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If you are currently in a lot of stress, you probably need to see this.
Do you know someone who had shingles?
I had one this year and just to set the record straight — I am not proud of it.
In this article, I would like to share with you my awful experience with shingles. So what is it?
Shingles is an infectious disease that causes an agonizing rash. It commonly appears in either the right or left side torso of a person. For some people especially the elderly, shingles can be on the face.
I bet you have heard about chickenpox. Actually, shingles is closely related to chickenpox in a way that only people who experienced it will likely to get shingles. That said, anyone who gets shingles had a case of chickenpox first.
Below, you will see images of me when I had my shingles (from day 1 to day 15.) You will see all the pictures as you scroll down or read through.
Just to clarify, nobody can have shingles without having been infected with chickenpox and you cannot catch shingles from anyone nor give shingles to other people.
Is shingles contagious? Answer is yes. Shingles is contagious till the last blister has scabbed over or healed, so a person with shingles can pass the virus to anybody who is not immune to chickenpox. This happens through direct contact with the open sores of shingles blisters. When someone gets infected, the person will have chickenpox and NOT shingles. So it is not shingles to shingles but shingles to chickenpox.
Now, the big question is “how can someone gets shingles”?
I did some research about this matter when I had shingles and with all the plethora of information I read, I found out that there is no clear answer to the question. The reason of how we develop shingles is still unknown. However, with the pattern of experiences from people who had histories of shingles, the primary triggering factor is stress.
Stress is the culprit.
So for instance you had chickenpox during childhood (though you fully recovered, the chickenpox virus will remain (temporarily) inactive in the nervous system like a sleeping lion) ➝ say you become extremely stressed or burned out about a lot of things during this pandemic ➝ your body’s immune system weakens and the chickenpox virus (sleeping lion) suddenly wakes up ➝ the chickenpox virus reactivates and travels along the body and develops shingles.
I remember when I was experiencing a lot of stress, that was when my body shut down and got shingles. I felt like the sudden illness was a warning sign of my body.
When our mind is not in good state like we lack sleep, not eating properly, no exercise, constantly overthinking and worrying — the effects of all that are slowly building up until our immune system debilitates and our body shuts down.
This is cliché but we really need to limit the stress in our lives in order to function physically and mentally.
If you have never experienced chickenpox yet in your entire life then your odds of getting shingles is zero. However, if you have not been vaccinated with chickenpox vaccine and you come in contact with someone who has shingles (*fluid or pus from the shingles blisters) then you are likely to get infected with chickenpox.
This is why it is vital to get both the chickenpox vaccine to prevent this infectious disease. Chickenpox vaccine is given in two doses, and it is effective at preventing the disease. Thus making you unsusceptible to having shingles too in the future. Though they are closely linked, vaccination for both are different.
These two are partners in crime. They come from the same virus but they are not exactly the same. They differ in some manifestations especially with the severity of the symptoms.
Differences Between Chickenpox and Shingles:
– Chickenpox typically affects children whereas Shingles infect adults especially the elderly
– Shingles turn into excruciating blisters while chickenpox rashes/blisters are itchy
– Shingles blisters are much more itchier than chickenpox
– Chickenpox usually appears on the face, back, chest, and spreads over the whole body but shingles commonly found in one side of the torso (either left or right)
– Blisters in shingles are fewer than that of chickenpox
– Chickenpox is not known to be painful (it is very itchy) while shingles is known to be both painful and itchy
– Overall, chickenpox is less severe than shingles
Back in December of last year, I was down in the dumps for some reasons. I was worried about a lot of things and was overthinking. I am a worrier, so I had a hard time coping with some shit in my life — plus the pandemic situation that seems never-ending.
Fast forward to 17th of January where I felt unwell and noticed some rashes on the left side of my torso — that was when my nightmare began.
The shingles blisters became worse and worse each day. I had fever, headache, body malaise (weakness), and loss of appetite. I was also very irritable at the time since the rashes started to become more painful. It is true that they are similar to chickenpox but you know what — shingles are way worse than that. The burning itch and intense pain are incomprehensible — you would want to soak yourself on a boiling water.
On January 18th I went to the hospital for checkup and here’s the prescription I got:
I was prescribed with the following:
- Aciclovir (Zoverax) 200 mg tablet — 1 tablet 5 times a day — for treatment of viral infections
- Tramadol (Algesia) 32.5/325 g tablet — 1 tablet 3 times a day as needed — for pain
I am not sure if these meds worked out well for me at the time I had shingles, but I would like to think it did coz my agony only lasted for about 2 weeks.
Every day was a torture when I had my shingles coz the itching sensation and pain gets worse over time. It took about two weeks before the blisters scabbed over. When the blisters became dried, they were no longer itchy and painful, so I got back to my usual routine.
I am confident that the reason why my shingles did not last longer than two weeks was due to the prescribed medications I took. If I did not go to a doctor, I would not been cured sooner.
Sample scenarios about shingles:
To anybody who is currently suffering from shingles, I strongly suggest that you seek medical help so that you will be given a prescription. Over-the-counter meds will not be a good idea if you wish to treat yourself asap.
You might see some articles on the web talking about home treatments of shingles but that does not mean you have to completely rely on self medication. Shingles is a disgusting disease and can be deadly. If left untreated, it can spread to other organs in the body or cause serious complications.
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website, or in any linked materials. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call medical help now.
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