Mom has shingles

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 5/12/2008 2:16 AM (GMT -7)   
they told her to stay away from anyone who is immune compromised.

Question is: how long until she isn't contagious? What's the score here? I'd rather not experience this one first hand, and I'd also like to go visit other family without winding up exposing them.

Who knows anything? Also what helps things feel better? Any washes or creams that people have had good experience with. Doc gave her antiviral and pain killers, and she isn't getting anything outta the pain killers, but she says it's going away. I'm just wondering if there's anything that can speed it up.

Oh -- and yeah, I had chicken pox (apparently pretty bad) when I was a kid. I don't remember it, but I guess Mom sure does!
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 5/12/2008 3:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh boy, can I relate to your poor mom! I have Shingles right now. It's horrendous. I pray she gets better soon. This is what my doctor has told me.... Shingles itself is not contagious. You cannot pass shingles to another person. HOWEVER, if someone has never had chicken pox, they can develop chicken pox from a person with shingles, if exposed to the blistered area. It is NOT airborne. The chicken pox virus lies dormant in everyone's body. If the virus re-activates, the person develops Shingles. This can happen in immuno-compromised people (like me!), and can also be stress-induced. Treatment is anti-virals, pain meds, and TIME. I am taking the anti-viral Valtrex, and Tylenol every 4 hours for pain. I have not put anything on the blistered area, but they say Calamine lotion can be very soothing, as well as Aveeno baths. I'm in too much pain to sit in a bath. You can get a wealth of info on Shingles at and search Shingles. I hope this helps. Blessings, Julie
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (Pancolitis) 10/25/05
New Diagnosis of Crohn's March 2006
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Prednisone 12.5mg a day
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Date Joined May 2003
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   Posted 5/12/2008 4:24 AM (GMT -7)   
She said that there was an Aveeno shower gel that was pretty soothing for it, but she says anything she puts on it burns like hell. I'll ask her which Aveeno product she got and relay it to you. She had a rx for oxycodone, but she said it really didn't help that much and she was getting better results from plain ol' aspirin.

Thanks for the info. Feel better soon -- Mom thought she just had psoriasis acting up for a long time. What a bugger! I wonder what re-activated the virus....
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 2346
   Posted 5/12/2008 6:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I have "heard" that if you have shingles you can only give chicken pox to people. Can anybody verify that?

So, if that is true, if you have all ready had the chicken pox, then you don't have to worry about catching anything. My Mom had them once, when she had to stay with me because i had just had an abscess drained,and I had at the time 2 preschoolers. I was on pred., imuran, and remicade, and I have had the chicken pox, and nobody was concerned that I would get anything.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1202
   Posted 5/12/2008 7:11 AM (GMT -7)   
That's what I was told when my grandmother had shingles -- she could only pass chickenpox on to someone who hadn't had it yet. it's my understanding also that Shingles is not transferrable beyond the chicken pox possibility.

I hope it clears soon for all of you! Shingles seem horribly painful!
--40 year old female, dx as UC in '04 (1st symptoms in '03), switched to Crohn's in '05, 1 fistula, crohn's colitis, limited to large intestine
--rejected (reaction/didn't work): Asacol, AZA, 6-MP, MTX, Remicade, Humira, prednisone
--stuck on methylprednisolone, tried Prochymal in Phase III study (can't wait til it's approved!)
--started Tysabri 3/21/08
--single mom to 10-year-old girl

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 5/12/2008 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Julie and others...
I am on my 6 day of treatment with Vatrex and pain meds and I guess I caught my Shingles early.  I only had two small spots with blisters and they are dried up. The rash has spread to my whole arm but It does not itch or hurt.  The pain is mostly muscle joint pain at night and pain meds work for me.   Compared to what I have been reading  of others situations, I believe catching it as early as possible is the best way to get through it.  The pain was so severe that I knew something wasnt right and I made the Dr. appointment.  The rash/blisters showed up that day. Now I am just experiencing fatique and that "sunburn" type feeling on my trunk though the rash is only on my arm where the pain initiated.  I have learned a valuable lesson with this about Stress.  As with Crohn's which I have been diagnosed with since '92, Stress seems to be the culprit.  Though we may not "think" we are stressed, our bodies are sure telling us we are.  I am focusing very hard on me, for once and not letting everyone elses drama get to me.  It really helps to read about others that are experiencing the same thing. 
I too was worried about passing it on the anyone especially my 4 year old who has not had chicken pox.  His pediatrician said since he has been vaccinated that if he did get it, it would be mild.  And as for Shingles, my doctor said it can only cause someone who has not had chicken pox to get chicken pox and you can not pass shingles on from person to person unless they touch your blisters that have not healed.
I just wonder how long the rash will last.  I've read the pain can last from 3 months to a year but what about the rash?
I feel for everyone.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 6/5/2008 12:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Ok guys. . . I had shingles when I was 9 months pregnant! Talk about fun. For your mom, there is an Aveeno product that is an oatmeal bath that will soothe the shingles quite a bit, and they also have a lotion that is the same thing (in a green bottle, I believe). I had to have a C-section due to the fact that the shingles were all over my leg and could give my newborn baby chicken pox if he touched it. There are some studies that say that being prone to shingles does have a genetic link, (my grandpa had it all the time and I've already had it twice) However, it is also said that exposure to shingles can help build up your immunities to the disease. (Yea!)

The rash for me went away quickstyle! I only had it a couple months. They say you can have the nerve pain for the rest of your life, but I only feel the pins and needles nerve pain when it's about to flare up again, right where I had it the last time. Interesting, huh? And, on the plus side, now that I know what it looks like, I can go to Urgent Care right when I see it and start the medicine so it doesn't spread. (Last time I got it, I threw my toddler in my husband's arms and ran out the door yelling,"I have shingles, have to get medicine ASAP!")

The doc did say that once you have shingles, you are more likely to get it again, especially if you have immune problems. Darn.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/5/2008 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I am approaching 4 weeks post Shingles. Last Saturday I had a strange attack like my whole arm where my shingles was, was in a fire pit. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain but it passed in about 1 minute. Scared me and my husband terribly. My rash is basically gone, I can see faint spots but now I am dealing with the itching at night. I wake up 2-3 times each night needing to scratch. I have tried Calamine lotion and Hydro cortisone cream but they only work for about 1 hour. I am going to try the Aveeno cream next. The pain is faint achy pain and tolerable with Ibuprofen.

If anyone has any great solutions for the itching, please let me know.

43 year old Female
dx Crohn's 15 years
6 mp Mercaptopurine 50mg since Feb 08 daily
B12, Calcium, Multivitamin Daily
no surgery :)
married, Mom to 4 year old boy

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 6/5/2008 5:27 AM (GMT -7)   
I know my dad did get some relief from the Aveeno bath like Oatmeal when he broke out
I felt so sad for him and he was also taking Percocet

What about a creme with NO additives no perfumes in it to appl to the areas would that maybe help the itching
I am not sure on that ?........

I know it has to be hades for you all and I sure hope everyone gets feeling better real soon

Take care
Keep us posted
  DX With Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,Fibro & Other DD
Moderator @ Anxiety Panic..Alzheimer's..Co mod @ Crohns
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 6518
   Posted 6/5/2008 9:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hows Mom, and yourself???? time for an update.
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 6/6/2008 4:33 AM (GMT -7)   
For anyone interested in another med, Lyrica is approved for shingles pain. Regular pain killers (like oxycodone) don't do much for it.

When my mother had this across her scapula (I have never seen such a mess as she had) the doctor I called said that you should not use products like calamine lotion if there is blistered skin.
10 years, many tests, 3 gi doctors, Pentasa 1000mg 3x day
diovan, simvastatin, sertraline, lyrica, 10mg prednisone, next???   

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