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A mingle with the shingles

Posted Oct 22 2012 6:13pm 1 Comment

This past summer I encountered a serious medical problem. Okay maybe not that serious but it’s an issue that should be made aware to all the adults out there.

On a Thursday morning in July I woke up with a sharp pain in my right side under my breast. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to touch, it just hurt in general. By Thursday afternoon I developed a rash. My mom was away, I told her my symptoms. She told me “it’s probably a heat rash or some kind of infection of the skin” .. My nursing training kicked in and knew immediately this was neither of those two options…

The following day it was worse, the pain was unbearable. Every breath, anything that touched it, and every time I would overheat the pain would shoot from my back to my breast only on my right side. The blisters were becoming more defined.

I knew exactly what this was and I was in complete shock. I had shingles. 

Beginning stage of shingles. This is mild compared to what it does look like as blisters begin to form

I went to the doctor and was immediately started on antivirals and pain medication. The infection cleared up in about 7 days after starting the medication but the pain lasted for about 2 months. If the rash is bad enough the pain can last for years.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. ( source – MayoClinic ). Shingles generally appears in the 60 and older age group. It starts out as a rash and then the blisters will fill with fluid eventually scabbing over. Most commonly, the shingles rash develops as a stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of your torso. Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face. ( Mayoclinic )

Symptoms include: rash, pain, burning, numbness, tingling, itching, fluid filled blisters. The rash only appears in the area in which the virus is dormant and generally on one side of the body.

Many do not understand why the virus reactivates. Typically a decreased immune system is the case. I believe my shingles was triggered by a previous night sickness.

Why am I posting this? Because 1. I’m a nurse and like to educate people about possible health issues and 2. That shingles can affect a younger population.


Did you know about shingles?

Did you have the chicken pox as a kid?

Comments (1)
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Thank you! I'm sorry you had to go through this.

My mother in law had shingles on her forehead & eye area a few years back. It was terrible and so painful. She's a woman who hates to take pain tablets but had to give in when it came to the pain associated with shingles.

She just showed me a big blister under her breast / torso area that has 4 white / yellow puss heads on it. I googled shingles images and your photo came up. I think she might have it again. Off to the doctor we go! 


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