why do some people have mild shingles and others have severe?

Posted , 7 users are following.

This may sound kind of silly (I hope it doesnt)... but why is that some people have mild symptoms with hardly any pain, or rash, blisters and so on, when some have really severe head crushing shooting electric pain. 

Is it simply because of how good your immune system is when you get an outbreak? (seems kind of contradictory when your immune is down to get it in the first place but i guess you could have a borderline low immunity versus a completely depleted one?)

Thoughts? Thank you smile

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    I consider myself one of the lucky ones because after a month I'm left with one patch perminently scarred on my lower back but all pain has gone I'm just more tired than I used to be . 

    There is is a doctor on here that can answer your questions better than me so I will leave it to her lol but I think what your saying is about right . 

    Get wel soon 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying jo. 9 days in from when i first felt the skin sensitivity. One itchy patch on my chest. I am mentally tired from wondering when this stops itching!?

      Luckily i have no pain yet... my shoulder initially ached like i had pulled a mucle. Now its mostly just feeling like a tired muscle and i can easily feel no pain using ibuprofen

      I wish everyone a speedy recovery. Its time for me to really try and destress... i am a real worry wart about everything

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  • Posted

    Jim,

    In order to get Herpes Zoster to begin with, your immune system is impaired. I believe that the individuals who are more severely affected are those who had severe chickenpox in every crevice, those who are terribly stressed, those who are immunocompromised. I certainly fit that picture to begin with. I didn't know I was immunocompromised the first time I had Herpes Zoster. I certainly am now. I have recurrent Herpes Zoster every three to five weeks. I eat well and nutritiously. A multivitamin doesn't make a bit of difference. Some swear by lysine/arginine ratio diets. That has not been scientifically proven with double blind controlled studies. Many of us do all the right things and continue to have recurrent Herpes Zoster.

    How are you doing, BTW?

    Did you see a physician this week?

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi juliana. Firstly thank you very much for taking the time to reply to all of us... i am certainly learning alot about myself.

      I see a doctor tomorrow. Its sunday here at the moment. Well its day... 10. I do suffer enormous self stress. I have started looking into therapy and also meditation. I have no pain just itching every so often in the rash patch on the chest. Im lucky as to date it has not spread. I guess i was just querying was... and this may sound like im answering my own question but i have no clue. Is that if you are immuno depressed... that shingles may be more severe if this is the case. Therefore is there any way we can help ourselves or re above... you take a multi and a healthy life but theres not much we can do and its all chance on if we get it and the severity?

      Thanks again. Jim

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    • Posted

      I wish you well juliana. Every 3 to 5 weeks is a lot. Have you tried meditation or any eastern type of meditation... tai chi or even accupuncture?

      I had severed chicken pox when i was 17. And the stress... i find ways to stress in abnormal fashion. Eg... if i travel i literally freak out and lack sleep from someone stashing drugs in my bag so inhave been known to dismantle and check and check and paddlock things. I need to change my thinking and get therapy. Im not good currently with my thoughts. These forums do help immensly

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    • Posted

      Dear Jim,

      It sounds as if you have gained some insight. When you travel, you do have to be careful, of course, now more than ever. I am less stressed now than ever, but am immunocompromised. I have autoimmune diseases.

      Get the rash diagnosed and treated. Also, as you need help with your thoughts, please get help with them, too. Make certain you have a connection between the therapist and you. Otherwise, it will not help you. The voice of experience here. I have been where you are, and therapy helps, immensely.

      All the best.

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi can anybody tell me please if accupuncture would help the fatigue that goes with shingles I had the vaccine no rash but all the  other symptons just got no energy I have started taking swisse womens ultrivite hoping it might help.I can do a little a bit then have to have a rest.Although las t friday I got my life back for one day did lots but it on lasted for a day.I have had them 7 weeks today thanks
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  • Posted

    Hello everyone, I was just dx with shingles (36/m) and i defaintly dont have mild symtoms. Im dealing with the shooting stinging pains (ie. poked with hot needles), burming, swelling, muscle cramps. In a span of 5 days i went from a wierd sensation across my back to full blown blisters on my chest and painful bumps across my back. Im also enrolled in an Respiratory care program and i hope this doesnt effect my clinical status this semester.
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    • Posted

      Hi LJR

      I am so sorry for the pain and suffering.

      Although you are obligated to inform your instructors regarding the Herpes Zoster-Shingles, you technically are not considered infectious if your vesicle-blisters are covered.

      The virus can be transmitted in tears etc, but you would also be using universal precautions.

      Unfortunately, the pain and fatigue are issues that you will be dealing with, especially the first month. Hopefully, you were placed on antivirals immediately and given strong analgesics.

      Best regards

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Yes, that's exactly what the physician told me today. I'm also picking up my first round of medicine today. Looks like I won't be in peds or neonate this semester... Those nurses are really particular at my hospital lol.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jim,

    I was diagnosed with shingles this past June around the middle of the month. I had some symptoms at the end of May/Early June.  

    I can say that I am pretty healthy.  The only thing I have issues with is my weight.  I am about 250lbs and 6 feet tall.  I excercise (swim and walk) daily and I work hard physically.  I have great levels on my blood work and my blood pressure is 125/75.  

    During the Month of May, I was working a lot of hours (average 65 to 75 per week) and I was also going through some extremely difficult stress from problems with my daughter. It was definitely one of the lowest times I have ever felt in my life.  

    This is the only explanation I have as to why shingles flared up in my body.

    I have no rash but I have the nerve pain and eye muscle failure in my left eye. I think the location of where I have the flare up is unfortunate but the severity of it is mild compared to others. If this were on my arm or back I would still be able to somewhat function but the eye has me out of commision until it heals.

    I remember having chicken pox when I was 4.  I still remember the oatmeal smelling stuff I had to bathe in for a few nights and the itching and bumps on my body.  I didnt scratch as much as my brother and he had it really bad.  I dont remember my chicken pox as being severe and maybe that is a contributor as to why my shingles outbreak was not severe as it could have been.

    Duke

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    • Posted

      I have been told my dose is only mild i had vaccine so did nt get rash but got the pain ,burning,fatigue I have had to accuncture treatments but no relief going to cancel my next appointment.I,m better than what I was but progress is very SLOW. At the start I had a nerve that keeping jumping in my eye but that has gone.I think we just have to sit it out good luck
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