A Patient’s Guide to Shingles - Prompt treatme... - CLL Support

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A Patient’s Guide to Shingles - Prompt treatment is crucial to avoid severe neurological complications.

Jm954 profile image

Shingles isn't contagious like chickenpox; you can't directly catch shingles from somebody else who has it. Instead, shingles occurs when VZV in your body "wakes up" and reactivates in nerve cells.

Shingles isn't just an adult version of chickenpox. First of all, the appearance is different. It's usually one-sided, with bands of skin rash often confined to either your left or right upper torso. Shingles is painful and the itch is intense and long-lasting.

The impact of shingles can extend beyond skin and scalp rash. If it also affects one side of your face, that can include the eye, posing a threat to your vision. In some cases, you might not even have a rash, as when shingles affects your stomach and gastric system.

In some cases, shingles can leave you with long-lasting effects. Postherpetic neuralgia is a potentially devastating shingles complication. With PHN, your brain and spinal nerves could be damaged. Pain can linger for years. Fortunately, antiviral drugs can treat shingles in its early stages to help avoid complications.

Lots more information about Shingles here - a must read for us CLLers


Take home message is: if you even suspect you might have shingles – you don't see the blisters but you have unexplained pain or itch around your body, most often of the trunk or around the eye – you should see your doctor immediately to get started on antivirals.


12 Replies
AussieNeil profile image

Thanks Jackie. I've added your Shingles post to the pinned post on how knowing more about your immune system could save your life:



Thanks Jackie a useful reminder

I wish I had read this a week ago, I have shingles now. Started on January 19th & at the end of the week the rash appeared. I didn’t really understand shingles until I just read this article. Thank you for posting.

Jm954 profile image
Jm954Administrator in reply to HaloBears6

I’m so sorry to hear this 🙁. I hope you make a quick recovery


HaloBears6 profile image
HaloBears6 in reply to Jm954

Thank you Jackie!

Not sure if this is the right group as I want to ask about shingles. I'm sure I have them at the moment and will see doc tomorrow to confirm or otherwise. I had shingles about 4 years ago but mainly the rash and a very very little pain. Cleared up fine. This time, however, the rash is more extensive, itchy, hot and painful. The other difference is that I feel as if I've pulled a muscle on my left side (although that pain has almost faded) the major pain is a low level pain around where my left kidney is with, at fairly frequent intervals a stabbing pain that almost takes my breath away. The pain seems a bit better when I stand - but I don't feel like standing! Any advice gratefully received. Thanks in adavance

I had them twice too and second time worse. I was told I was healthy and well and I wasn’t. I believe theres some reason it wakes up. I’d get a comprehensive range of blood tests done including T3 and T4. Hope youre better soon x

T3 and T4 as in thyroid function? Interestingly I was recently diagnosed with low thyroxine levels (I've been on thyroxine for over 30 years), possibly allowed the shingles to get the better of me? Not sure. The burning of the rash is driving me up the wall at the moment, hope is subsides soon. Thanks Take care Polly

Jm954 profile image
Jm954Administrator in reply to Polly159

Just get to the doctor Polly and some antivirals if you or he suspects shingles. The sooner it's treated the shorter the episode and the better the outcomeall the best


Polly159 profile image
Polly159 in reply to Jm954

Thanks, Jackie - doc seen, antivirals and painkillers prescribed. The heat in the rash is the real 'sore point', but painkillers obviously help but knock me out. Cold compresses? Doc said only to put moisturiser on it, but not sure if I can do that where (a fairly large ie 3 inch by 1 inch blister has burst) Thanks again Take care Polly

Jm954 profile image
Jm954Administrator in reply to Polly159

You too Polly. I hope it improves soon, I’m not sure about a cold compress on it sounds soothing.

Thanks Jackie. I did have shingles 7 years ago. Must ask about the vaccine.

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