Shingles travel

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I got diagnosed with shingles today. I have had pain under my armpit for a couple of days. At first it felt like a bruise, then a bit more painful. Today two areas of quarter size rash under armpit and one on chest. The MD diagnosed me with shingles and started me on Valtrex and Neurontin. There is moderate pain under my arm but tolerable. my question is- I have a nonrefundable trip on Thursday to the opposite coast. With the pain as it is now I could absolutely go. My worry is that the pain gets much worse. The rash started about 24 hours ago. Will the pain likely increase from this point?

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  • Posted

    I'm sorry we can't predict. Getting the Valtrex should help, but everyone varies. This is a real dilemma. I had pain one day, it decreased, disappeared then 10 days later my full shingles started. I never took Valtrex, we didn't catch it in time.. I will tell you that I wish I had never taken it. Many people have terrible side effects. It may or may not help with the pain, but that's a whole other story and topic in different threads.

    How do you feel physically? Do you feel ill ie fever, fatigue, nausea, body aches. How severe is the pain? That may give you an idea of what to expect. I don't fly but I know sometimes a doctor's excuse can help.

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  • Posted

    Catherine,

    The pain usually increases the second week, especially if you are older, stressed, are immunocompromised, taking corticosteroids,

    DMARDS, or have an autoimmune disorder.

    Depending on the airline, with a doctor's note, some are very good at extending the ticket, as are hotels. Usually vacations or trips require a lot of physical activity and stress, which exacerbate Herpes Zoster-Shingles.

    I have traveled with Herpes Zoster-Shingles as I have had it in my right ear, mouth, and throat every three weeks for the past 23 years, twice in my right eye, and has extended to my right scalp. Airlines don't want an infectious person traveling. Usually, people with shingles feel exhausted, fatigued, start feeling an agonizing burning, lancinating pain and cannot sleep. You are better off in your own home using your own physicians than being stressed when traveling. Southwest has been wonderful and accommodating when I had a stroke and both times when my parents died.

    Best Regards

    Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Since you got started on treatment quickly I think you will be fine to go on your trip. Take both meds completely as prescribed. I am a nurse and i had shingles twice last year but the first time I had pain in my right groin and then a very small straight rash down my right lower leg. No blisters noted I showed many if my drs I work with and nobody suspected shingles but it was and it followed my nerve in my back to leg. Well I just keep working with no tx and i finally went to my dr because I started having bad flu like symptoms the my joints ached so bad I thought I had bad autoimmune disease or arthritis . I developed post neuralgia pain and thankfully Lyrica managed my pain. The pain is mostly gone . I keep Valtrex because I have random fever blister, so about 4 months later I had the bad burning and sciatica pain on my left buttocks worse but similar to other episode and 3 days later I had bad rash on buttocks, I started on Valtrex as soon as I realized this was shingles. This was the weekend so I went to see my dr and showed him all the pictures but he was sure bc shingles by textbook dont cross to the other side of body. But after another follow up with dr and he saw scars that were left and how the scars followed the nerve dermatome in my back my dr agreed it was shingles. I had MRI in 2014 due to car wreck and have lower disc and nerve issues and the shingles followed those nerves i had issues with since 2014 . I have been meaning to write back to this group bc a nurse practioner on this group helped me and I never followed up. On this group you will find out shingles is not always textbook and that is what I said to my dt and he dis agree. There are so many things not know about shingles but I can tell you from experience that I do not want shingles a 3rd time. Most dr think it is rare to have shingles twice but there are many people that have it often unfortunately. I am 49 and in US I can get shingles vaccine @ 50. If you had shingles before 50 insurance can approve vaccine fir me now. My dr has sent in info but my insurance still hasnt approved it. I am a big advocate for shingle vaccine bc I dont want anyone to go through want i have experienced. Many of my nurses and drs I work with over 50 havent gotten vaccine. I am always encouraging and educating them about getting it. I tell them post neuralgia pain from shingles is pain you never want and there is a chance you will live with it the rest of your life. More research needs to be done with shingles. Sorry this was so lengthy and helps. Hopefully the nurse practioner on this site will respond, she really helped me and is very knowledgeable about shingles. Best of luck, take all your meds, rest often and have a great trip.

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    • Posted

      Hi Cindy,

      With a physician's note, your insurance should pay for the Shingrex vaccine as you have had shingles. I certainly don't wish this disease on anybody. Shingrex has attenuated my episodes.

      Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

      Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for the replies. I feel the same today. So far, the rash looks the same, maybe a little bigger, and the pain is still not terrible. 24 hours until trip, I have told everyone I am not going, my Dr strongly advised me not to. Secretly I am going to pack today and hoping I feel good enough at 3 am tonight to jump in the car with everyone. Maybe I will be lucky and my case is mild, or my pain tolerance has gotten high?

    I dont have flu like symptoms or anything else. My energy level is high but I will explain below why.

    Leading up to the shingles, and the reason the Dr think I got them, I had what the Dr's are calling a chronic migraine for a month. I have literally tried everything to stop it. I have been on high dose steroids, multiple medications. Nothing stopped the pain for an entire month. I've had tests, seen neurologist. This is something new that hasn't happened before. The Dr thinks the stress on my body from the pain caused the shingles. The headache stopped yesterday. Just stopped when the rash showed up. For the first time in a month I have no headache and it didn't come back. I cant help but wonder if its related.

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  • Posted

    Hello - as others have said, the progress of the Shingles really depends on the individual, however the general advice is that the sooner you get started on antivirals, the better. I have had 3 bouts of Shingles in the last 18 months, and went abroad during one of them to do some work. It was fine - I was a bit tired and painful but the trip actually helped take my mind off the Shingles.

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  • Posted

    the problem is, everyone is different.

    my mom had it in her arm and was ok to carry on with everything. I had a horrible case that started small and spread from my neck to ear to scalp. it was debilitating. my rash peaked 4 days after initial outbreak, and i was in bad shape for 6 weeks 3 month later I'm doing better but still on Gabapentin for the post shingles pain.

    Again- some people like my mom are lucky.

    My advice is to keep cream on it and keep if bandaged at all times. if you do this it will never get crusty

    And don't touch babies, old people or your eyes!

    sorry you have this. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    i did decide to take the trip. the first two days i struggled a bit but the last two were ok. The rash is healing and almost scabbed. Burning pain still lingers but I am still on neurontin. My new concern, or more accurately-fear, is, a new pain. Before I had a rash the pain felt like I had a bad bruise under my arm. When the pain got worse after about 2-3 days I noticed the rash and the pain turned more like a burning.

    The bruise like pain started today down the rest of the area of the nerve that didnt get the initial rash. Same dermatone but it never had pain or a rash on this part with the shingles. Its not a burning pain like the rest of the dermatone currently has, but the bruise like pain that came before the rash under my arm. can the rash start again on this new part of the dermatone? I thought when the rash was gone it was gone. I work at a childrens hospital so i cant return to work until all shingles are scabbed over. Before today this part of my arm never had any issues even though its on the same dermatone so I am confused why its starting now-a week later. The pain clearly follows the straight line of the nerve down. The pain isnt really super bad, I havent been taking anything for it. it just hurts and seems to be getting worse and not better. What works best for the pain? motrin?

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