Thursday, November 2, 2017


Facade Cladding, Shingle, Wood Shingles  This particular post is about a disease that supposedly only strikes those over the age of 60 but it turns out, that is not quite true.  I say not quite true is because I got shingles a few years ago and so did my niece when she was 23.  Both of us are under that magic number.

When I got it, the first thing I felt was a pain in the side of my lower back.  It felt as if I pulled a muscle but it didn't go away.  Pretty soon, I developed a rash, so I used everything I could to get rid of it.  The only thing that worked was baby diaper rash cream. 

I wasn't able to get to the doctor for a couple of weeks.  By then, it started to heal and felt much better.  I only mentioned it to my doctor because I was in for my annual physical. He looked at the healing rash and said "shingles".  That surprised me because I thought only old people got it.  I actually had to read up on it since i didn't know anything about it.

Apparently, shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.  If you've had chickenpox, the virus is left in your body, specifically in your nerve endings where it remains until something causes it to become active.  It manifests itself as a rash in the are of the nerve endings.  Basically if you have had chickenpox, you could have shingles and age does not matter.

In addition, if you've never had chickenpox, it is possible to get it from someone who has a current outbreak of shingles if they come in contact with the fluid in shingle blisters.  The early symptoms include headaches, sensitivity to light, and symptoms similar to getting the flu but without the flu.  Later on, the rash breaks out, usually on one side of the body, after itching, tingling, or pain.

The rash usually spreads from the back around to the front in a band, following the pathway of the nerve.  It can also break out on the face or around the eye which can be extremely dangerous.  In addition more than one band can break out at once.  The blistery part of the rash can last 5 days but it can take from two to four weeks for the rash to completely heal.  It is possible the rash could leave scars.

What increases a person's risk for having an outbreak of shingles includes having had chickenpox, being older than 50, having a weakened immune system from some other disease such as diabetes, or HIV, being under stress or suffering some sort of trauma, or taking certain medications.  The only real risk I had at the time was being under a ton of stress and I was in both good shape and good health.  Even now, when I suffer from stress, I notice a bit of a pain in the same area my shingles started originally.

It is especially important to visit a doctor if shingles breaks out on your face especially near the eye because the rash could cause issues with your vision.  Although there is a vaccination to prevent shingles, it is not guaranteed to prevent a person from getting shingles.  It is said to reduce the symptoms a person gets and its effectiveness is uncertain after five years.

From what I can tell, I had a very mild case since the band of rash was quite narrow and I only had a few blisters.  It didn't cause me any real pain, nor did I require any time off but my niece indicated she had a more severe case.

Why am I sharing this with you?  To let you know that shingles can hit anyone regardless of age or health. The only thing is required is to have had chickenpox and be under stress or any of the other risks.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from others, especially if you had an outbreak of shingles.  Have a great day.

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