Shingles, no I am not talking about roofing shingles!

Husband started complaining of pain in his arm and chest area and feeling very weak. His pain tolerance is good, so we all (family) became concerned. Took him to the emergency room on Friday night (2 weeks ago) and every test they did came back, ok. The physician thought maybe it could be cellulitis.

Cellulitis is a common and sometimes painful bacterial skin infection. It may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling can spread quickly. It most often affects the skin of the lower legs, although the infection can occur anywhere on a person’s body or face.>health>cellulitis.

We were sent home with husband on an antibiotic. The following Wednesday he was in such pain he could barely stand it and I noticed the start of a rash on his chest. We then went to our physician and he said you have SHINGLES!. Oh boy what a shock. First thing asked did you have the shingles vaccine? Yes he did, but it was the older vaccine, not the one they recommend now. Apparently the older vaccine was not as effective as the one currently being given.

Shingles -The virus that causes shingles, varicella zoster virus (VZV) can spread from a person with active shingles and cause chickenpox in someone who had never had chickenpox or received chickenpox vaccine.

VZV spreads through direct contact with fluid from the rash blisters.

Most people who develop shingles have only one episode during their lifetime. However, you can get the disease more than once.

A person with active shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. You are not infectious before the blisters appear. Once the rash crusts, you are no longer infectious.

VZV from a person with shingles is less contagious than the virus from someone with chickenpox. The risk of spreading the virus is low if you cover the shingles rash.

To prevent spreading VZV to others:

  • Cover the rash.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the rash.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid contact with the following people until your rash crusts:
    • pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine;
    • premature or low birth weight infants; and
    • people with weakened immune systems, such as people receiving immunosuppressive medications or undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, and people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
  • The information on shingles came from>shingles>about transmission
  • Content source: National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases. Page last reviewed July 1, 2019.

The pain and itching are very very bad with shingles. On a scale of 1-10 as my husband says the pain itself is at least a 7 or higher. Most of the time higher. The itching on a scale of 1-10 is at least a 15. He has had a miserable couple of weeks so far. The rash is finally scabbing. He has done lots of resting, drinking fluids, taking pain medicine and an antiviral medication. Recovery can be slow and each case is different.

Check with your physician when you are getting near retirement age about the shingles vaccine. Educate yourself. Usually younger adults do not get shingles, but apparently that has been changing in the past few years.

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