Shingles?

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Hi I have been having problems with a pain on the upper front part of my right thigh for about 24hrs, the only way I can describe it is like a severe sunburn type pain but with nothing there. I also have a mild flu like feeling. I mentioned this to my Mum on the phone this evening and she asked if it could be Shingles? (My Grandfather used to describe the same type of pain apparently) I thought shingles was confined to chest and back areas.....could I have early symptoms of shingles? I work with the public on a daily basis so really need to be careful with infections. Thanks for any advice.

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  • Posted

    Hi Samantha,

    It certainly could be shingles-zoster. Shingles can occur on any site of your body, although most people think of the torso and abdomen first. An individual first must have contracted chickenpox earlier. The Herpes Zoster virus then lays dormant on the sensory nerve until the individual is immunosuppressed, stressed, or older, then shingles appears.

    Usually you have the predromal stage in which you feel feverish, achey, headache, irritable for a few days up to 10 days. Then you have burning pain and or itching preceding vesicles-blisters rash on a red base. These appear in crops. They crust over. When they have crusted over, you are no longer considered contagious. You can have the burning and itching and flu like symptoms without a rash. This is Herpes sine rata. Many physicians are unaware of this. It is extremely important to seek medical attention immediately as you need to start an antiviral now, but within three days of onset of symptoms. The sooner the better. In the UK,they usually start you on Acyclovir, but Famvir or Valtrex has a faster and more efficacious mode of action and there are only 3 pills per day instead of 5 pills per day. You also need a strong analgesic. Sometimes people need a strong narcotic. How old are you, Samantha?

    If you are older, it can hurt more, but my first episode at 44, I wanted to cut my ear out, the pain was that excruciating . Yep, it occurred in my right ear and occurs every 3-5 weeks for the last 19 years. I take oxycodone as it is excruciating for me there. Please go to the emergency room and get the antivirals immediately. The sooner you receive the medication, the better your chance you will not have post herpetic neuralgia.

    I hope this helps.

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply! Will try and see my GP on Monday, not sure if it would be classed as an out of hours case! I'm 44. The pain is horrendus its making me feel physically sick but am managing it with co-codomol so it's bearable, I can't take NSAID's as I suffer from photo sensitivity when I do. Are you only contagious with a rash,I work in a high street fashion shop and deal with all ages, pregnant ladies etc so am a little worried about working tomorrow. Thanks.
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    • Posted

      It's infectious to people who have not had chickenpox and pregnant women! You should go to walkin or A&E before Monday as the antiviral meds work if taken within 3 days of start of symptoms! Might be too late if you wait until Monday. They won't mind you going if it's shingles and better safe than sorry! Keep taking pain relief, you will probably be able to get something stronger from a Doctor or Nurse. Take care. Ellie
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    • Posted

      It is contagious if you have vesicles or blisters. If they are completely covered with a bandage or dressing, then clothing, as on the thigh, then you cannot transmit the virus.

      You need to go to the emergency room as you need to start the antivirals ASAP. If you wait until Monday, it is too late. You need to go by Saturday at the latest. Otherwise, the antivirals will not work and the pain will be intractable. This is considered an emergency and acceptable case for emergency or urgent care. Some people are hospitalized for this, in the UK and US. I am a nurse practitioner in the US and have sent your countrymen to the hospital on this site with complications. Please do as I suggest. The antivirals do help.

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    • Posted

      Hello Merry, I havell he symptoms of shingles but no rash. I've had the symptoms for about 12 days now. I went to the doctor, but she said as I didn't have a rash she could not diagnose shingles or give me any treatment. That was five days ago and I now feel much worse - but still no rash! Is this a common thing or is there ALWAYS a rash? I 've had shingles before and recognise all the symptoms from last time, but last time I had a small rash at the back of my waist. Is there ever a time that the doctor will give an ani viral treatment without the rash in your experience?

      Thanks so much for this forum - it has been so informative and has made me feel tht I'm not alone in this - especially in feeling so low and depressed - now I know that it's probably down to the shingles! With thanks.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Janettye,

      So sorry for your suffering.

      Of course you can get Herpes Zoster-Shingles without the rash. It is called Zoster sine herpete. Your physician is ignorant and should have prescribed the antivirals immediately.

      Also, she should have given you potent analgesics. It is too late to start the antivirals, but you could go to A&E and obtain analgesics for the pain. Is the pain in the same place as the previous rashes?

      Is the pain severe? The physician can prescribe Neurontin or Lyrica in addition to an Opioid for the pain. They help with the burning electrical pain of shingles.

      I am sorry that your physician failed you. Should you consider changing your doctor? I know I would. This is basic information.

      Let me know how I can help you. I am a nurse practitioner in the States. I also have Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks for the last 20 years.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Shingles witout a rash

      Thanks so much for your speedy reply.

      I feel very annoyed with the GP I saw - she wasn't my usual doctor - she was a locum, I was a bit alarmed when she had to refer to a book to look up my symptoms - I was already quite sure what was wrong having had them twice before! I was really on the ball with getting to see the doctor as quickly as possible as this is what I hd been told to do on previous occasions - all to no avail due her lack of medical knowledge!

      I will go back to the doctors tomorrow - if only to alert them to the failings of the doctor I had the misfortune to see!

      Thanks again for your help, hearing from you and just knowing what's wrong with me helps..... Janettye 

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    • Posted

      Dear Janettye,

      That is a relief knowing it was a locum tenens. Unfortunately, she did you a disfavor. It is scary how many ignorant physicians there are in developed countries.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Hi Samantha. You can shingles just about anywhere on the body I've discovered from this website. If you think it might be you should go to GP, Walkin Centre or A&E,  ASAP to get the anti viral meds. It only works if you get it within 3 days of start of the shingles which can present without a rash which sometimes doesn't appear anyway apparently! Do you have any numbness or tingly, nerve type pain in the same area? This plus the flu like symptoms would also indicate that you have it. I had itchy scalp first then the shingles appeared on my upper right arm/shoulder. Still getting small outbreaks and itchy scalp after 3 months! I had the Valiclovir anti shingles vacc but think it was too late as I waited until Easter hol was over. Should have gone to walkin or A&E myself I now realise but hate wasting their time!
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    • Posted

      Hi, I have no tingling just a hellish sunburn pain as if all the nerve endings are on fire. I did almost phone our out of hours gp this evening bt like you am worried I might be wasting their time. I think i'll contact them first thing. thank you. 
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    • Posted

      Should have said Aciclovir anti viral! Not had vacc as I got shingles before they could do it. Still awake with PHN and itching. Back to bed now and try again. rolleyes
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  • Posted

    Just a quick update, I went to our out of hours GP. My temperature was a little up 37.5 (my usual temp is around 36 he wouldn't listen when I told him that though). Dr prescribed Gabaentin for the nerve pain but coudn't say it was shingles as no rash was present. If I develop one in the next few days it probably is!!

    Bit of a waste of time really, will go back tomorrow if its no better, hopefully see someone ele

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    • Posted

      Not a waste of time Samantha. If rash appears at least they have it on record that you saw someone and treatment will progress from there. Hope the Gababentin has kicked in by now. As others have said on this site, it doesn't always present with a rash anyway, just dreadful pain and feeling c*** like a bad bout of flu! Probably a good idea to see your own GP if you it continues to be so painful as there must be a reason for it in my opinion. I'll be thinking of you this weekend, keep in touch with us all. Best Wishes Ellie. X
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