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Author Topic: Shingles?  (Read 5569 times)

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Offline Mattinsrq

  • Member
  • Posts: 24
Shingles?
« on: September 20, 2006, 11:43:42 AM »
???

I've gotten an outbreak on one of my arms and back and stomach.  It is painful, and looks like the pictures I found on the web.

I'm thinking it's shingles, but I am not a doctor, just a hypochondriac.  That said, I have had shingles before when I was 13, and it seems rather familiar.

I'm going to my clinic today, hopefully I can see the doctor.  I guess I shouldn't spend the afternoon playing with babies or old people until I know for certain.

It just seems odd, my cd4 count is high and vl is only 34k.

Anyone with any advice, please respond.

Itchingly Yours,
Matt

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2006, 01:45:29 PM »
Matt,

It doesn't matter what your numbers are, shingles can strike at anytime - you don't even have to be hiv positive. The only thing that determines whether or not you'll ever get shingles is whether or not you've ever had chickenpox.

Check out the Shingles Lesson, where you will find a lot of good information.

Make sure you get to the doctor sooner rather than later. The sooner you start on some acyclovir, the less severe the outbreak will be.

Good luck - hope it's over for you quickly.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Dan J.

  • Guest
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2006, 02:14:14 PM »
Hi Matt,

I have had the shingles 3 times. I am now take 1000 mg Valtrex daily to supress them. You can't pass the shingles to another person, but it is possible for someone to develop the chicken pox if they have not had them before if they are around someone with the shingles. I still have tingling & itching from the really bad outbreak I had in summer 03 on the left side of my head, face & neck. Do not put any cortisone creams on the leisions. They have steroids in them and can make the outbreak worse.

Sorry to hear that your dealing with this. I hope you feel better soon.

Dan

Offline Teresa

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  • Posts: 1,753
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2006, 03:17:04 PM »
Hubby has the shingles. He went to the Dr friday and got some Valtrex. He said they still itch a little but not bad. He still only has 2 spots of the rash so hopefully he got to the Dr in time to prevent a bad outbreak.

You better get to the Dr.

Hugs
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2006, 03:43:53 PM »
Shingles veteran here.

Time is of the essence, Matt. The sooner you begin treatment the better.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline pozguy75

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2006, 03:53:06 PM »
Um...here's some advice...GET THEE TO A DOCTOR!!!! No arguments...DOCTOR, NOW!
Dx 2005
ATRIPLA

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2006, 09:38:37 PM »
Mattinsrq, shingles are really easy to self diagnosis. If you have raise bump that are small blister like, itch like hell, hurt and the only cover one side of your body. Then you can almost bet you're correct. If on your back that will go no further that where your spinal cord separates your back, can travel around to your chest, down your arm or on your face all on the same side of your body. Go to the doctor as soon as you can to get medication. The quicker, the less painful and a possible sooner healing time. Don't be surprised if after the blisters leave that you don't continue to have pain. It can be no pain to severe pain. TRY TO KEEP FROM SCRATCHING THEM. The scaring isn't pretty when you scratch them. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

Offline Basquo

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2006, 09:49:49 PM »
ANYONE can get shingles; I echo others.  My niece had them at age 7. My sister asked if I had them when I showed her the cellphone photo of my chest after a certain boy left me leopard-like with hickies ("haters" as my homies call them.)

Offline cph9680

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  • Posts: 325
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2006, 09:52:55 PM »
I had my first case at the beginning of the summer, and might be getting another outbreak.

It was kinda strange though, I'd always hurt that shingles hurt like hell, except when I had 'em it didn't bother me at all, except for the fact that I had this nasty terrible looking thing on one side of my body!

But at any rate, hope ya get it worked out.   No doubt its not a lot of fun!

Corey

Offline Teresa

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2006, 10:01:00 PM »
My hubby complained of back pain a few days before he had the itchy rash. He had worked on his tractor that weekend and he thought he had hurt his back working on it. It hurt so bad he took one of his pain pills. The Dr. said it was probally hurting from the shingles.

Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline whizzer

  • Member
  • Posts: 363
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 10:06:15 PM »
Get to a doctor, any doctor, even if it's a doc-in-a-box.  Time is of the essence.  If antivirals are started within three days, your course of shingles could be very brief.  The longer you wait to start treatment, the longer -sometimes much longer - the shingles will persist.

Shingles look like small bumps when they start.  They tingle, itch, and sometimes burn.  They follow the distribution of the nerve underlying the area (called a dermatome) where they appear.  They normally do not cross the center line of the area of the body where they appear.  Within a couple of days (usually), small vesicles (blisters) will appear, and will start to coalesce into larger blisters.  If you start treatment before the vesicles appear, often they won't appear at all, and the bumps and rash will quickly go away.

Usual treatment is Valtrex - 1gram three times a day for 10 days.

Keep the area covered.  Someone who has never had chicken pox and has not been vaccinated against it, who comes in contact with your vesicles could develop chicken pox. 

Also, the vesicles can often develop secondary infections (another reason to keep them clean and covered). I had shingles for the first time a couple of months ago.   I developed MRSA in one of my vesicles, which was way more painful than the shingles, and it took a lot longer to go away.

I hope you caught it in time, and have an uneventful recovery.


Offline Lou-ah-vull

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  • Posts: 925
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2006, 10:25:29 PM »
Add me to the list of voices...I have had them twice....get on the Valtrex yesterday!  And for heaven's sakes, take all of it...do not even think of stopping it if the outbreak subsides.  Trust me...you want to minimize the effect and every day makes a big difference.

Apparently, cd4 and VL do not predict whether or not you will get shingles.  I also take suppressive medication..acyclovir twice a day...to prevent a third outbreak.

Good luck!

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD

Offline Matty the Damned

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  • Posts: 12,160
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2006, 11:13:49 PM »
And sitz baths, remember to take sitz baths, oy gevalt! I find them most helpful for relieving the discomfort of shingles.

MtD

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2006, 04:29:23 AM »
It was kinda strange though, I'd always hurt that shingles hurt like hell, except when I had 'em it didn't bother me at all, except for the fact that I had this nasty terrible looking thing on one side of my body!

I had the same experience, Corey. There was great discomfort of course and the endless agony of itching when they began to heal, but nothing that I'd call extreme pain.

You might find this info helpful as well, Matt:

The virus that causes chickenpox and shingles remains in your body for life. It stays inactive until a period when your immunity is down. And, when you're older, your defenses ain't what they used to be.

The inactive virus rests in nerve cells near the spine. When it reactivates, it follows a single nerve path to the skin. The shingles rash helps with its diagnosis; the rash erupts in a belt-like pattern on only one side of the body, or it appears on one side of the face. It usually begins as a patch of red dots which become blisters.

Physicians treat shingles with antiviral and pain medications. The antivirals don't cure shingles, but they weaken the virus, reduce the pain and accelerate healing. The antiviral medications work faster if they are started early-within 72 hours from the appearance of the rash.

The disease's name comes from the Latin word cingulum, which means belt. The virus that causes shingles is varicella-zoster, which combines the Latin word for little pox with the Greek word for girdle. In Italy, shingles is often called St. Anthony's fire.

If you have had chickenpox, shingles is not contagious. If you have never had chickenpox, you can catch the virus from contacting the fluid in shingles blisters. However, you will not get shingles, but you could get chickenpox.

The pain of shingles can be severe. If it is strong and lasts for months or years, it is called postherpetic neuralgia. Persistent pain is a common symptom in people over 60. However, most victims of shingles overcome their symptoms in about a month. And the odds are against them getting shingles again.

Outbreaks that start on the face or eyes can cause vision or hearing problems. Even permanent blindness can result if the cornea of the eye is affected. In patients with immune deficiency, the rash can be much more extensive than usual and the illness can be complicated by pneumonia. These cases, while more serious, are rarely fatal.

from http://newsblaze.com/story/20060601075131nnnn.nb/newsblaze/GEEZERCO/Senior-Health.html

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline jinghua

  • Member
  • Posts: 138
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2006, 07:54:42 PM »
 :o thing i hate most at the moment!!! had shingles 2 months ago and i almost wanted to suicide!!! hurt like hell!!!  now it's gone~~~~i'm praying everyday that it won't come back to me again....at least another 2~5 yrs please~~~~~ i hope that you can find a dr and treat that terrible thing!!!  best luck~~~~~   ::)
Live started to change...i wish i can have a better life...

Offline Eldon

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,664
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2006, 11:32:29 PM »
Hello Matt,


Just as everyone has mentioned to you. Get to the Doctor and have him/her make a diagnosis and write a script for some Valtrex. Please DO keep us posted.



Have the BEST Day!

Offline MarkB

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2008, 10:40:24 PM »
Hi all

I have just joined and introduced myself on the recently-diagnosed thread. At the time I was diagnosed I was under tremendous physical and emotional pressure owing to nursing my mother who was dying of lung cancer; caring for my father who has Alzheimer's and trying to find a more supportive environment for him; and trying to hold down a fairly demanding job at distance. Following the death of my mother I developed shingles, which has to rank among the most painful things I've had. I was advised at the HIV clinic that this was directly a result of my infection, but if so, will it recur? And can it recur many times?

Thanks,

Aelwyd

Offline Jeff64

  • Member
  • Posts: 255
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2008, 12:05:32 AM »
Aye,
Shingles majorally suck.
I have had them two or three times. The pain is fucking annoying.

I took Valtrex and the symptoms went away in three of four days...go get some now!

There is light at the end of the tunnel...the pain goes away and you will be normal soon.
Take care,
jeff

Offline Matty the Damned

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  • Posts: 12,160
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2008, 12:08:05 AM »
Hi Aelwyd,

It's fine for you to start your own threads about these things. It makes it easier for us to find them. :)

Shingles isn't specific to HIV positive people, but it is a common condition that we're prone too. Yes it can recur and it can do so many times. Shingles is a recurrance of the virus that causes chicken pox aka varicella zoster.

As you've learned it's very painful. Outbreaks can be controlled by the use of a drug like valacyclovir (valtrex) and you should speak to your doctor about organising a prescription for this in case you have an outbreak in the future. Valtrex can reduce the severity and duration of an outbreak and if taken soon enough before the lesions appear can suppress it altogether.

That said, you may not have another outbreak again. HIV negative people can and do get shingles (though it is rarer for them) and outbreaks are commonly triggered by things like stress so it's no surprise that you copped this after the death of your mother.

I hope this helps.

Fondly,

MtD


Offline MarkB

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2008, 12:31:42 AM »
Thank you both - much obliged.

I haven't heard of Valtrex, but the doc put me on Aciclovir (I think it was). It may have stopped it spreading but it sure didn't stop it hurting ... lol

I wonder what makes us more prone than others to get this? Can we do anything to avoid it?

As ever,

Aelwyd

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2008, 12:54:39 AM »
Acyclovir will do much the same job as Valtrex, though Valtrex tends to work more quickly.

The best way to avoid outbreaks of shingles is to try and minimise the things that can trigger it such as stress. If you have repeated outbreaks of shingles you can take prophylactic valtrex or acyclovir to suppress the zoster virus. That means taken a specified does of the medication daily.

MtD

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2008, 01:02:27 AM »
Acyclovir, Prednisone and good PAIN PILLS, LOTS OF PAIN PILLS. Luke warm baths help but don't put in any soap..

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2008, 01:08:31 AM »
good PAIN PILLS, LOTS OF PAIN PILLS.

Sage advice, worth repeating.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline RapidRod

  • Member
  • Posts: 15,194
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2008, 01:17:21 AM »
Sage advice, worth repeating.

Not that I would take pain pills when not needed. Anyone seen my bottles of Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycodone?

Offline Iggy

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Re: Shingles?
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2008, 11:46:46 AM »
Mr. Shingles adding to the chorus of pain pills.

Offline MarkB

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  • Posts: 292
Re: Shingles?
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2008, 12:16:30 PM »
Thanks to all.

I smiled at reading about avoiding stress wherever possible: being diagnosed HIV+ itself was about as stressful as it gets!  ;D

On the drug front My local GP said that he can't prescribe Valtrex for some reason, and was unwilling to give me an open-ended prescription in any case. If it is better than Acyclovir, I wonder if I can get Valtrex privately anywhere?

Hugs from a dark place,

Aelwyd

 


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