Shingles: Oh wise ones - please give me some advice... - PMRGCAuk


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Oh wise ones - please give me some advice. I am due to spend my usual Wednesday with my almost 98 year old mother tomorrow but I’ve just phoned her to confirm arrangements only to be told she has developed shingles, poor thing.

Now, I’ve just been reading up about it and it seems to me that you can’t catch shingles from someone else. I had chickenpox as a child so I have the virus lurking in me, but I did have the shingles vaccination just three weeks ago. I am now down to 1/2 mg pred a day and feeling as well as I have done for about 3 years, but I guess my immunity is still compromised - or is it? Should I go and see her? She will be even more miserable if I don’t. Help!

And I need to take a chicken to the vet first......

Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


14 Replies

OMG I can’t think of a sadder dilemma. Having had the worst case of Shingles ever (I’m sure) pre PMR obviously, I have to say, if she has all her mental faculties - she will surely understand. I would never wish for any of my children what I went thru. (Told my doctor that if I got it again, put me in the hospital & induce a coma.) You certainly can’t visit her while she has active blisters. But I’m no medical expert - ask PMR Pro about the “miracle vaccine”. I wouldn’t want to be the first to test it out!! You are soooo close! I wouldn’t risk it. She can use a very lightweight soft tee shirt or nighty or what’s appropriate. Mine has holes as I couldn’t stand ANYTHING TOUCHING MY SKIN! for the entire time. I wore it for 3 months straight. I will never give it up.

As long as she has someone to make her oatmeal, don’t feel guilty about not visiting. I lived on Trader Joe’s Cranberry oatmeal & dry roasted unsalted peanuts for the 3 months. I wish you success in coming off & joining our famed ‘Club Zero’. (Not there yet myself)

In tears & God bless you both!


As far as I know shingles is infectious to people who have never had chicken pox. If they come in contact with fluid from the blisters they can catch chicken pox. You've already had chicken pox so you should be immune to a new infection by the virus. Shingles is a result of the virus already present in the body flaring up. You don't actually catch shingles from anyone else.

There is some sort of anti viral medication which can be administered at the onset of shingles. Was your mother offered this?

Mine was too late and didn’t help. In spite of the fact they suspected on a Friday, but couldn’t get an appointment till Monday. There’s a good medication that works for relief (the name of the drug escapes me), but I was hesitant as it causes seizures. I passed but in the end succumbed. It worked right away.

One thing that does help with shingles pain are adhesive 5% lidocaine patches which you can cut to size ( limit 3 at one time for 12 hours); shingles is the only diagnosis for which US Medicare will pay .There are lidocaine roll ons and sprays. In the US, lidocaine up to 4% can be bought over the counter; above 5 % + requires a doctor's prescription.

They also help the worst spots of musculoskeletal pain as well. But they are pricey without insurance; about $175 for a box of 30, but the patches are large.

But for any kind of pain which can be helped through the skin, they work well. Hope your Mom is understanding if you decided not to visit. Best of luck to both of you.

If you have had chickenpox then you are not at risk of contracting shingles from your Mum. What I don’t know is if the immunisation you have had compromises your situation. I can’t think of any logical reason why it should but I am no doctor.


Hello, try this previous thread. This question comes up a lot. This is just one, so if you search “shingles” you’ll find more including discussions about the vaccine.

Hope the chicken is ok!


Go and see her - if you are going to develop shingles it is just as (probably more) likely from the shingles shot you have just had as from seeing your mum. Don't go poking at her rash though - which is about the only way you could catch CP from her though if you've had it as a child, no worries.

LizzieGuinn in reply to PMRpro

Thank you so much - I’ll go when I’ve done the (endless)watering! The chicken sadly died so I don’t have to go to the vet😢

SnazzyD in reply to LizzieGuinn

Sorry about chicken 😕

Yes, the watering! Woke up yesterday thinking my GCA had developed into PMR. Remembered I’d carried 15 cans of water 2 days previously. We’ve not had rain for 10 weeks and this heat is doing for the garden. Got a garden party in 3 weeks and I fear it’ll be a vision in crispy beige rather a riot of July colour.

Im sorry about your chicken. Was it your pet?

bunnymom in reply to LizzieGuinn

Oh so sorry about your chicken. I admire a person who treats their pets well.❤️

Well..supposedly you cannot catch shingles from another person..but you can get chickenpox from them! But, you've already had chickenpox, so I think you'll be fine.

My daughter has chickens. Every time of everything dies she gets so upset. So hope you OK. Best wishes to your Mum. Horrible to get shingles at 98. My own Father is 93. And as bright as a button. Xx

I would go see her; lidocaine patches are helpful or roll ons or other topicals. The psychological benefit to both of you to see each other outweighs any risks ; At 1/2 mg Prednisone a day, you are just about "recovered." And you had the vaccination for shingles, long enough ago for it to take effect.

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