Should I be in isolation with shingles?

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hi, I've been diagnosed with shingles and being in isolation and living alone, fighting loneliness and boredom is just as tough as battling shingles. What exercises and activities can I do to live a closer to normal life? I do wakeboarding, yoga, kickboxing, swimming and running when I was healthy. Is it still possible to do any of those? If not, what are the alternatives? Can I still have sex and not infect the other person? Should I really be in isolation or can I still go out with friends and family? Your advice will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

1 like, 12 replies

Report / Delete

12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello gin319,

    Basically, you cannot catch shingles from shingles. The herpes zoster virus will already have been in your body from having had chicken pox in earlier life. You can, however, infect someone who hasn't had chicken pox with chicken pox from the herpes zoster virus, but they would have to come in fairly close contact with any open blisters that you have. My GP's advice was that it's quite safe to be out and about after, say, the first 48 hours or so, but to keep any blisters covered.

    It is, however, wise to keep clear of any new-born or young babies, which has been an issue for me as I've had four new grandchildren in the last 18 months, and probably anyone who has immunity issues - especially if they haven't had chicken pox.

    A word of caution though: shingles is likely to seriously affect your energies and mood and trying to do too much is very definitely not a good idea. You can't fight the symptoms of shingles, so 'listen' very carefully to what your body is telling you. I would just feel my energies suddenly drain away and I had no option other than to stop and rest. It's a huge mistake to try and get on top of how you're feeling: it will only make matters worse and delay your recovery. Your body is fighting a pernicious viral infection and will be using all of your immune resources to do so.

    Best wishes,

    David 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      David I am glad another male has chimed in. Everything posted so far can apply to my distress. I never added a quirk in my attempt to sleep at night. I can only lay on my right side (the right stomach, right side and right back) is where the blisters and pain started and continues. If I try the left side the pain increases and the stabbing occurs. I end up awake after 2 to 3 hours and must get up. I am into the 5th week since the blisters (slowly turning into pink spots) and 8 weeks since the right torso pains started. Thanks for chiming in
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I believe you must give more information on when the virus started, area where it appeared, blister activity, pain activity Doctor recommendations also
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    There are a lot of misconceptions and ignorance about shingles. You do NOT need to be in isolation. You can only develop shingles if you've had chicken pox. If someone, as David mentioned like an infant, has never had chicken pox, if they are exposed to an open sore they could develop chicken pox. It is not airborne, it is not considered contagious. However, some people keep the rash covered because it's unsightly.

    But remember the rash is just an outward manifestation of the virus, the real illness is in the body. You can have a serious case of shingles with no rash. Fatigue, headaches, and feeling lousy, are all part of shingles. These symptoms can last weeks. Also, some meds given to treat shingles can cause multiple side effects.

    When were you diagnosed, and where was your rash?

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Gin,

    David, USMC, and Babs have all given you an excellent knowledge base regarding Shingles. As stated by others, it is imperative to cover your rash, if possible, until all the vesicle-blisters have scabbed over. Once they have all scabbed over, you are no longer infectious. If the lesions are widespread on your face, then you should remain inside. If there are just two or three vesicle-blisters on your face, cover them with a band-aid. Then you may go out. If you can cover the vesicle-blisters completely with clothing, then you may go out.

    If your partner has had chicken pox, then it would be safe to have sex.

    I would avoid close intimate contact with newborns, pregnant women, individuals who never had chicken pox and are receiving radiation, chemotherapy or immunosuppressed. (Patients with Cancer, Patients with AIDs, HIV, HEP C, HEP B, Autoimmune Diseases)

    Regarding activity, exhaustion and fatigue are symptoms that physicians neglect to inform Shingles patients about.

    I would start with a mild exercise and see how you tolerate the exercise. Do not try to power through this disease as the virus is circulating through out your body. You didn't mention pain or the location of the rash or your age. It would be helpful for us to have that information.

    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 one years and twice in my right eye.

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Yes yes and yes. You aren't going to infect anyone. The real problem is having the energy to do anything and Shingles has a way of giving you depression. Don't try to push through Shingles. Give yourself time to get better. Once you get rid of the Shingles then you can go back to your routine. Good luck.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Thank you everyone, your words are very comforting and informative. I am 38 years old, male. I saw the blisters 2 days ago, but that was after I had intercourse with my partner. I'm certain that her skin didn't touch the blisters, and the blisters didn't burst open. But I was still afraid that she might catch the virus. I would never want her or anyone suffer from this.

    Its a brutal virus that few understand. Even the doctors that I talked to said that I have to be isolated. Everyone's afraid to go near me, no one wants to visit. Battling loneliness and isolation takes its toll, that's why I'm so grateful to all your replies. I can now show this to my friends and family and assure them that they're safe around me. But more importantly, they'll have a better understanding of what I'm going through.

    ?I admire all of you for being able to fight the virus. I wish I'll be able to do the same and help those who will need comforting and the right information.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I'm only familiar with Shingles, which is Herpes Zoster. I'm not trying to be personal, but if it's genital herpes, I'm not sure if that's a different issue. Whatever you're comfortable with sharing, I understand. You  may want to send a private message to someone else if you have more questions about that.

    Honestly, I can't imagine a doctor telling you that you have to be in isolation. Chicken pox, yes, shingles no.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Babs, I think the reason why some doctors and nurses recommend isolation is because they associate shingles with chickenpox. Because it's the same virus, they assume that it's as contagious. At least that's my guess but obviously, there's a lot of misinformation about shingles and this has to change. Sorry I forgot to mention the location of the blisters. It's on the left side of my stomach all the way to the back.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Gin, that’s a very forgiving attitude but these are health professionals and this view is pure ignorance. Your rash sounds like typical shingles symptoms and while there are mistakes made regarding shingles, they should know better. At least you know now that you can regain many of your activities, if you feel up to it. Often in addition to the rash, you can have fatigue, headaches and a number of other symptoms. If you got antivirals quickly enough, you may avoid that.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I know, Babs. I'm planning to spread information about shingles in my community through posters and social media. This forum has helped me a lot. The first 48 hours was horrible but now I feel better emotionally and mentally. Thanks for the support!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Mine is on the right side all the way to my spine. No progress yet on the burning and stabbing pain, 5 weeks into the blisters appearing, they are just pink spots now but still there. I am now trying OTC Tegamet.
      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up