Posted 08-09-2003 at 23:25:12
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OK, shingles only show up on one side of the body and they do spread down one side of the body only. The amount of spread and the extent of the pain and symptoms varies from person to person.
Shingles are a form of herpesvirus. When a person has Chicken Pox, usually early in life, the herpesvirus that caused the Chicken Pox never really goes away. It crawls up the nerve endings to the root & hides there, only to reappear in some folks later in life as Shingles. Same virus, different presentation. Usually Shingles appear after the age of 50, but some folks get them at a younger age.
The part that frustrated me so very much was when I had an outbreak, and then discovered I could get them all over again. And, unfortunately that has happened more than once over the past two years.
If caught very early, a prescription anti-viral med such as Zovirax can help to minimize the outbreak and to prevent further outbreaks if your doctor decides to keep you on the medication. This is something to discuss with your doctor.
The over the counter anti-inflammatories can help to lessen pain. Since this is a virus, it's going to have to run its course, and that can take about 6 weeks. Don't be afraid to ask for stronger pain meds if needed. The pain comes from the nerves, and can be severe.
Please make sure your husband knows not to touch the lesions and then rub his eye. I've seen a couple of cases in elderly patients of Shingles that had spread to the eye and that's extremely painful. The same goes for cold sore blisters. They can be spread to the eye. And, honestly, I'm not sure if the Shingles would have appeared in the patients' eyes or if they were spread by touch. I do know for sure the herpesvirus that causes cold sores can be spread to the eye by touch.
One more caution. A person with an active outbreak of Shingles can actually give Chicken Pox to a person who has never had Chicken Pox before. So, keep that in mind before holding that new little grandchild or great-grandchild, or having contact with any child who might be susceptible.
I hope your husband gets through this with a minimum of discomfort. IF he's in misery, don't let your doctor brush it off. There are some meds that can help, although never as much as we would wish.