June 2008 Weddings
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Shingles?

Does anyone know anything about shingles?

DH is at the hospital right now, waiting to be seen if he has it. We've all been sick the last week or two and Tuesday he was really bad and slept on the couch for like 18 hours. Wednesday we noticed a blistery rash near his right underarm. He thought maybe it was a heat rash, but I was concerned. Since then, it had spread slightly to his back, and I noticed this evening it spread a little more under his arm.

He called our insurance's nurses line, who talked with them, then advised him to go to urgent care. All of the facilities are closed, so he's sitting at the ER right now.

I've googled a little, and I talked to my OB and I *should* be okay as long as I don't touch them but it still kind of freaks me out. (I had a super mild case of chicken pox as a kid, Taryn's had the vaccine).

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Re: Shingles?

  • My brother actually had it in college.  It's from the same virus as Chicken Pox.  Did he never have chicken pox or only a very mild case?  Most people get immunity but maybe he doesn't have immunity.

    My brother said it was incredibly painful.  It's found most often on the trunk of your body, if I recall, and it travels along the nerves so you might see the bumps in a row.
  • I'm not sure if DH had chicken pox as a kid. I'll have to ask him when he gets home.

    I had it, but mildly and was warned back then that I could get it again. When I go to my first OB appt, I'm going to ask if they can check my immunity with all the other bloodwork that'll be done.

    ETA: Just got a text. Its confirmed as shingles.

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  • An aunt of mine had it around the time of my baby shower. I asked my OB and he said that I should *not* be around it and if I was to absolutely not touch the rash and thoroughly shower/wash after she left. That being said, I never had chicken pox as a child, am not immune, but did have the vaccine around the time I was 12.

    DH had it as a teen and said it's super painful. I hope your DH heals quickly! :(
  • That is scary!  DHs best friend had it not too long ago.  He had chicken pox as a kid too, so he thought he was immune.  Consider him lucky he didn't get the rash on his face, BF scared little children.  Be really careful around him!!!!!!!

     

  • He's going to wash our sheets, always wear a shirt and sleep separately until he's healed. We've already been using different towels, but I'm concerned about a blanket he used the other night that Taryn and I used in the morning. Hopefully we'll be okay! I'm going to end up worrying until he's totally healed!
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  • Shingles can manifest in a few different ways. It's more contagious if you have the open bumps. Some people just have their nervous system affected and get pains usually on one side of their body.

    My BFF at work had them not long ago while she was still BF. She had a few bumps, but not open sores. Her right eye was also very swollen (nervousystem effect). Her doctor said to keep BF and everything was fine.

  • I had shingles in college, and I *did* have the chicken pox when I was in first grade.

    I had them on my mid- to lower-back. It was a patch of bumps about the size of maybe half the palm of my hand. At first, they itched like mad, and I actually thought I had maybe contracted poison ivy, because we had volunteered to rake leaves in the community a few days before. However, 1) I've never had poison ivy before, I have reason to believe I'm not "allergic" to it or whatever, and 2) I couldn't figure out why I would get it on my back (up under where I was obviously wearing a shirt), and nowhere else on my body. Went to the wellness center and sure enough, not poison ivy--shingles. They prescribed me Valtrex (an anti-viral) to help prevent the spread of the shingles.

    When they spread, they tend to spread along the same side of the body that they're on--shingles is a re-occurrence of the chicken pox virus, which apparently can lie dormant in our nervous systems for years and years.

    The itching turned into a weird discomfort--kinda itchy, kinda painful. It was irritating to even have a t-shirt touching them. Even after they finally went away, I had "phantom" shingles pain for years afterward. I still do every once in a while, but it has faded over the years. (The phantom pains are caused by nerve damage that is a result of the shingles.)

    FWIW, I had Michael scratching my back for me the night before I discovered my shingles. That night, I had "itchy spots," I told him, and asked him to scratch my back. He did... and once I found out I had shingles, I felt horrible because I thought he was going to get them. Even though he obviously came in direct contact with them, he never did get them. No one around me got them, either. Do what you can to be cautious, but I don't think you need to freak out. But call your OB!

  • I know when I was pregnant with Evan, I wasn't allowed to have any patients with shingles or chicken pox. We also wouldn't let people visit the patients if they were pregnant. I think there is a very slight chance baby could get it. But i would check with your OB to make sure

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  • Thanks for the info girls! I did talk to my OB and she said that I should be fine as long as I don't come in direct contact with them. She said for DH to keep a shirt on at all times, and maybe even sleep separately (which we are doing). She said I should be immune, but to follow the steps above and I should be okay...so I'm hoping so!

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  • My understanding is that you HAVE to have had chicken pox to get shingles.  The rash targets nerves.  A couple of years ago, I had a really bad case of poison ivy and the doctor at first thought it was shingles.  Then it spread to the other side of my body and it was apparent that it wasn't shingles.

    If you catch it early (I think within first 72 hours), there is a drug they can give you.

    The severity differs a lot from one person to the next.  My former co-worker had permanent nerve damage from shingles and had to retire.  For some people, its more like getting the flu.

    If you had only a mild case of chicken pox, I think it is possible that you could get chicken pox from someone with shingles.  It is very contagious.  However, I don't think you can pass it to someone who has had chicken pox.  (No shingles to shingles but shingles to chicken pox).

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