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Author Topic: Could this be shingles?  (Read 2238 times)

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Offline vegaslocal39

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Could this be shingles?
« on: November 15, 2006, 10:44:24 AM »
Every now and then, I start to itch and have stabbing and stinging sensations on one side of my chest or the other.  The feelings sometimes go around to my shoulder blade.  It feels like it's right under the skin.  It usually lasts for about 2 or three days.

Last night it got so bad I couldn't sleep.

I read all I could find about shingles and the symptoms seem right except for one thing....I never develop the rash or the blisters.  It's always just quits hurting/itching/stinging after a couple of days.

Is this how it starts-  flare ups of itching and pain, but no rash, until one day a flare up actually triggers the rash?  Or can I rule out shingles because I have yet to get the rash?

I have a doctor's appointment next week and I will ask, but I thought I'd ask here first.  Anybody else had these sensations without the rash/blisters?

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2006, 11:59:21 AM »
Hi VL,

I have had them several times, the last time in 2004. They are indeed very painful before the 'blisters' break out. I thought I was having a heart attack. I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe that shingles only affects one side of the body, and not bilaterally. The fact that your pain alternates from side to side on your chest doesn't sound to me like it is the shingles, but if it continues I think you certainly need to speak with your doctor about it.

Let us know what you find out.

Hugs,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline thunter34

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2006, 12:07:48 PM »
AlanBama-

I never knew that about the shingles hitting only one side and not the other.  Never heard that before.  I had a case of 'em just last April-  YEE - OUCH  !!!  They hit me on my right shoulder blade.  They came on quickly...I felt a minor itchy-stingy thing on a Sunday night- by noon Monday, I was at the doctor's singing an operatic, "Help Me!"  I've had the sting come back on that same shoulder blade once since then...in a milder form and w/o the blisters.  It went away within a day or two- thank God.  Left a little bit of scarring there, too.

~+
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Offline AlanBama

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2006, 12:22:06 PM »

I got this from Shinglesinfo.com.   It says they are USUALLY on one side, but I don't suppose they necessarily have to be.   

Key Facts About Shingles Shingles, also called herpes zoster (HZ), can be a painful disease that can affect anyone who has had chickenpox. 
 It can start at any time, without warning.
 The first signs of shingles are often felt and may not be seen. These can include: itching, tingling and burning. A few days later a rash of fluid-filled blisters appears, usually on one side of the body or face.

 Sometimes the pain before the rash appears can be confused with other conditions and this can make shingles difficult to diagnose early on.
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline thunter34

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2006, 12:30:18 PM »
Thanks for the information.  I'll go take a peek at that in a minute.  So you have to have had chicken pox at some time earlier to get hit with shingles, huh?  And you are also a potentially contagious threat at the time to those who have NOT had chicken pox, right?  And also to other immuno-compromised folks who've HAD chicken pox...you can potentially trigger shingles in them, is that correct?  I believe that is what I was told at the time.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Ann

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2006, 12:36:27 PM »

According to the shingles lesson here, they only occur on one side at a time.

Ann
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Offline thunter34

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2006, 12:51:33 PM »
Ann and Alan-

I've also heard that they tend to re-occur in the same spot that you get 'em the first time...it becomes a "hotspot" of sorts.  I saw from the lesson that it can trigger chickenpox in those that have NOT had them before.  Do either of you know if the other happens to be true- that you can trigger shingles for other immuno-compromised folks?  I didn't come across mention of that in the lesson.

~Tim
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline franfrog

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2006, 01:05:34 PM »
I had asked my doctor a short time ago about shingles and she stated that they DO in fact only effect one side of the body.
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Offline vegaslocal39

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2006, 01:22:03 PM »
I must not have worded my post correctly.  It's always on one side or the other, not both at the same time.  Today, it's on my right side.

Last week, it was on my left side, and coincidentally, I thought I was having a heart attack because the pain was kind of down deep and not on the outside of my skin.  Then, as it spread and I got itchier, I realized it was not a heart problem.

It sounds like I have the same symptoms that AlanBama had.  It's an itch/stingy thing, but I have yet to get the rash or blisters.  It always goes away in a couple of days.  Then, I forget about it until a few months later when it comes back.

The thing is that there are no outward signs of a problem, so I wasn't sure what to tell my doctor.  Sounds kind of stupid to tell him I have an itch/stingy thing on the right side of my chest.  I know he'll look at it and see nothing.  That's why I wanted to find out if any of you had these symptoms without developing outward signs.

I used some Lanacaine, but that doesn't seem to help.  It's driving me crazy.  Any suggestions?

Offline thunter34

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2006, 01:39:21 PM »
It does not sound stupid at all.  Child, spill it when you go see your doctor!  I tell mine about each and every twitch, itch and ouch when I go.  If it's nothing, great...but ya never know when you might say just the right thing to head something off WAY in advance.  As for me, mine felt just like a bee sting...over & over.  As I said above, I've had the sting return once since then for a few days- but without it leading to a rash.  I wonder if perhaps it's possible that you are just skating really close to an outbreak, but are still managing to fight it off pre-rash or something.  That's what I wondered when I had the sting return that time.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline poet

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 04:57:43 PM »
Starting about two years ago, I have gotten a limited outbreak from stress on the back of my neck.  I can't see there, so can't comment on blisters.  If I have been really stressed, they form a sort of 'vein' if you will, a line of vein running along into an uninfected vein.  It's only a real bother when I need a haricut since I assume that any barber is going to hit it and usually succeeds in doing so.  Win
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Offline thunter34

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2006, 05:20:37 PM »
Yeah- apparently, this is one of those things that is really stress sensitive...HIV or not.  I was having major drama with work and my living situation at the time.  My doctor asked if I had been under unusual stress lately.  When I told him, he said..."Yep".
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline J.R.E.

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2006, 07:29:54 PM »
Hi there,

I had my first outbreak of shingles in 1989, 4 years after I was infected. I believe in my case it was related to stress at the time. What I do know, is it knocked me off my feet for about two weeks, was one of the most painful experiences I had ever gone through. Shingles is related to the chicken pox virus.

In my case, it started with minor itching, and burning, around the abdominal area. Within a day or two, it had started blistering, and started traveling in a line, around my left side, toward the center of my back. Its good that you have a doctor appointment set up. But if it starts worsening and blistering occurs, it is best to get started on treatment, to help prevent a real harsh breakout.


http://www.aidsmeds.com/OIs/Shingles1.htm

Take care of yourself------Ray




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Offline RapidRod

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2006, 08:35:50 PM »
Oh I've had them and did it ever hurt. The quicker you get to the doctor and get on medication the quicker you'll get over it without a worse outcome. If blisters break out, don't scratch them and pop them. You don't want a lot of little scars.

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2006, 09:57:52 PM »
Years before diagnosis, while caring for a partner dying of cancer, the stress brought with it shingles. I thought I'd been bitten, multiply, by a mosquito or spider. Turns out it was a classic presentation of shingles. On the right side of the torso, beginning near mid-abdomen and making a semi-circle to mid-back. The weight of a sheet was unbearable and even a summer's breeze could aggravate and cause pain. My doctor was invaluable in helping me to calm things down internally and topically. As another person posted, try not to scratch to avoid scarring and increasing the pain which can be penetratingly deep pain. Long after the skin heals, pain can still be present. I have, thankfully, had no lasting effects I can attribute to the one-time (thus far) outbreak. Several older women I know have had horrific outbreaks on the neck/face that were excruciatingly painful. Best to run by a doc rather than self-diagnose--I hadn't a clue I was experiencing shingles.

Offline Eldon

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2006, 10:14:20 PM »
Hello Vegaslocal39,

When you go to your Doctor, do not withold any information from him. It can assist him with making a proper diagnosis of your situation. In fact, if the problem persits you need to see a Doctor as soon as possible in order to start preventive treatment.



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Offline tsw923

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2006, 12:56:02 AM »
Hey there -- I had shingles earlier this year.  Very painful because they showed up, you guessed it, on my rear end -- YIKES!!! I woke up one more and took a shower and was like 'what the heck is this rash?'  That was the day I took my dad in for his biopsy for the lung cancer... so I'm sure it was stress-related.   I went to the doctor myself and was diagnosed with shingles.  I also had the piercing pain on the left side (where the rash was) in my leg.  I was out for 2 weeks...Good thing I like to sleep on my stomach  8)

Definitely go see your doctor and tell him EVERYTHING.  Better safe than sorry...Good luck!



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Offline dgls44

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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2006, 02:19:16 AM »
~
« Last Edit: December 24, 2006, 01:20:56 AM by dgls44 »

Offline vegaslocal39

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Re: Could this be shingles?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2006, 11:28:31 AM »
I sure appreciate all your advice!  The itching and stinging seems to be subsiding some today.  I slept better last night, only waking up a couple of times.  Again, no rash, no blisters.

I'll talk to my doctor about it next week, since I didn't develop any outward symptoms.  From what a couple of you have said, it sounds like it is possible to get the itching/stinging/pain, without actually developing the rash and blisters.  That's what I really wanted to know....thanks!


 


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