurse Practitioner in the States and have had Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks for the past twenty-one years and twice in my right eye.

    Best Regards

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thank you, you've put my mind at ease. I've kept the bilsters covers as good as I can. Only removing it to shower and change bandage and put more cream on it. I've kept it covered since Friday night when I started seeing the beginnings of the blisters.

      Thanks

      Tyler

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