new girl in town. sigh

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Hello all, I am new here. I went to the hospital early Friday morning because I thought I might be having a stroke. Turns out I have shingles on my face. I did not yet have the rash but could feel the bumps under my skin. I have seen the optometrist and all is ok there, and the rash is now out and while painful not overwhelming yet (or maybe it won't be) I have a splitting headache that worsens when I move around too much so I'm keeping it calm. My question is, is it possible for some people to not have the pain that others have? Or... is it just early? I have the rash but so far no yucky oozy stuff. I am also a teacher and first day of school is Tuesday this week. I just can't decide what to do about work. Thanks for any insight. Oh and yes I am on day 2 of an antiviral. Valacyclover 1000mg 3x a day.

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  • Posted

    As a retired teacher, I can't imagine how you will be able to teach next week.  Rest is an important key to managing shingles.  I guess every case is different and if you got on the anti-viral meds within 72 hours, you should have an easier time than most of us.  A friend of mine who had shingles recently said that blue emu cream really helped him.

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  • Posted

    Hi Laurie!

    I am sorry you are going through this process!

    While I am glad you are not having a stroke, (I've had two), Herpes Zoster Shingles is one of the most painful afflictions of mankind. Did you have or have facial drooping and have a severe headache on one side of your face?

    Did your physician not tell you that you are contagious to individuals who have not had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine? As the shingles is on your face, unless you have two or three vesicles-blisters that you can easily cover with a band-aide, you should not expose yourself to anyone until the vesicles have completely scabbed over. Also, if you are a school teacher and expose a pregnant mother's baby to the varicella virus, that could cause dire consequences to the baby.

    Frankly, if you have a severe headache, that is part of the Herpes Zoster Shingles. I have had Herpes Zoster Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks for the past twentyone years and twice in my right eye. The excruciating headache is part of the shingles pain. You may also feel a burning lancinating electric shocks towards the skin surface, but even a light breeze can set off terrible long spasms of soul sucking, seering, excruciating headache pain.

    You will also experience malaise, aches and pains, and severe fatigue and exhaustion.

    My strong recommendation is that you take 2-3 weeks off, at least, and evaluate how you feel before returning to work. You need to sleep and rest. You cannot power through this disease. You are also contagious for approximately that period of time, anyway.

    You need to obtain a strong analgesic such as Oxycodone for the first few weeks. If the agonizing pain of Herpes Zoster Shingles is not well-controlled within the first month, the acute phase, it increases your risk of developing Post Herpetic Neuralgia and or recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster Shingles.

    May I ask your age, and what level/subject you teach? (I adore teachers! My twin is a nursing professor!)

    Are you immunocompromised with autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid arthritis, ITP, Psoriasis, etc, have IBS, Cancer, or take corticosteroids or immunemodulators?

    I am a Nurse Practitioner in the States.

    I feel for you as this is the time for you to start with the new class(es), with a fresh start with the new students. I know how horrible you feel.

    If the rash gets close to your eye, or you have difficulty with your vision, see an ophthalmologist that day. Herpes Zoster Shingles is an ophthalmologic emergency if it is in your eye. The vesicles occur in waves or crops over a period of 5-7 days.

    The pain might increase over the next 2-3 weeks. That is another reason to stay at home. Any activity will worsen it. Believe me, I know this disease.

    Try cool compresses or ice wrapped with cloth. Heat intensifies the pain.

    Some find the Solarcaine with Aloe Vera soothing. Just avoid the eye!

    Please let me know how you do, Laurie! Lots of hugs!

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Hi Laurie,

    I am so sorry you are experiencing shingles at the beginning of the school year. I, too, am a teacher, a college professor. I started back to work last week, the beginning of the Fall semester, after taking an entire semester and a half off work because of shingles. As most of us have learned, this disease knocks the heck out of the body. You should not "power through" and try to function as normal especially at the beginning of shingles. It will take you longer to recover if you don't sleep, rest and avoid all stress for several weeks. Also, it is not wise to go to work when you have active shingles. I am sure the administration at your school will be understanding that you have a serious illness and will encourage you to take this time off from work to recuperate. Substitute teachers will take over for you until you are well enough to return to work. Good luck to you.

     

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  • Posted

    Thanks for all your kind words and important information. I must say I am a bit baffled. Does anyone remember back to the first few days. I keep expecting to be knocked flat but I feel fine. The shingles are doing their thing, don't get me wrong, they are there and they are spreading and yes a breeze can set them to a burning feeling but mostly I am not in pain and the headache is gone. I have taken the advice of you all here and another friend of mine who has dealt with shingles and called in a sub for at least the first week. Admin is of course on board and supports me completely. I also did not go out today, except back to the optometrist as the shingles are pushing on my eyelid (All is still well there and my eye is fine) I rested calmly on the couch for most of the day. A tiny bit of light housecleaning like emptying the dishwasher or putting on laundry.  I guess my question arrises from the fact that I don't feel sick or many of the symptoms described.  Is that just because it's the beginning? Also, whenever I read online about contagious or not I get completely contradictory information. Anyway, thanks again for the information. I am erring on the side of caution and will let you know how it progresses. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for no pain. 

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    • Posted

      Laurie,

      It is contagious to those who have not yet been infected with chickenpox or received the vaccine. They will get a case of chickenpox. While usually it is mild, for an unborn child, it can cause birth defects and be fatal. In someone who is battling cancer, ie receiving radiation or chemo, it can be fatal. Some of us with cancer don't look sick and don't broadcast it.

      The pain often gets worse the second week.

      You do not transmit shingles. You transmit the varicella virus and infect them with chickenpox.

      I hope this helps you.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    thanks for that. I hear you loud and clear. My decision is made. Pain or no pain, I'm keeping it to myself. 

    Laurie

     

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  • Posted

    I am a student to be a teacher and it just started my first day of shadowing I am a junior in college and I had to drop out. I'm 26 years old and they too tested me for a stroke, aneurysm, and brain tumor all which came back negative. , the pain was so bad I had to control it with morphine every three hours for several days (I was admitted to the hospital) they weren't sure what's wrong so they were going to schedule me for sinus surgery the next morning . Thankfully an optometrist came to visit in my room and diagnosed me with shingles the day before I was going to have sinus surgery anyway. ..

    I think everyone's pain is different is since the nerve which is affected reacts differently. Its been since AUG 6 and the pain is no where near what it was but I do have quite a bit of nerve pain and extreme light sensitivity in one eye. If I didn't have light sensitivity I would go about my day the best I could. My head hurts but I control it with gabapentin 600 3x a day and 800 IBprophen every 8 hours. Can you just continue with teaching and take leave if necessary?

    If its blistering i believe it's contagious and whatever you do even if you think your not contagious or what not. DO NOT rub your eye.

    ...I was all scabbed over thought the shingles ran its course, my eye was itching like crazy . rubbed it at night woke up super light sensitive. can't see out of that eye due to the light sebsitivity and it's been almost 3 weeks.

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  • Posted

    Just coming to the end of week 5 and almost gone. Nothing to see anymore but still a little itching. I also got anti viral early and had pain but not agony, a little tiredness but not exhaustion.  Everyone different, stay off till scabs gone, then not contagious. Don't read the non typical horror stories and anticipate complications that may not happen to you. Eat well and rest. I'm sure your dying to get going on the new year but when you're sick you must listen to your body. 

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