Is there a reason to go to a doctor?

Posted , 7 users are following.

I have diagnosed myself with shingles. I started out with achy parts(eventually realized all of this on my left side) then I thought I was getting the flu or strep throat. Finally I ended up with a rash on my waist, left side and swollen lymph node in my left groin. In general I haven't felt awful, just like I'm trying to really come down with something but never do. Anyway, is there any reason to go to a doctor? I'm doing fine treating myself and dealing with the symptoms so I can't imagine what else can be done other than wait it out.  

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  • Posted

    Sorry, left out a few things that may be relevant. I am 51 and first noticed the rash over a week ago. So from what info I have gathered starting an antiviral needs to be in the first 3-4 days. 
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    • Posted

      I would suggest yes.

      As you note, you should be on antivirals ASAP after the first symptoms emerge so as to shorten the duration and reduce the severity. However, it may help even at this late stage and your doctor will advise.

      You may also need help with pain, which can be acute.

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  • Posted

    Annette,

    You didn't mention a time frame, but antivirals should be started within three days of onset of the rash. Also, many individuals can have agonizing excruciating burning lancinating pain underneath the rash. The pain may not appear immediately, however.

    You did not mention your age or if you are immunocompromised. It is wiser to see a physician for diagnosis and treatment. You did describe the the symptoms of Herpes Zoster-Shingles that one has before the rash occurs very accurately... LOL

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

    Please let me know how I can help you.

    Best wishes

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thanks! I added an update above but maybe it didn't show up immediately. I am 51. Rash appeared about 10 days ago, so I'm way past what I've read is the time frame to start antiviral. I think I'm pretty lucky in that it seems I have a much less severe case than others here. I am achy all over my left side, but it's like I way overdid a workout, not excruciating like others have. I am a dog trainer by trade so am forever getting beat up by the dogs, gates, equipment etc so maybe I'm just used to it. 

       

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  • Posted

    You can get some meds which may help you.  It usually gets worse and if you begin anti viral meds quickly, they can help.  You may also need something for the pain.  Mine was not too bad until the second week.  By that time, the anti viral meds probably didn't help much but now, at the end of week nine, I'm still taking lyrica to help with the nerve pain.  I'd see a doctor if I were you.

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  • Posted

    If the pain worsens (mine did after about two weeks), you may need to see a doctor.  If not, you are one of the lucky ones to have a very mild case.  I'd had the shingles shot several years ago, so I was told that my case should be mild.  However, I spent many sleepless nights during the second and third weeks and still, nine weeks into the "battle," still have significant pain and discomfort in my left hand and thumb.  I'm grateful that it's better in that my arm is now just mildly sore, like after having a shot, and that the pain is localized in my hand and thumb.  Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Dear Annette,

    The addendum appeared after my initial post...

    Lucky you, you get to work with dogs! Hopefully, the pain will not worsen.

    My worry for you is if the pain is not well controlled within the first month, it increases the probability of getting Post Herpetic Neuralgia PHN. I understand that you are an independent and resourceful individual, but sometimes that can cost us dearly, medically...

    Best wishes

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Gotcha. I don't actually have a doctor anymore. My last dr visit was for my 6 week check up after m daughter was born, she is now 20 lol. 

      I can just pop into the doc in a box up the road.

      Question, I've read where others were given the shingles vaccine when diagnosed, is this worthwhile or just a bill booster? 

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    • Posted

      I believe that the vaccine is a good idea. But whether you can get it depends on where you are (and if you're able to pay). Here in the UK, it's not available under the NHS to anyone under 70.

       

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    • Posted

      Dear David,

      Unfortunately, by the time the patient receives the Zostavax at 70 years old in the UK, the efficacy has dwindled to 37% . By 80 years the efficacy is at 18%.

      Glaxo-Smith-Kline has filed for approval in Europe for Shingrex in November, which boasts a 90-97% efficacy rate across all ages...And with the FDA in the US in October 2016. You are certainly correct that any immunization I'd better than nothing, although it did nothing for me.

      I hope you are doing better.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry.

      Yes, it is frustrating. I asked about the vaccination last time I saw my doctor and they comfirmed the age 70 restriction. It seems short-sighted! The cost is most likely prohibitive to have it privately. In any case, I'm 65 so I'm not sure about the wisdom of paying for something that probably already a less than 50% chance of success.

      I've had three recurrences, thankfully mild, since the onset in the summer. My GP has been concerned that I may have an immunity issue and I have just recently been tested for everything imaginable. Last week was a very anxious wait but, thankfully, all is clear. I'm just unlucky that it doesn't want to give up!

      If it flares again, my GP wants to refer me to a specialist.

      This last time has been a little worse than the previous recurrences as there was a delay getting me back on antivirals. My GP wanted to try a different antiviral and for an extended period. Unfortunately, the pharmacy didn't have it, ordered it in, and then discovered that there was an issue with the manufacturers. So I wasn't on it as quickly as I should have been. The result is slightly worse symptoms than with previous recurrences. I also have some side effects from the antivirals - mainly several eczema-like rashes. But I finish the course tomorrow morning.

      And then we shall see!

      Thank you for asking.

      David

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    • Posted

      Dear David,

      I know I have written to you, but as you have recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster-Shingles, I want to make sure you are aware of the high Lysine low Arginine diet regarding Herpes viruses. While I follow the Mediterranean diet, I was eating cashews and peanuts to increase the linoleic fatty acids in my diet. Unfortunately, the legumes were precipitating the recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles episodes every three to five weeks in my right ear. I stopped eating the legumes and did not have an episode for five months. While I am not a proponent of taking supplements of Lysine, I know that sticking to the diet helps reduce the intensity and frequency of Herpes Zoster-Shingles episodes.

      I hope this helps you...

      If you are 65, you were born in a vintage year, 1951...I am 65, as well...

      Best regards

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thank you Merry.

      I am aware of lysine/arginine and, when I checked, my diet tends towards lysine. The exception is bread, which I only have at breakfast. I'm loathe to give it up as I make my own and I love it.

      I'll have another look at the lysine/arginine split though and see if I can boost the lysine in any way.

      Yes, 1951 was a very good year!

      Best wishes

      David

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