Working with shingles? - page 2

I found out today that I have shingles. I will be calling my supervisor in the morning, but I was wondering what your hospital's policy is on whether or not you are allowed to work with a shingles... Read More

  1. by   CTstudent
    Is shingles like chicken pox where you only get it once? I wouldn't advise you to go in especially working with babies.
  2. by   oramar
    Quote from FNimuaeMae
    I had the shingles about 3 years ago when I still worked med/surg. I only had it on my torso; I caught it really early and got on the antivirals quickly. I never developed pain, it was just itchy. I hadn't a clue how my workplace would be and in the end they let me work because it was only on my torso, and therefore covered up. It was wierd. I can't imagine how it would be now with the various immune compromised people I work with...can't imagine how it would be with working with babies!:uhoh21:

    Missy
    In my post I said "most places"
    won't let you work. I used that term because I have seen managment come up with some strange exceptions when it pleases them to it. The situation that you describe is exactly what I was thinking about.
  3. by   hollyvk
    Quote from CTstudent
    Is shingles like chicken pox where you only get it once? I wouldn't advise you to go in especially working with babies.
    Shingles is an acute eruption of vesicles (usually preceded by a rash and itchiness in the area) of the varicella-herpes zoster virus that the person was initially infected with by having chickenpox. After the initial infection, the virus takes up residence in nerve roots and can reactivate years later when something impacts the immune system. You can have multiple outbreaks of shingles.

    My mother had an outbreak at age 70 on her neck. The acute nerve pain continued after the vesicles healed and after finding the pain medicines weren't very effective, she had acupuncture treatment for the pain, which worked quite well for her.

    Infection-wise, as long as the person has vesicles, they are capable of spreading the virus and thus should not be working with patients.

    HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD
  4. by   1wiseRN
    You need to check with the hospital's employee health and Infection Control Nurse. They can help make a decision based on the hospital policies and CDC guidelines.

    You may find the pain will get worse over the next few days before it gets better. Ask the PCP about Lidoderm patches. It comes in sheets of fabric that are impregnated with Lidocaine. They can be worn up to 8 hours at a time. They are great for pain relief.

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