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How is Shingles spread? I've been reading about Shingles and have seen kind of contradictory information as to whether it can be spread through the air? Is it ever airborne or is it only passed by contact with the blisters?
It is very simple to read, and really explains things well.
It's part of the herpes virus. It can be gotten thru contact with the person/carrier. Being around children with chicken pox, or elderly with a case can give it to whoever may be suseptible to getting them.
My mother just had shingles. Her doctor said that you get it from touching the open sores. She had to keep away from anyone who had not had chickenpox yet.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. If you ever had chicken pox, you may get shingles or may not.
Hi, I had shingles twice. What pain! I worked at a day school and if you carry the chicken pox virus you are susceptible to them. So I was around small kids, the doctor said I carried the pox virus even though I had the chicken pox very young. They lay dormant so now I have the after pain which is the nerve endings in the spine. So every now and then I have to have the virus medication. Hope you are ok, I sincerely know the pain is horrible and the blisters take forever to heal. Oatmeal baths work great too.
As a person who had shingles last year, I can tell you that they are not contagious. One MUST previously have had chicken pox. The herpes zoster virus (chicken pox) lies dormant in your system, usually forever, but if it surfaces, one will get shingles. My doctor said that the older one gets, the more likely for them to surface, that there are many causes for this, stress being a prime factor. Older people are prone to stress because of illness, finances, deaths, etc. There is now a vaccine out there, but usually only given to those over 60, and many insurances do not yet cover it. The out-of-pocket cost is around $200.00. Like other vaccines, it does not guarantee you will not get shingles, but the likelihood is much, much less. I did not have severe pain, but many people suffer terribly.
I don't know how I got them,but they were the most painful thing I have ever had. ( Even childbirth as it didn't last as long) The first time I had a small rash on my back just under the shoulder blade( Eight weeks ) . The second time ,there was no rash anywhere to be seen...Found out after EIGHT Months, they were on the inside.If I hadn't had a great Pharmacist who told my husband to get me a new DR. And he sent me to get 4 shots( in my back) ,one a month to get rid of them. That 8 months was a nightmare.
At times rolling on the floor in pain. Many times to the ER for pain shots that didn't help much. There is a vacine now available...People are advised to get it....I'm still waiting. I pity the ones who are suffering from this horrible virus.Check with your Dr. The shots vary in price. $160 to $204 that I know of. But believe me it is worth it!! GG Vi
I had shingles when I was I was in 7th grade and again when I was a freshman in high school. I am now 49 years old. I have never had chicken pox and my mother was told that was the reason for my sufferring with shingles. I stayed in so much pain, I had to be tutored at home. It took several doctors, months and some painful procedures, for them to find out what was wrong with me. As for the rash, It usually went away after a couple of days and that is when the pain would start. MY areas were on my back, around my ribcage.
One more thing about Shingles. The younger you are when you first have it, the less painful this form will be. In other words, if you first get them when you are 70 or so, this outbreak will be much more painful that if you first have them when you are 40. It seems to be protective somehow.
It is possible to have such a mild case of chicken pox that one doesn't know they have had them. It is also possible to have chicken pox more than once. I did not believe that until my sons had them - twice. The second time was far more severe.
Also, the shingles blisters look like chicken pox.
There is a vaccine for chicken pox. I would advise anyone with children to get this for them. Chicken pox is not a "harmless childhood disease".
And just to recap -- from the site above -- you don't catch shingles. You already have the virus inside your body, and it can be activated by stress, etc. Nothing to fool around with. My aunt had shingles on the inside of her spine, and eventually this left her partially paralyzed so that she was in a wheelchair.
Lithium is a preventative for shingles. It helps to keep the virus in check, and boosts the immune system. You can buy low dose lithium over the counter at health food stores, or online. Search for lithium aspartate, or lithium orotate. The amount of elemental lithium in each tablet or capsule is about 5 mgs. Probably 2 a day would help, and would not be excessive or require blood tests to monitor blood levels or kidney function. It is good for your brain too.
You must have chicken pox prior to having shingles. They are not contagious, however you can give someone chicken pox from your shingles if they have never had chicken pox. Shingles is a miserable illness! Mine started on my right tonsil and moved from there to the roof of my mouth, to my lip, to my nose, and on its way up my cheek toward my ear. The worst pain I have ever had. All this in the space of about 1-1/2 days. The doctor prescribed a medicine also used to treat herpes simplex since they are in the same family; in 24 hours I started to see the damage reverse, by week's end all but residual scarring was gone. If you suspect shingles see a doctor immediately, because otherwise you can suffer nerve pain indefinitely after the illness has cleared, or even vision or hearing damage depending on which nerve ending cluster the disease has followed. Chicken pox is bad, but its sister shingles is definitely worse! By the way, chicken pox itch terribly, and shingles just HURT!
After researching all that I could find online, and reading the sometimes contradictory responses on this forum, I'm feeling that there's a lot of misinformation on this. One person says you can only get shingles if you first had chickenpox and another says they got it when they never had chickenpox. One person says you can't catch shingles, another says you can. I'm going to continue researching.
Editor's Note: Here's a good link that explains it:
How long do the pimples last when you have shingles? How long does the pain continue?
I'm considering getting this shingles vaccine since I'm over 60. Have you had any kind of reaction to this vaccine?
I am looking for information on Shingles.
By Anna from Pensacola, FL
What is shingles?
Shingles ( herpes zoster) is a viral infection of the nerve roots. It causes pain and often causes a rash on one side of the body, the left or right. The rash appears in a band, a strip, or a small area. Shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.
What causes shingles?
Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.
You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. But a person with a shingles rash can spread chickenpox to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine.
What are the symptoms?
Shingles symptoms happen in stages. At first you may have a headache or be sensitive to light. You may also feel like you have the flu but not have a fever.
Later, you may feel itching, tingling, or pain in a certain area. Thats where a band, strip, or small area of rash may occur a few days later. The rash turns into clusters of blisters. The blisters fill with fluid and then crust over. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for the blisters to heal, and they may leave scars. Some people only get a mild rash, and some do not get a rash at all.
Its possible that you could also feel dizzy or weak, or you could have long-term pain or a rash on your face, changes in your vision, changes in how well you can think, or a rash that spreads. If you have any of these problems from shingles, call your doctor right away.
How is shingles treated?
There is no cure for shingles, but treatment may help you get well sooner and prevent other problems. Call your doctor as soon as you think you may have shingles. The sooner you start treatment, the better it works. Treatment may include:
Antiviral medicines to help you get well sooner and feel less pain.
Medicines to help long-term pain. These include antidepressants, pain medicines, and skin creams.
Good home care can help you feel better faster. Take care of any skin sores, and keep them clean. Take your medicines as directed. And use over-the-counter pain medicines to relieve pain.
Avoid contact with people until the rash heals. While you have shingles, you can spread chickenpox to people who have never had chickenpox and who haven't gotten the chickenpox vaccine. Be extra careful to avoid people with weak immune systems and pregnant women and babies who have never had chickenpox and have never gotten the vaccine.
Who gets shingles?
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. You have a greater chance of getting shingles if you: 1
Are older than 50.
Have an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your body's own tissues.
Have another health problem or stress that weakens the immune system.
If you have never had chickenpox and have not gotten the chickenpox vaccine, avoid touching someone who has shingles or chickenpox. If you are at least 60 years old, you can get a vaccine that may prevent shingles or make it less painful if you do get it.
I had Shingles for the first time after a leg surgery left me with nerve damage, and I can tell you it can be very painful.
There was an article in our paper recently regarding a vaccine against shingles called Zostavax. You have to be over a certain age but I don't remember how old you have to be.
You can either get it at your pharmacy and then take it to your doctor, or some pharmacies such as some Walgreens, are letting pharmacists do the vaccinations.