I think I have shingles, how long can I wait before going to the doctor?

Hey all. Last summer I posted something similar here when I had sensitive skin on my arm. That turned out to be nothing; it faded after a couple days. This time, it’s on my stomach. On Wednesday, the skin on my stomach was painfully sensitive, and I figured it would just go away after a few days. It was still sensitive yesterday, and right before I went to bed, I noticed a small patch of bumps was starting to form on the left side of my back.

Today the rash has grown, and now it goes from the left side of my back, across my left side, and across the left side of my stomach. Okay, before everyone freaks out and says, “That’s a huge freaking rash!”, it’s really not - it’s a few patches of red bumps and a few tiny red bumps in that area; the whole area isn’t covered with the rash.

Anyway, I was all set to go to the campus health center tomorrow, but then I found out it’s closed on weekends (arrgh). Can I wait until Monday to go, or should I find a different clinic in Columbus and go immediately? Of course I haven’t been diagnosed with shingles yet, but I figure pain starting before a rash and the rash on only one side of my body are tell-tale symptoms. On the other hand, I don’t fit into any of the risk groups for shingles (I’m 21 and don’t have any immune diseases and I haven’t been under any added stress, so who knows).

What thinkest you guys? I appreciate advice and am interested in hearing some experiences with shingles, even the “oh, it was the worst experience of my life” stories - I just want to know what I’m in for.

Thank you!

I have a friend who had it on his head! He was in serious pain even with prescribed drugs. It took over a year to get rid of them and there was still residue pain.

Of course, YMMV.

It would be in your best interest to go as soon as possible. The sooner you start treating it, the sooner you’ll get rid of it, and the less pain you will have to endure.

If you have had chickenpox you are at risk for shingles. However, according to this site it is usually in people over the age of 60. Also, shingles are contagious, in that somebody who hasn’t been exposed, can get chickenpox (not a good thing for adults). Given that, and the that only about 10% of adults get it, I would hazard a guess, and this is only a guess -IANAD, you probably don’t have shingles.

However, you mention small bumps and someother things that don’t sound normal. You should probably get to your doctor ASAP, it is possible that he would refer you to a dermatologist, but I don’t know. Get to a doctor. No sense in letting a little something turn into a big something.

I thought I’d post an update - I went to the doctor today, and I do have shingles. I got Valtrex, and so I started treating my shingles about 72 hours after the rash first appeared. They say it’s best if you start treating it within 48 hours, but hey, in the space of all time, millions, millions, millions years, 24 hours is nothing, right? Yeah, hmm, well thanks for the advice. Anyone have any other story about shingles? It’s gotten painful; I hope I’m not in for much worse.

I had it at a similar age. The itching was terrible - there were al these watery blisters. I was in a 3rd world country and couldn’t get anything for it, so I had to wait it out. (Turns out there wasn’t much they could do anyway.) But after a while - a month or so - it pretty much died down. I still get the occasional “twinge” around the right back or front (it ignored my left half, mostly). In theory, it’ll come back when I’m old and frail. Good to hear they have something to treat it with these days.

I had shingles on my chest and back once. Go to a doctor now. Very painful.

Poor baby :frowning:

Never had them. I hope you recover quickly!