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Shingles--still painful years later
Old 12-05-2013, 04:24 PM   #1
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Shingles--still painful years later

I am 62. I my mid-50s I contracted a very bad case of Shingles. I still have substantial pain in the area where I had the rash. In fact, I have had to change some of my daily activities and sometimes have to take pain medication. I use to play a lot of golf but I find that swinging the club is often painful now (the rash was around my waist, on the left side).

Shingles was the worst health issue I have ever had. Worst pain you can imagine--like I had been burnt. I also ran a fever for 6 weeks, was sick on my stomach and felt so bad I could not leave the house for a couple of months. When I got Shingles I was very healthy, it can happen to anybody.

Since I was in my 50s when I contracted Shingles, I had not had the Shingles vaccine (I have had it now). At that time the vaccine was approved only for those over 60. I did take the antiviral medicine but I may have started it too late. I had back pain for several days and finally broke out with the rash. In any event the antiviral did not help me.

I strongly encourage everyone to have the Shingle vaccine. I understand that it has now been approved for people in their 50s. The vaccine will not give you 100% protection, but it does lessen the severity of the disease. The vaccine is expensive--it cost me $250 but some insurance policies pay for it and I think the Affordable Care Act will require new policies to pay for it (you may have to be over 60, depends on your policy I think).

Even if you have had Shingles in the past, get the vaccine, you can get Shingles over and over again. Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is at risk of getting Shingles.

All my friends and family who have seen the problems I have had have gotten their Shingles vaccines, even if they had to pay for it. Just do it.

Jo Ann
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:40 PM   #2
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I got the vaccine in March. Have offered to pay for vaccine for friends. That is some nasty stuff.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #3
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The OP should be commended for this public health service reminder.

I am 59 and have not yet had the vaccine but learned sitting around the lunch table today that it has been generally approved for those of us in our 50's. A 55 year-old-co-worker told me she has just gotten hers (free of charge under our health plan). I plan to call my PCP in the New Year and either get the vaccine in her office or at one of the pharmacies.

My mother told me I had a virulent case of the chickenpox when I was 8 months old.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:24 PM   #4
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My mother told me I had a virulent case of the chickenpox when I was 8 months old.
It's important to realize that some of the conventional wisdom about shingles is wrong.

AFAIK, I never had chicken pox as a child. When I got shingles about ten years ago, I was amazed and commented on this to my doctor. He said it's not uncommon to have chicken pox with no symptoms at all. That's obviously my situation.

Yes, it's extremely painful, so I also advise everyone to get the vaccine, even if you've already had shingles once.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
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The OP should be commended for this public health service reminder.
Definitely!

I will probably get mine next year - turning 55.

DH got his last year at 57.

It's apparently good for 10 years, which is one reason I didn't get it sooner. And apparently once you reach 70 there is no point in getting it because it doesn't have nearly the same protective effect as for someone 60.

I think for DH it was $178 at Costco. Not covered by insurance since he was under 60.

In Texas no doctor's prescription is needed - go right to the pharmacy. The vaccine requires pretty careful handling, so go to a good pharmacy.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:42 PM   #6
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Got shingles at age 40. Can confirm worse pain ever, similar to a the pain of a burn. Still bothersome, I wear shirts inside out to this day.

I'll be researching the vaccine, thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:05 PM   #7
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I want to warn anyone who is thinking about getting this shot to think about side effects of such a shot. I know it is very rare but other things could happened. That was the case in one of good friends. He got the flu shot and shingles shot at the same time about 6 weeks ago. A few days later he starting feeling sick and had terrible pain in his back area. The next day he could not walk or move any part of his body. They flew him to a larger hospital because the doctors here knew very little about this disease. He has been in the hospital for almost four weeks since in and out of intensive care with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I had never heard of that disease until he came down with it. Nobody can say for sure what triggered it. It could have be caused by anything. The flu or any virus can trigger it. It is also very very rare .

Guillain-Barré syndrome can affect anybody. It can strike at any age and both sexes are equally prone to the disorder. The syndrome is rare, however, afflicting only about one person in 100,000. Usually Guillain-Barré occurs a few days or weeks after the patient has had symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection. Occasionally surgery or !!vaccinations !! will trigger the syndrome.
After the first clinical manifestations of the disease, the symptoms can progress over the course of hours, days, or weeks. Most people reach the stage of greatest weakness within the first 2 weeks after symptoms appear, and by the third week of the illness 90 percent of all patients are at their weakest. He is in bad condition at this time. Not sure how long he will be in the hospital, the doctors cannot not say.
I had thought I would get the shingles shot myself until he got this. Now I worry something like this could happen to me. I feel good so why take a chance. Will the shingle shot work? Only a guess but they tell us it will. I probably will take the chance and get the shot next week though.
I know my neighbor who is age 68 just got over the shingles and he told me it was his worst nightmare. He was going to get the shot last year but it was going to cost him $250. He said now he would have paid $10,000 for the shot if it would have stopped the shingles. He has warned me and my wife so now its up to us to roll the dice. Old trig
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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I had the shingles vaccine a few years ago at age 50. I sure hope it helps if a case of shingles ever comes my way. DW has been procrastinating but I finally convinced her to ask for a prescription when she goes in for her annual checkup next month.

I've heard the antiviral drug is needed within 24 - 48 hours of the symptoms in order to help avoid chronic pain.

Here's a clip from WebMD:

Antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, may help stop progression of the rash, especially if used early in the course of the blister breakout. Similar drugs, such as Valtrex or Famvir, can also be used. These drugs may also help stave off the painful after-effects of shingles known as postherpetic neuralgia.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RetireAge50 View Post
Got shingles at age 40. Can confirm worse pain ever, similar to a the pain of a burn. Still bothersome, I wear shirts inside out to this day.

I'll be researching the vaccine, thanks for the tip.
50, I believe, is the minimum age at present.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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I had the shingles vaccine a few years ago at age 50. I sure hope it helps if a case of shingles ever comes my way. DW has been procrastinating but I finally convinced her to ask for a prescription when she goes in for her annual checkup next month.

I've heard the antiviral drug is needed within 24 - 48 hours of the symptoms in order to help avoid chronic pain.

Here's a clip from WebMD:

Antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, may help stop progression of the rash, especially if used early in the course of the blister breakout. Similar drugs, such as Valtrex or Famvir, can also be used. These drugs may also help stave off the painful after-effects of shingles known as postherpetic neuralgia.
Are you sure she needs a prescription? In TX it's treated like a flu shot - you can go directly to a pharmacist, no doctor prescription required. Your pharmacist will know.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:56 PM   #11
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I went to get shingles vax about two years ago and was told it required a prescription. Got such last March from doctor. Was covered by insurance.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:11 PM   #12
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I had Shingles over 30 years ago and still recall it as the Worst Pain Ever.

Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:41 PM   #13
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I went to get shingles vax about two years ago and was told it required a prescription. Got such last March from doctor. Was covered by insurance.
People need to check with their pharmacist about the rules in your state, and check with their insurance company about the rules for them covering it.

Not having to go to the doctor for this, and being able to pay for it out of pocket (many insurance companies don't cover it below age 60, and some still require it to be administered in a doctor's office) removes a lot of hurdles. You just walk into a drug store and get one.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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First on the subject of Guillain-Barré... I can find no link to the shingles vaccine as a causative factor, but am familiar with Guillain-Barré, as my son was in Loyola Hospital for 4 months at death's door... Paralyzed with the only voluntary movement a 15 degree turn of the neck. Even eyeballs were paralyzed... Saved only with multiple plasmapheresis blood exchanges, and left with lupus as a reminder.

Here, from the CDC are cautions for shingles...
Quote:
Some people should not get shingles vaccine or should wait.
A person should not get shingles vaccine who:

has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
has a weakened immune system because of current:
AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as prolonged use of high-dose steroids,
cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy,
cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
is pregnant, or might be pregnant. Women should not become pregnant until at least 4 weeks after getting shingles vaccines.
Someone with a minor acute illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone with a moderate or severe acute illness should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3° F or higher.
The vaccine has a short shelf life and is usally refrigerated. Many pharmacies do not carry it because of this.
Many communities have medical clinics which sometimes offer the vaccine either free or at a reduced cost.

In our case, Medicare took care of the expense, except for a $6 administration fee.
Our Florida community has about 500 residents. I am aware of 7 or 8 persons who have experienced shingles... some for extended periiods and one lady who lost her eyesight. Best description is like a root canal with no anaesthesia.

Odds are against getting shingles, but also against the house burning down...We insure the house...
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:53 PM   #15
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DH and I got our shingles shots in our 50's. We did not need a prescription and our insurance paid for it in full.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:33 PM   #16
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OP here. According to the CDC website 30% of people will get shingles some time in their lifetime and of those 30% another 30% will get serious side effects (which can include blindness, hearing loss, lingering pain and even death). While there can be rare side effects from the Shingles vaccine, please do not let this stop you from getting the vaccine.

When I got the shingles vaccine in North Carolina a few years ago, I had to have a doctors prescription. I guess this differs with each state.

Jo Ann
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:11 AM   #17
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I had the shingles when I was young. Is there a chance I will get them again? I remember people telling me back then if they all away around your stomach area it would kill you. I know now that was a myth but believed it then. I think I may get the shot tomorrow. Here is what I stated to make myself clear
If you will kindly read my post again you will see I stated he had the flu shot also. I never meant to imply the shingle shot caused his problem. I just wanted to be aware of side effects of any shot like a flu shot. Here is what I was told the last time I got a flu shot.
Don't get the flu vaccine if you've had a severe reaction to it in the past. Consult your doctor before getting the vaccine if you've had Guillain-Barre syndrome after a previous flu vaccination or you have a severe allergy to eggs. If you are moderately or severely ill — with or without fever — wait until you're recovered before getting the vaccine. My good friend is in serious condition back in intensive care. He is age 63 and going down fast. I pray for a quick recovery for him. He is one special person as he was the caretaker for his brother, then mother and father who all have since passed away. His life has been one big stress for the last ten years. His wife also is in remission from a rare form of blood cancer. She had a Stem cell transplant four years ago and the doctors tell her she should be ok for a few more years and then probably all that again. Some people are just plain unlucky. Lets hope he pulls out of this soon. oldtrig
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:54 AM   #18
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Sorry to hear this, oldtrig. My older brother got shingles after starting his new contracting job (personally I think it may have been the stress that caused it, but who knows). Anyway, he's been encouraging all of us siblings to get the Shingles shot since we have all had chicken pox.

My drawback is I'm one of those who has avoided immunizations just because I don't trust the side effects. In fact, my doc finally convinced me to get my first flu shot about a year ago. Now, I'm sure she'll want me to get another this time around, which I'd probably do, but add a shingles shot on top of it, I don't know. I know two friends who had shingles-like symptoms after getting the shot.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:09 AM   #19
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First on the subject of Guillain-Barré... I can find no link to the shingles vaccine as a causative factor, but am familiar with Guillain-Barré, as my son was in Loyola Hospital for 4 months at death's door... Paralyzed with the only voluntary movement a 15 degree turn of the neck. Even eyeballs were paralyzed... Saved only with multiple plasmapheresis blood exchanges, and left with lupus as a reminder.

Here, from the CDC are cautions for shingles...
Quote:
Some people should not get shingles vaccine or should wait.
A person should not get shingles vaccine who:

has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
has a weakened immune system because of current:
AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as prolonged use of high-dose steroids,
cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy,
cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
is pregnant, or might be pregnant. Women should not become pregnant until at least 4 weeks after getting shingles vaccines.
Someone with a minor acute illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone with a moderate or severe acute illness should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3° F or higher.
The vaccine has a short shelf life and is usally refrigerated. Many pharmacies do not carry it because of this.
Many communities have medical clinics which sometimes offer the vaccine either free or at a reduced cost.

In our case, Medicare took care of the expense, except for a $6 administration fee.
Our Florida community has about 500 residents. I am aware of 7 or 8 persons who have experienced shingles... some for extended periiods and one lady who lost her eyesight. Best description is like a root canal with no anaesthesia.


how did you get medicare to pay for it? I have medicare and no one I know has had medicare cover this shot. thanks

frank
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:13 AM   #20
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Imoldernu: how did you get medicare to pay for this? I have medicare and it doesn't seem to be covered. thanks

frank
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