I have 'shingles' for days now and it's getting worse(?)

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Good day!

I am suffering from shingles on my left neck since Aug.27, 2017 and as of now it's getting worse. On the first day, small number of blisters are appearing. I thought it was just another insect bite so I shook it off. But days after, it started to grow in numbers. I already had my chickenpox 6-7 years ago and the doctor said it would reappear (just like what have happened now) and I'm already suffering to it.

The first two days, I can observe a clear-like substance inside on it. But right now the color changed into a somewhat yellowish/greenish. The pain is sometimes tolerable and sometimes I feel like throwing tantrums (well not necessarily).

My doctor prescribed Aciclovir capsules (800mg) and Zovirax cream. And I couldn't really tell if the medication is really working or my shingles are getting worse.

My concerns are:

How many days or weeks do this viral infection(Is it?) normally lasts?

What are the foods to eat and what not to eat?

If I go to the office after a week, will I still spread the virus? Is it really contagious?

Your help/answers would be very much appreciated.

Kent smile

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Kent!

    I am so sorry you are going through this disease.

    First, the lancinating pain usually intensifies the first two to three weeks before it lessens. The vesicles-blisters come out in crops or waves over a period of five days. The fluid is clear, then turns darker. Once all the vesicles have scabbed over, you are no longer considered contagious.

    Only if you can cover all the vesicles-blisters should you expose the public.

    I would suggest that you obtain an Opioid analgesic for the pain before the weekend starts.

    The entire disease process can take up to one month, barring any complications. The most dreaded complication is Post Herpetic Neuralgia PHN. If you do not achieve excellent pain control within the first month, the risk of developing Post Herpetic Neuralgia and/ or recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles is much higher

    Accompanying symptoms of Herpes Zoster Shingles include the following: headache, malaise, aches and pains, chills and sweating, and fatigue and exhaustion. The fatigue and exhaustion can continue for months after the rash and pain disappear. You cannot power through this disease. You need to rest and sleep.

    Regarding the diet, there is no special diet, but to prevent recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles, Google Herpes and follow high Lysine low Arginine diet. Arginine triggers the varicella Herpes virus and Lysine prevents it. I am not a fanatic regarding diet, but eat a Mediterranean diet, high Lysine low Arginine diet, and this has helped me regarding recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles.

    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 twentyone years and twice in my eye.

    Please let me know how you are doing.

    Best Wishes.

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hello Nurse Merry!

      Thank you for all these information. I'll google those foods and I'll make sure to follow the diet. I do feel those symptoms and have been resting well, too. And I guess I'll just cross my fingers hoping I wouldn't suffer much if ever I'll develop PHN.

      I'll keep you in touch on the situation of my shingles if it gets better or not in the next few days.

      Cheers!

      Kent smile

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  • Posted

    My pleasure, Kent!

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Good day Nurse Merry!

      As of Sept. 5, 2017, my shingles started to scab. And as of now, Sept. 7, 2017, the scabs are starting to come off slowly. And based on my doctor's med certificate, I could report tomorrow (Sept. 8, 2017) in the office.

      My concerns are:

      1) Am I now allowed to eat those foods on which I am not able to during before when my shingles have not scabbed? (I just forgot to ask my doctor when I got in her office because I was in a hurry.)

      2) About the PHN, is there a chance i could still l develop that? If yes, what are the earlier symptoms and what should I do about it?

      Your response would be very much appreciated.

      Thanks!

      Fond regards,

      Kent smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Kent,

    If all the vesicles-blisters have scabbed over, you are no longer considered contagious. Some people at work will ask less questions if you cover up the lesions with a bandaids or dressing if you still have any scabs.

    Are you having any pain or tenderness at the area of the rash? Are you taking any analgesics?

    May I ask your age?

    I would need these three answers to respond to your question regarding the development of Post Herpetic Neuralgia.

    Regarding the high Lysine low Arginine diet. It is to prevent recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles. It has been life altering for those affected by recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles. You can eat whatever you wish, but I avoid foods with a high Arginine content. Remember, it is the ratio of Lysine to Arginine that counts.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hello Nurse Merry!

      The pain on the affected area occured during when the blisters have not scabbed. But as of now, I sense no pain. I once took an analgesic (Pregabalin) and this was also when the blisters have not yet scabbed and I am 21 years old.

      And about the diet, sadly all the foods (donut, cakes, bread) I wanted to eat has higher level of Arginine than of Lysine.

      Anyway, I hope the information above would help.

      Thanks!

      Fond regards,

      Kent smile

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    • Posted

      Hi Kent,

      As you are young, you are no longer experiencing pain, and it is 12 days from onset of the symptoms, I doubt that you will experience Post Herpetic Neuralgia.

      Regarding foods to avoid, the high Lysine low Arginine diet might be a goal of yours as it might certainly help to avoid a recurrent episode of Herpes Zoster Shingles.

      If you are still feeling fatigue and exhaustion, you might stay home a few more days. I do not know how labor intensive or stressful your line of work is, but often stress triggers Shingles.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hello Nurse Merry,

      Thank you for the information stated above. I am feeling good right now and my work isn't that intense. Sometimes I do stressed out but I'll try my best not to and as of the moment I'll stick to my diet plan.

      And there are things I want to clarify also:

      1) Will my shingles show up again any time in the future?

      2) Am I going to continue the diet plan throughout my lifetime?

      Thanks!

      Best regards,

      Kent smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Kent,

    Here are the fods you should include in your diet

    Foods to Include:

    During a shingles outbreak, it's a good idea to add foods to your diet that have a higher ratio of lysine to arginine. These include fish, poultry, beef, lamb, brewer’s yeast, and most fruits and vegetables except peas. In addition, extra vitamin C in your diet can help boost your immunity and shorten an outbreak. Be sure to incorporate plenty of citrus fruits, pineapple, mango, leafy greens, avocados, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, papaya, and plentiful of beans into your meals, both to prevent shingles outbreaks and to help lessen their severity.

    Sample Menu: You don't have to deprive yourself during a shingles outbreak; simply create a menu that minimizes arginine-rich foods. For foods with more lysine than arginine, try plain, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh pineapple for your morning meal. A good lunch option would be a salad of leafy greens topped with tuna or grilled chicken breast and chopped veggies. For your dinner, broil salmon or cod and serve with steamed vegetables. A meatless meal could be a bowl of black bean soup with sliced avocado. For snacks, try dried fruit such as figs or apricots, celery sticks stuffed with goat cheese, or a smoothie made with low-fat milk, mango and whey protein.

    Recipe for essential oils: (I have tried this one and has worked great!)

    In 30 ml oil (Coconut, olive or almond), add

    8 drops of teat tree oil

    6 drops of lavender oil

    Few drops of Eucalyptus oil

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  • Posted

    Please avoid these food

    All Nuts and seeds

    Soy foods

    Chocolate

    Oats

    Whole-wheat and white 'our

    Wheat germ

    Coconut

    Carob

    Gelatin

    Sugary foods and beverage

    Blueberries

    Blackberries

    Elderberries

    Strawberries

    Grapes

    Tomatoes

    Caffein

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  • Posted

    First of all shingles are not contagious to anyone who has had chickenpox. It would br contagious only if fluid is touched from a blister and to a person who has never had chickenpox and they could get chicken pox not shingles. The duration is different for everyone. Some re cooperate in two-four weeks. Symptoms vary from person to person. I have a severe case around my lower back, belly, groin and thigh. Mine started July 20 and still have them as of Sept 11. The wicked nerve pain is gone but I still suffer fro lower back ache and discomfort in my groin and leg when walking too much. Rash still there but faded. On and off have burning pain in rash area. I took ketorolak for a few days but that made me sleepy. Then adasol 30 which helped but they constipated me. Now I take xstrenth Tylenol.  I am using solarcaine with aloe Vera when needed for burning.  Lots of rest is the key to recovery.  Hope this helps. 
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