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Shingles PSA

withm2011-08-23 02:14:04 +0000 #1
Yikes - I've joined the shingles club. This is the most painful thing I've ever experienced and I would not wish this on anyone. I'm on the appropriate medications but have a couple weeks of blisters and pain to get through.

There is a shingles vaccine out there and until recently it has been recommended only for people over 60. My Doctor said that it has been so successful that the CDC has recently lowered the age to 50.

Anyone who ever had chicken pox, whether as a child or an adult, harbors the dormant virus in their bodies forever. Then perhaps in times of stress, or exposure to chicken pox or shingles from a friend or family member, it awakens and socks you with the most unbearable pain and blisters that you can ever imagine.

And to add insult to injury, you can get shingles twice, or thrice, or more. Or its more virulent and rare derivative, Ramsey-Hunt syndrome which attacks your face and ears. My sister had that last year. Hence I was waiting to turn 60 in a few months so I could get the vaccine.

GET THE VACCINE. Yes, it is expensive, but some insurance plans may cover it. My Dr. said that Medicare does not cover it, so best to get it before you go on Medicare.

I'm quite sure that anyone you ask who has had shingles will agree that if there is a way to avoid it, to do so at any cost.

I have to wait to get the vaccine until I'm all cleared up but once that happens I will be running to the Dr. to get it.


Veronica2011-08-23 02:18:59 +0000 #2
I had shingles while I was touring Nova Scotia by bike in 2006. I went to a doctor in Canada when all I had was the really bad headache. A few days after the doctor visit the blisters appeared all over one side of my forehead. I had no idea what it was and just kept riding. My oldest sister kept insisting it was shingles every time I called her to check in. (She's such a worry wart; she wanted me to call her every day.) Of course geographically she was my emergency contact.

I didn't think I had ever had chicken pox. None of my older siblings or my mom can recall me having them. I guess it was a mild case.

I never got any medicine for it. I just kept popping advil and riding my bike. Maybe those 60 - 80 mile days pulling a trailer scared them away.

I didn't know for sure it was shingles until I went for my annual eye exam and I had some additional scarring on my corneas and my eye doctor asked if I had had shingles since my last visit.

I hope you have a quick recovery.

maillotpois2011-08-23 02:30:58 +0000 #3
My training partner got shingles a few weeks ago - in the groin area - and it sounded so dreadful that I got a prescription from my doctor and shelled out the $200 for the vaccine. I had chicken pox in my 20's and never realized there was any increase in risk because of that until my friend got it.
Pax2011-08-23 02:54:29 +0000 #4
The year after my dad died my mom had the worst case I've ever seen. It's been two years and she still looks like her ribs are covered in burn scars.

I will be getting the shot as soon as possible.
Blueberry2011-08-23 02:52:41 +0000 #5
So can you get the vaccine before 50? Or not? I've known that it was something I wanted to avoid - but didn't realize the vaccine was available (or that it had age recommendations).

Hope you feel better soon!
maillotpois2011-08-23 02:56:58 +0000 #6
You can get it under 50 or 60, but you need a prescription in order to do so.
zoom-zoom2011-08-23 04:39:27 +0000 #7
I had shingles 3-4 years ago, in my mid-30s. Started as a crazy tingle on my abdomen, then an insane itch...I had a cluster of blisters, but none actually ruptured. I self-diagnosed myself once the little pink spots started and got into the med-center. Doc confirmed my diagnosis and got me on Valtrex (herpes med) immediately. I think that greatly shortened and lessened the severity of my outbreak.

My brother had a similar outbreak that he never had diagnosed. Fortunately our immune systems seem to have been strong enough to avoid serious outbreak. A friend of mine had shingles on her face and has permanent scarring. It's scary, since it can lead to blindness if it develops in a person's eye.

My MIL's boyfriend had it during a skiing trip and spent a few days in the hospital.

Definitely something to vaccinate against, if possible. I like to think that maybe I am at less risk of a future outbreak, since I've already had it once.
Blueberry2011-08-23 05:34:03 +0000 #8
Thanks, MP. I'll definitely add this to the questions to ask my doc at my annual list



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