Shingles? At MY age??

  1. As if having the flu hasn't been miserable enough, I now have an outbreak of shingles on my back. WTH?? I'm only 45.......why on earth am I dealing with this now?

    So far, it's not too painful.......the rash is more itchy and irritating than anything else......and the Urgent Care folks put me on Famvir, so hopefully it won't last too long. But now I'm wondering about work---I'm due to go back tomorrow---should I take care of patients when I've got an active case of this crazy stuff? And how dangerous might it be for my co-worker who's 8 months pregnant?

    Of all things......sigh.......
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   nurseygrrl
    I don't think you should be going to work with an active case of shingles. I work in LTC and I know for sure my infection control nurse would beat me senseless if I came to work with shingles! :chuckle

    I am so sorry for you, that really stinks! If I were in your shoes, I'd call work and see what they say. I can sympathize...I've been virus sick for 5 days now and my daughter woke up today with a rash on her face and me with one everywhere but my face. We went to the doc, and we have Fifth Disease! I managed to go my whole life without it until now. I haven't been to work and luckily, because this virus is highly contagious. I'm going back tomorrow because my doc said once you get the rash, you're no longer contagious, but I feel like crud still.

    Again, I'm sorry you got shingles...just be thankful they aren't bad! {{{hugs}}}
  4. by   Ortho_RN
    I got them at 22... Which I thought was rather odd... But the doctor told me that if I was stressed than that could be all it took for it to come out. All I can say is it was the most painful thing I have ever had. Horrible...

    I didn't think Shingles was contagious?????
  5. by   debRN0417
    Quote from mjlrn97
    As if having the flu hasn't been miserable enough, I now have an outbreak of shingles on my back. WTH?? I'm only 45.......why on earth am I dealing with this now?

    So far, it's not too painful.......the rash is more itchy and irritating than anything else......and the Urgent Care folks put me on Famvir, so hopefully it won't last too long. But now I'm wondering about work---I'm due to go back tomorrow---should I take care of patients when I've got an active case of this crazy stuff? And how dangerous might it be for my co-worker who's 8 months pregnant?

    Of all things......sigh.......
    Sorry about your shingles! Pretty painful would be an understatement, huh... One of my co-workers had shingles and was out for 2 weeks. She was told not to return until the scabs came off...
    hope you are better soon!
  6. by   Gompers
    Yep, shingles is contagious to anyone who hasn't had the chicken pox, and also to immunosupressed folks. It's caused by the varicella virus that is dormant in your body, so when it strikes again you shed the virus. It's not AS contagious as full-out chicken pox, but it IS contagious. You definitely don't want to be around the pregnant coworker, even if she's had the chicken pox. So probably no work for at least a week. If you worked in a small office and knew everyone's health history, maybe...but definitely not a hospital!!! I forget how long it's contagious, but you really need to be cleared by occupational health before you go back.

    My boyfriend's roommate got the shingles last month, so I had to talk to the docs at work about it. They said it was fine for me to be around him since I've had the pox and have a good immune system. But of course, they said, if it was ME with the shingles I would be forced to stay home.

    They put him on Valtrex to knock out the virus, and vicoden for the pain.

    I hope you feel better soon!!!
  7. by   LittleCatB
    Quote from mjlrn97
    As if having the flu hasn't been miserable enough, I now have an outbreak of shingles on my back. WTH?? I'm only 45.......why on earth am I dealing with this now?
    <snipped your post>

    My very healthy (but stressed) 26 yr. old sister got the shingles on her *face*... Her reaction was the same as yours! She's a 1st grade teacher and her doctor told her she could go into work... That didn't seem right to me? everything I read about it said it was contagious.

    I hope it clears up for you ASAP!
  8. by   Gompers
    LittleCatB - I wonder if maybe the school thing is okay because of some kind of immunization rule? Do they require that all kids have the varicella vaccine if they haven't had chicken pox before entering grade school? Maybe this is the reason they let her go to work. Ideas, anyone?
  9. by   phn92
    I know in our state, varicella will be required for Kindergarden and 1st grade starting 2004-2005 school year. I wouldn't want to go to work, esp in a school because of the chance of secondary infections. My husband's grandmother had shingles when she was about 98 years old. She is almost 102 and still has pain from them! I feel sorry for anyone who gets them!
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thank you all for your advice and your kind words......I checked with our employee health nurse today, and he cleared me to come in to work as long as I keep the lesions covered. Now, if I can just get rid of this stinkin' little 100.3 degree temp.......but at least I feel like I'm going to live. I've even managed to stay up all day today, and I finally got to wash my hair.....oh, how wonderful it is to feel clean all over!

    I'll just make sure to go to bed early tonight and get lots of rest, keep up the Tylenol Q 4 hrs., and try to eat a little more tonight and tomorrow so I'll have some energy to get through my shift.

    It's the little things, I tell you..........you just don't appreciate feeling good until you get really, really sick! I still don't have much get-up-and-go, nor do I feel much like eating, but I'm sooooooo much better than I was even two days ago that I want to celebrate!! :hatparty:
  11. by   CappucinoMama
    My Anatomy instructor who is 36/37 dealt with the same thing last semester on the side of her face and under her arm..I felt so bad for her. My classmates and I could see the pain she was in...
    Hope you get past this soon..I can only imagine your discomfort with this...
    Sending good vibes to get well soon.
  12. by   mitchsmom
    My lab partner last semester, who is 38, got shingles at the end of the semester, right after our assessment teacher said we should not ever go to work with any herpes-family virus happening. My partner was also then told she could not come in to work (at a hospital as a pct) until it was done. She also got an antiviral med, especially since she was due for a hysterectomy like a week after she came down with it.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    In OB we have to leave if we develop shingles. We had a doctor and a nurse who both contracted it and were not allowed to return for several days. It is NOT good to be around pregnant women and newborns when you are in the early stages of shingles. Be careful. Tell your coworker what's going on so she can alert her OB. I hope you get to feeling better VERY soon! it's miserable, I know.
  14. by   stsdoc
    Quote from Gompers
    Yep, shingles is contagious to anyone who hasn't had the chicken pox, and also to immunosupressed folks. It's caused by the varicella virus that is dormant in your body, so when it strikes again you shed the virus. It's not AS contagious as full-out chicken pox, but it IS contagious. You definitely don't want to be around the pregnant coworker, even if she's had the chicken pox. So probably no work for at least a week. If you worked in a small office and knew everyone's health history, maybe...but definitely not a hospital!!! I forget how long it's contagious, but you really need to be cleared by occupational health before you go back.

    My boyfriend's roommate got the shingles last month, so I had to talk to the docs at work about it. They said it was fine for me to be around him since I've had the pox and have a good immune system. But of course, they said, if it was ME with the shingles I would be forced to stay home.

    They put him on Valtrex to knock out the virus, and vicoden for the pain.

    I hope you feel better soon!!!
    Actually, if I'm not mistaken, you can only get shingles if you've had the chickenpox. If you haven't had chickenpox, you can get chickenpox (but not shingles) from a person who has shingles. Whew! In other words, the virus has to already be dormant in a person (via chickenpox) for them to develop shingles later on.

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