Have you suffered stiffness of the neck in the few days preceding the rash?
I get mild attacks of shingles quite frequently (associated with stress and tiredness) - I’ve probably had 50 incidents of it in my life - all of them characterised by: stiff, sore neck, mild fever/cold/flu symptoms, then a small amount of rash a few days later - uncomfortable, but never desparately so.
I stopped going to the doctor after the first half a dozen outbreaks, because I knew what to expect.
Shingles is a reemergence of the same virus that causes chicken pox. The virus remains dormant in nerve ganglions and can pop up, causing a rash which can be quite painful due to the fact that the nerves are infected. I had it once. The classic symptoms are rash around the midsection, although I suppose they could be anywhere. The most severe cases involve rash on the face which can result in paralysis.
Antiviral treatment for shingles may shorten the course of the disease by a small amount but won’t cure it. It’s not at all the same as taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection.
I had an outbreak when I was younger that, although annoying, was not notably painful; at least it was not anything like people describe. The side effects of the antiviral used to treat it, on the other hand, pretty much took me out.
If it’s been 2 days since initial symptoms, wouldn’t it be too late for anti-viral meds to do any good? That’s what I was told when I had shingles. (The doctor wrote a prescription but warned me not to expect much improvement from it. I didn’t bother to get it filled.)
It wasn’t that bad for me, a dry prickly pain on the skin, some mild malaise, that was about it. I was in my late 30s which I’m sure helped - I hear it tends to be much worse for older people.
Shingles attacked my forehead and left eye. I nearly lost it. I was on prednisone eye drops for 11 years. My ophthalmologist took me off them several times. I’d do fine for three or four months then the virus attached the eye again. Everything went fuzzy and my eye hurt. I had to go back on the eye drops (3 times a day). It usually took three or four days before my vision returned to normal. I’d take a daily maintenance drop to keep it from returning.
I’ve been off them this time two years. But I’ve been warned the virus could still attack the eye.
I’ve got permanent scaring on my cornea and a cataract developed when I was only 50. I’ll need surgery in another year or two.
Keep in mind that even though you find the symptoms bearable, you are capable of spreading the virus during an outbreak. Please take appropriate precautions around people who have not been vaccinated or who have not previously had chicken pox.
I get a shingles attack a couple of times a year.
There is no pain or itching.
According to the unpleasant but informative poster at the doctor’s office, I have a mild case. The pictures of moderate and severe make me cringe at the memory.
I take anti-viral meds when I get an attack. It clears up the blisters in 14 days rather than the two weeks it takes without the meds. Kind of like a cold…
In my last attack, the Nurse Practitioner didn’t believe I had a shingles attack because for the first time it effected both legs. All previous attacks had in fact been limited to one limb, but I didn’t know that was a major symptom. However, everything else pointed to shingles, so that is what I am convinced I had.
AFAIK shingles always has some level of pain but how much varies widely. When my wife had it, it was annoying. But a friend of ours was almost debilitated by his attack. See your Doc and go with what he determines.
Reporting in: Urgent care doc dx’d as poison oak and I got some RX creme (antibiotics are really hard on my tummy).
This morning I realized that the rash really looks like a jellyfish attack. I got jellied in San Diego about 20 years ago; maybe a jelly snuck into Central NJ (sans waterways) and launched a sneak attack.
Thanks for the advices and warnings. Since I’m of the age stuff like shingles start to appear I will be on the alert in future – I had no idea it could be so serious!
Insurance companies usually won’t cover it unless you are at least 55 (maybe 60) and it’s expensive.
Glad you got a positive ID. Although antibiotics wouldn’t come into play unless you got a secondary infection; poison oak is an autoimmune reaction. In severe cases, they would prescribe a course of steroids (I once had a poison ivy rash that covered my forearms and started to spread to other parts of my body; got a course of prednisone.)
I assume you’re joking; jellyfish stings are toxins–no vaccines for that.