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How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?
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Author:  JessicaRabbit [ Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

Two days ago I developed a strange rash across the bottom of my ribcage on one side. Doesn't itch or anything, just gross looking clusters of red spots. Naturally, as one does, I start googling rashes.

The only thing it looks like is shingles. The trouble is, I never had chicken pox. I phoned my mother today, in case maybe I had it as a baby? Nope. Never had chicken pox. You can't have shingles unless you had chicken pox.

But I have also had a pain in the rib area, just a dull thing like a stitch you get running, for a couple of weeks now, same side as the rash. I feel achy and lethargic too. All symptoms of shingles. But I can't have shingles, because I never had chicken pox.

Will try to see the quack tomorrow.

Update: back from the quack. Shingles, no question.

Author:  Herbaceous [ Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

^^Sorry to hear, JessicaRabbit; I’ve never had shingles myself but heard it can be quite painful.

It’s possible that you had a very mild case of chickenpox and either never had symptoms, or your symptoms were very mild. I’ve had chickenpox twice; the first time, it was a very mild case and I only developed a few spots, and that was it. Of course, this meant that I never developed immunity and I got chickenpox a second time a few years later!

You may have just had a very mild case that went unnoticed, and that’s how you’ve got shingles now. I hope it goes away soon!

Author:  The Alicorn [ Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

Is shingles an older person thing? Two of the women I work with have had shingles in the last few months. Apparently it's a SOB to get rid of too, once you have it.

I hope you feel better soon!

Author:  JessicaRabbit [ Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

Yes, apparently if you ever had chicken pox, there is a pretty good chance (something like 20 to 30 %?) of getting shingles at some point when you are over 50. I never worried about it because I thought I'd never had chicken pox. Apparently I must have had a "sub-clinical" case that wasn't recognised at the time.

I seriously recommend not getting this!

Author:  Herbaceous [ Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

I’ve seen ads on TV for a shingles vaccine. I think you’re eligible to receive the vaccine if you’re over 50. I know younger people can get shingles, but it’s more common in older adults.

Author:  The Alicorn [ Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

Friends of mine were telling me that they got the vaccine (they have a gaggle of grandkids, so in their shoes, I'd probably do the same). It's not covered by Alberta Health, it's three shots (I think he said three) and it's about $700. Yikes!

Author:  CarryOn [ Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

My wife had the shots (two, a few months apart), and it was about $400US, maybe, and not covered by insurance because of her age. Over 60, covered. Under 60, no, even though she has a weakened immune system and a note from her RA doc saying it was medically necessary.

Interesting chat with my doc about it. He said this vaccine "at least it works." In his opinion, the earlier vaccine, the one used for years, is "completely worthless."

Author:  CFinNY [ Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

A guy I work with got shingles several years ago. Given his age now, I'd guess he was 42 to 44 at the time? I can't remember how many years ago, but he was definitely not 45 yet when it happened. He'd said he'd had chicken pox, but he thought it was some allergic reaction and not shingles, given he was so young. He looked like he got a sunburn, and then went for a roll in some poison ivy. For those outside the eastern US, poison ivy will give you this awful, blistery, scabby rash if you happen to react to it, and most people do react to it.

Author:  LadyPhoenix [ Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

Quote:
For those outside the eastern US, poison ivy will give you this awful, blistery, scabby rash if you happen to react to it, and most people do react to it.
In the western US we have poison oak, which essentially does the same thing.

Author:  CFinNY [ Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How can I have shingles if I never had chicken pox?

^There's an eastern poison oak as well. I think it's not in the northeast, and I've never heard anyone talk about getting irritated by it in NY. Apparently there is a wester poison ivy as well, but no one that I know from any western states (CO, WA, OR) knew anything about it. They did tell me about poison oak, especially after they got into poison ivy, not realizing it's also a vine and not just a shrub. Shingles coworker did have poison ivy a few times (he really reacts to it too), and he said shingles was worse. He got the vaccine, and I guess insurance covered it, but maybe that's because he already had a suspected bout?

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