Well, I guess it is my turn..,

phoggie

Last week I had to drive 6 hours and when my back started to hurt between my shoulder blades, I attributed the pain to that. But when I showered, I noticed a red spot in the mirror but did not give it much thought. When I mentioned it to a RN friend she asked to see it and said I needed to go to ER because it was on a Sunday. Well...it was shingles! I was given some meds and will get a steroid injection in the morning. When people say they are painful, they are correct!


I had the one injection vaccination back in 2008, but have not had the two injection vaccination. Too little, too late! So I would urge you to get them if you have not.


Does anyone have any idea on how these are spread? I had chickenpox as a child but curious as to what has set this off in my body at my old age.

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Chi

What an awful place to get shingles! I hope you feel better soon.

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Texas_Gem

Shingles is just a reactivation of the chicken pox virus that already lives in your body.

Sometimes stress or a lowered immune system can cause it to reactivate.

I'm in my mid 30s and I've had it twice, it's definitely no fun!!

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blfenton

My understanding but am prepared to be corrected is that in the past as we were going about our day we were constantly exposed to the chicken pox virus from kids that we crossed paths with. But now, those kids are vaccinated against chicken pox so our immune system isn't getting that constant boost of the virus. So more of us are getting shingles.

I've had the two shot vaccination. I've had two friends who had shingles and I'm not going through that when there is an option.

phoggie - I hope you have a mild case and feel better soon.

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Anglophilia

Old people just don't have great immune systems anymore. Stress, exhaustion - who-knows-what can bring on shingles. I'm so sorry for you - have had them twice and never want them again!

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morz8

Phoggie, I'm sorry. And thank you for the reminder, I haven't had the vaccination yet. I keep meaning to, and letting life get in the way where I haven't gotten around to it.

Feel better soon, hopefully you got treatment in time that combined with your vaccination this will be short lived. Fingers are crossed.

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Fun2BHere

I'm so sorry that it's your turn. I hope your early intervention helps to keep your case mild.

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functionthenlook

We have been waiting and waiting for our drug store to get the vaccine in. The demand is greater than the supply.

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Elmer J Fudd

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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Kathsgrdn

Hope you feel better soon.

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Rusty

So sorry you're having to go through this, I sincerely hope it will be a short, mild case!

Rusty

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I'm so sorry! Taking the meds quickly will help. For topical application I used a Bactine spray with lidocaine and an aloe Vera gel lotion with lidocaine. Trying not to break the sores open really helps. No scratching! As difficult as it is.

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mdln


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mdln

You were given good advice to seek treatment ASAP, starting antiviral medication sooner may be more beneficial.


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watchmelol

Sorry you have shingles. You are fortunate you caught it early. The antiviral meds can do their job when they are taken right at the start. I had them twice this year. The best topical for soothing the burn and itch is Calmoseptine Ointment. It's messy but my doctor recommended it and it does work. It's OTC but hard to find. I got my tube through Amazon.



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phyllis__mn

I had shingles a couple of years after I had the original shot. I think it helped in that there was no outbreak. I went to the doctor because I had a cloud over my eye, and shingles was diagnosed. I had ear and forehead pain, along with itchy eyelid on that side. Well, I still have the itchy eye lid, along with scalp-tingling. So, when the new two-part vaccine came out, I had it. My insurance did not pay it, and it was $500, but I didn't want to risk getting shingles again along with this on-going residuals!

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nicole___

functionthenlook.....here is a Shingrix/Shingles vaccine locator: Just enter YOUR zipcode

Then call first to make sure they still have it...then go immediately. We just got our 1st of the 2 part shot. There was a 16 page waiting list @ our local Walgreens. That could have taken.....years?


I'm so sorry you have an outbreak phoggie. I hope you feel better soon.

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graywings123

If you are within driving distance of a Costco, you might want to call them to check on availability of the Shingrix vaccine You do not have to be a member to use the pharmacy - you can walk right in. I had mine done there last week.


Blfenton: I have read this about the increase of shingles:

A 2013 study . . . seemed to quash the link between the chickenpox vaccine and shingles. It revealed that shingles rates started to rise long before the vaccine came out. Although he says the issue is complicated, "There has been no evidence that there was an increase in shingles after the vaccine was introduced." Rafael Harpaz, MD, a CDC medical epidemiologist who has been studying the shingles virus for 15 years, has looked at all the theories, and none seem to pan out.

WebMD

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sjerin

When I started reading your post, I thought you were going to tell us you had a heart attack; I'm glad it was "only" shingles. You're so lucky your friend knew what you had, as the meds will very likely keep your case mild.

Does anyone know how long one is contagious, while having shingles? Is the idea the same as with chickenpox, as long as the pox are not scabbed over? I think I stayed in the house for at least several days, if not a week, but maybe that was too long.

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sjerin

Well, I forgot to say, "Feel better soon, Phoggie!" but the editing feature isn't working for me right now.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Phoggie - I hope your case is very mild and quick!

Nicole - thanks for posting the link! I've tried to get the first shot the last 3 times I've been to my PCP but they are always out. On your link it showed that the Walgreen's that I use has the vaccine. I have to pick up a refill of my arthritis medicine tomorrow so I think I'll just go inside and see if I can get a shot.

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matti5

My brother was diagnosed with shingles in his eye and also the facial nerve which has caused Bels Palsy. Last week he felt like he had a sinus infection and suddenly the side of his face became paralyzed. He thought it was a stroke and went to the ER. He's a very healthy guy, but has been under a great deal of stress lately.

Phoggie, I hope you feel better quickly!

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Texas_Gem

sjerin- you are only contagious if the blisters are open, and even then you are only contagious to people who have never had chicken pox.

You shouldn't need to quarantine yourself at home with shingles, just avoid touching small babies and keep any open blisters covered.

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chisue

My bout with shingles was mild, I think because I was diagnosed early and got the anti-viral. Mine was stress-related, and I'd guess that the six-hour drive was your 'stressor'. I hope your case will also be milder than it would have without prompt treatment!

I haven't had the two-sage vaccination. I'm on chemo for multiple myeloma though, which means I also take an anti-viral daily to *ward off* shingles! I was initially prescribed acyclovir (generic), but it was irritating. I'm OK with Valacyclovir -- which is, of course, more expensive!

Nice to read that people usually only get this TWICE.

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phoggie

Thanks Texas_Gem...I wondered if I was contagious.

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phoggie

I just had a friend bring me a bottle of CBD oil and said it really helped her shingles outbreak and since I had a new spot between my breast that was hurting, I sprayed some on and instantly the pain stopped! Need to have someone spray my back...

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nicole___

LoneJack....your welcome. But....it only shows where the vaccine was shipped, not if they still have it in stock. I called ALL the usual places. I actually found it in a mom & pop pharmacy. What I'd call a gang banger ....not so good area of town. They kept the front door locked and had to buzz me in. That kind of place. :0)

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morz8

Yay! Phoggie. I'm glad the CBD oil brought some relief. Please find someone to spray your back if you cannot.

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chloebud

phoggie, I hope you get over this quickly. The vaccine seems to be a popular topic lately. I just had my second shot last week. I had the single shot vaccine some years ago. You might google "L Lysine" since I know a few people it helped when they had shingles.

FWIW, below is some information from another site where the shingles vaccine was being discussed. I thought it was interesting that, unlike the flu and pneumonia vaccines, Medicare considers the shingles vaccine a drug instead of an immunization. For that reason it's covered under Medicare Part D...not A or B.

Anyway, this is some conversation that I thought might be helpful. Some of it's repetitive, but I found it informative. It's also the first time I've heard the word "titer."

If you have never had chicken pox, no chicken pox vaccine, and no exposure to chicken pox (believe me this is rare except in unimmunized kids), then technically a person could get chicken pox from someone who has the active rash of shingles. But, again, if you are 50 years or over, somewhere, sometime you have been exposed to another human with chicken pox, even if you have never had chicken pox. So, the virus is living in your spinal cord nerves.

Shingles is from YOU and the chicken pox in YOUR spinal nerves coming out again as a painful rash. Shingles never comes from another person and not from another person with chicken pox either. Shingles comes from you and you alone.

We health care professionals actually used to tell one another if we saw a child with chicken pox in the office. We would all go into the child's room and put our hands on the chicken pox and "expose" ourselves to the virus on purpose. Why? So, our latent virus would be stimulated and our titers would rise (or reawaken, as you put it). Yes, we did this on purpose before the shingles vaccine. LOL.

It's an old myth that exposure to chicken pox causes somebody to suddenly get shingles. Actually, the reason the shingles happens, in you, is because your immune system titer to the original exposure (to chicken pox or actually having had chicken pox as a child) has weakened. Then, your immune system no longer keeps the chicken pox that is living in your spinal cord nerves in check. So, it lets the chicken pox come out again as a painful rash.

Those who have had or will get the chicken pox vaccine (as kids) will likely not get shingles, it is thought. Somehow the vaccine keeps your titer up longer and that keeps the chicken pox in check, even as an older adult.

So what does the shingles vaccine do? It gives you a big dose of chicken pox! Yes, that's right. That way, your immune system titer will rise and it keeps the chicken pox dormant in your spinal cord.

Zostavax was approximately 50 to 70 percent effective in boosting the immune system to keep chicken pox in your spinal cord nerves in check. Shingrix is made differently and is more than 90 percent effective. So, that's why they are recommending that even though you had Zostavax, you are better off getting the new Shingrix vaccine now.

Oh, BTW, no vaccine is 100% effective so 90% is a really, really good vaccine!

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

nicole - that sounds a little scary! I usually go to my Walgreen's to pick up scripts 2 or 3 times a month so I'll just keep checking until they have some or can tell me when they will get another shipment in. It is only about 1 mile out of my way home from work. I'd rather do that than keep calling my PCP and navigating through their automated call system and then wait on hold for several minutes before I can talk to a real person.

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chloebud

Both Sam's Club and Costco seem to have it available around us. I went to Sam's for my two injections. Just walked in and done...no problem. I think someone mentioned there's no membership requirement for the pharmacy.

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graywings123

Interesting that the CBD spray helped you, Phoggie. Do you have the blisters on just one side of your back? I seem to recall that it is common for shingles to appear on the left side or the right side.

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phoggie

Another question...since I have shingles, can I get them again?...and do I still need to get the two injection vaccine?

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Elmer J Fudd

This is a good question for your medical doctor.

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chloebud

phoggie, I know you can get them more than once, but my understanding is usually not more than twice. Check to be sure, but I think I read you can get the vaccine once your shingles are gone...or have reached a certain stage.

ETA - Check this link from the CDC under "Who Should Get Shingrix." Shingrix is the new vaccine; Zostavax was the older one with the single shot.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html

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chloebud

Just remembering a friend of mine who had shingles twice. The second bout wasn't nearly as bad.

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phoggie

Thanks, Chloebud for the site! Good information.

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phoggie

Gray wings...so far, just on left side of my back and left breast....hope no more!

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chloebud

I think the usual scenario is for shingles to appear just on one side of your body along a nerve path(s). Not that it can't happen, but it sounds like getting it on both sides of your body is fairly rare.

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Louiseab Ibbotson

This is timely, my husband and I are going tomorrow for the second shot. Our fist was about 5 years ago. We had to get a prescription. The pharmacy keeps it on file as we will need to go for another one in a month.

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Alisande

I'm just getting over my third bout with shingles (not quite finished yet), and I can answer a couple of the questions. Forgive me if they've already been answered.

Re contagion, you can't give shingles to another person, but you can't give them chicken pox if they've never had it nor been vaccinated. The biggest danger is giving chicken pox to an unborn baby, so if you have active blisters stay away from pregnant women!

Everything I've read, and what my doctor told me, is that you don't shed the chicken pox virus after the blisters have scabbed over. I have a pregnant daughter-in-law, so I'm adding some extra caution and waiting until my blisters have disappeared.

As I said, this is my third time having shingles (three different places). So yes, you can get it again.

Nerves (even the nerves in our teeth--your dentist can confirm this) do not cross the midline, so shingles appears on one side or the other, not crossing that line.

In addition to the antiviral I took and gabapentin (I have mixed feelings about the latter), a couple of home remedies helped me this time. My favorite is aloe vera gel, straight from the plant. My blisters were on my scalp, and I slathered on the gel whenever they bothered me. (I'm sure my hair looked enchanting.) Phoggie, your blisters are in an awkward spot for sure, but if you have someone to do this for you it might help. I also read that lemon balm is the enemy of shingles. I have tons of it growing on the property, and I used it to make tea. I also bought lemon balm tea bags for times when I didn't want to be bothered with fresh leaves. I can't tell if it helped or not, but it didn't hurt--and it felt good to be proactive. I also took l-lysine. When I told the neurologist I wasn't sure he'd know what it was. But he said he takes it every day to keep all the herpes viruses at bay.

Oh--don't take aspirin. There's a risk of Reyes Syndrome when you have a virus. Washing with gentle, unscented soap is recommended. I used Dr. Bonner's unscented baby castile soap (liquid).

I hope you're able to sleep. Sleep is when we heal.


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chloebud

"Re contagion, you can't give shingles to another person, but you can't give them chicken pox if they've never had it nor been vaccinated."
Alisande, you meant CAN give them chicken pox, right? I remember your other post about this. How are you doing right now?
One thing I learned that could be important for people who think they're safe from shingles since they never had chicken pox. They still could have been exposed to the chicken pox virus at some point in time without ever knowing. That means they could be carrying the dormant virus that causes shingles.

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Alisande

Chloebud, thank you!! That's exactly what I meant, and I corrected my post. Whew!

I'm doing a lot better, thanks. I'm sleeping much, much better, but still can't go past 6 or 7 hours before the pain wakes me up, even though it's much milder than initially. So I'm still napping during the day but am fairly productive in the morning. This is a big improvement!

A new concern is that I'm losing some hair. I realized yesterday that it's coming from both sides of my head, not just the shingles side. So I looked up gabapentin hair loss and sure enough--"lasting" hair loss can be a side effect of the drug. I'm hoping "lasting" isn't the same as "permanent."


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chloebud

So glad you're doing better! I've known enough people (including my mom) who've dealt with shingles to know how bad it can be. I'll have to look up "gabapentin hair loss."

Fortunately our insurance covered most of the cost for both of my shingles vaccine shots. I've talked to a few people who had to pay out of pocket...about $170 per shot. However, I think it's well worth the cost!

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phoggie

For those who took gabardine, how much did you take? I have a script for nerve damage 1x4 but usually only take 1 at bedtime. What else did you take for pain? Thanks!

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watchmelol

I only took Ibruprofen for pain and inflammation. My doctor prescribed a high dose form and said to take it even if I could handle the pain so it could act as an inflammatory. I also took a week's worth of Famciclovir even though we weren't sure it would do much good since I didn't know I had shingles at first.

Worst pain was the one's on my head, and forehead. Randomly felt like a hot knife cutting through my scalp. Still get a bit of those now and then but less intense and rarely. The second time I got them about 2 months later I guess was the other side of me on my upper shoulder down to my bra line. Those itched more and the pain was less frequent and more like muscle soreness.

I took a lot of Ibruprofen both times. I was very fatigued,slept poorly and had digestive issues due to the meds. Somehow I managed to continue to ride horses. Went to an eye doctor because one shingle was close to the corner of my eye. He advised, no heat, no sweat, no activity. I chuckled. My primary care doctor knew better than to give me that advice. He knows me well. LOL

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phoggie

Oh my, watchmelol, that head pain sounds terrible! As soon as these heal up, I WILL get the vaccine...I don’t ever want to go through this again! And hope you don’t either!

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Nicloe - My Walgreen's has Shingrix in stock and I made an appointment for after work today. Thank you for giving me a kick in the pants to get it done before it's too late.

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Alisande

For those who took gabardine, how much did you take? I have a script for nerve damage 1x4 but usually only take 1 at bedtime. What else did you take for pain? Thanks!

I was originally prescribed 200mg of gabapentin at night (two 100mg capsules), but cut that in half after a week or so. This week i stopped completely. It's important to wean yourself off this drug, not to stop abruptly. It affected my memory quite dramatically, and I hope that improves soon. I think it has also impacted my energy, although that's hard to say since I'm still not sleeping 100% normally. But my doctor said gabapentin has a general "subduing" effect.

I didn't take anything else for the pain. I can't take ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and was advised not to take aspirin because of the risk of Reyes Syndrome.

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Elmer J Fudd

I've been taking the gabapentin brand form, Neurontin, (gabardine is a type of fabric) for about 20 years. 1200 mg at bedtime. I had mail pattern baldness on top way back then and I still have it now (of course) but still plenty of hair elsewhere and I don't think it's progressed abnormally. I have more hair than many of my friends.

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Alisande

Elmer, since you pointed out Phoggie's garardine, I'll point out your mail pattern baldness. These things happen. :-)

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Elmer J Fudd

I'll stick to what I said - mail pattern baldness. There a bald stamp that envelopes the top of my head. Stamps and envelopes = mail. I often have unexpected issues when using my smartphone.

I'll suggest to you one is a typo and the other a misunderstanding of the word but maybe not. Spell check on my phone is very erratic.

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Elmer J Fudd

Oh, and she said gabardine, not garadine. A nice, light wool fabric I used to have slacks and summer suits made of.

But heck, it doesn't matter. When we do all this for real, we'll pay closer attention.

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Alisande

I'll stick to garardine, an opaque fabric used exclusively for garage curtains--especially if a garage has no windows but the owner wants it to look as though it does.

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Annette Holbrook(z7a)

I’ve had shingles 3 times. For me it starts with a stomachache that is only on the left. It it such an odd sensation. The. The rash appears, usually on my torso, left side of course. Anyway, the L-lysine helps and then I started taking it daily and I haven’t had a reoccurrence since.

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Elmer J Fudd

She did say type "gabardine" if you take a look. Or don't.

Curtains in a garage? That's a new one for me. Is that a standard interior decorating technique for people who entertain guests in their garage? That offers an easy way to save a few bucks, let them into the house instead!

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chloebud

"I’ve had shingles 3 times."
Annette, I'm so sorry...three times is crazy! Have you had the vaccine now?


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Annette Holbrook(z7a)

I have not had the vaccine. The first bout I missed the window where you should get it while in a flare up. Second time I was way too busy to get to it (the stress being a factor I’m sure), third time I went to the local doc in a box and the cost was over $200! So I went online and found natural remedies, L-Lysine being one. I’ve been shingles free for almost 2 years so I’m hoping I’m done with it!

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DawnInCal

Sorry about your illness, phoggie. My hubby had it once and I remember how miserable he was. Feel better soon!

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Alisande

I was joking, Elmer. I know she said gabardine. My post had a typo. Phoggie, sorry about this. Hijack over.

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Elmer J Fudd

You know, people like you hold me to a high standard. I feel like I've let myself AND you down when I fail. My therapist tells me I need to lighten up and that when I do so, I won't need to drink as much as I do.

I'd say more but it's cocktail hour here now and I don't want to be late. Thanks, as always !

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chloebud

Annette, my mom also got relief from L-Lysine. My guess is after three bouts with shingles you might be done with it, but only a doctor can advise. I often think they don't really know. The vaccine's pricey but well worth it when I think of my mom's issues with shingles.

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phoggie

Of course Elmer would have a snide reply..,he always does to anything I post! I do use the autocorrect as much as I can because I have a terrible hand tremor. Let him live in my body and maybe he would not be so judgmental.

i went to the grocery store for a few things and came home and flopped on the bed. First time I have been out in a week and I found how weak I am! Thanks to my of you for your well wishes.

i realize the vaccine is expensive, but I am going to get it just as soon as this is out of my system....but believe me, the cost will be worth it if it prevents me from going through this again! So if you have not had both injections, I hope you will....stay well .

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Elmer J Fudd

phoggie, I was one of the first to wish you a speedy recovery.

I don't pay any attention to who says what. I respond with my own thoughts to what I read, not to comments of specific people.

Do feel better soon.


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phoggie

LoneJack..,do you by chance live near Lone Jack in Olathe? If so, which Walgreens had the shots available?

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chloebud

"...but believe me, the cost will be worth it if it prevents me from going through this again!"

Definitely well worth it, phoggie! Someone told me it was $672 total for her and her husband for the 2 shots each ($168 per shot). She didn't even flinch at the cost knowing the importance.

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nicole___

I was @ my dentists, an old friend & neighbor. She has Medicare insurance & paid exactly what we paid with our insurance. $154 ea. Once we each get 2 shots...= $616. I agree....well worth it! When I was calling around I was told a single shot was $219. Having insurance does lessen the cost.

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Debby

Anyone can get Shingles who has had chickenpox, which is why I made sure to get the vaccine a few years ago. My son had them when he was 30 and was in a great deal of pain. His was on his hip and he couldn't wear clothes and couldn't let the sheets touch his skin while he slept. He missed two weeks of work due to the pain. In his case, he attributed it to stress from work. He quit his job.

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chloebud

"Anyone can get Shingles who has had chickenpox..."

Debby, yes...and you could still develop Shingles even if you never had a chicken pox outbreak. That's because you could have been exposed to chicken pox at some point without ever knowing. As it was explained to me, "Just living on planet earth means you could have been exposed to chicken pox some time in your life. The chicken pox virus lives in your spinal cord for your life time. Some time, years later. the chicken pox from your own spinal cord might come out in the form of painful shingles."

Nicole, the cost of our shots was partially covered by Medicare Part D. We paid $40 per shot.

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phoggie

I do not have Medicare Part D and have not reached my deductible for my prescription coverage so I will pay $150 per injection.

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chisue

Um...phoggie...you have no Part D? Isn't that a requirement for anyone with Medicare?

My DH had no prescription meds for years and didn't enroll in Part D when that first came along. When he did require some (expensive) meds and enrolled in Part D he discovered he must pay a penalty for not enrolling when he was first eligible -- a 'forever after' penalty that is added to his cost for Part D insurance and that increases annually. It started at about $7 a month.

You shouldn't get the shingles vaccination for a while after this bout clears up.

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morz8

That question as to whether you should have the shot if had never had chicken pox haunted us for years. My mother swore she had never had them. No one in the familycould verify. All three of her children had chicken pox, it really does seem if she had not had them as a child herself she would have

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chloebud

I'm not 100% sure but I thought Parts A and B are mandatory, and Part D is optional. However, as chisue posted, you could be liable for a "forever" monthly late penalty if you don't sign up for Part D when first eligible. Other things factor in, such as if you didn't sign for Part D because you had creditable prescription coverage from another source. I'm far from an expert on this, for sure.

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chloebud

"That question as to whether you should have the shot if had never had chicken pox haunted us for years."

morz8, you might ask your doctor about it. Also, it does make me wonder how likely it is you could have been exposed to chicken pox at some point and never actually got it. I do know a couple people who've had shingles and swear they never had a chicken pox outbreak.

Regarding Medicare, someone told me the flu and pneumonia vaccines are covered by Parts A and B because they're considered immunizations. The shingles vaccine is not covered since it's considered a drug. Go figure.

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phoggie

Chloebud, that is correct..,that is why these vaccines are considered a drug and not immunization, which would be covered.

Parts A and B are for doctors and hospitals, but D is prescriptions. I don’t know if it changes from state to state, but we can change our prescription carrier every year if we want....which many do in December each year.

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morz8

Choebud, I have asked Mom's doctors. We were at her endocrinologist one day when he said he noticed she hadn't had a shingles vaccine -would she like one. I asked him if she really never had experienced chicken pox, if she should have the vaccination. His answer: 'I have absolutely no idea.'

A couple of years after that, her primary care did give her the shot. The original, not the Shingrix. At 92, she's never had shingles, and we still don't know for sure if she's ever had chicken pox.

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chloebud

phoggie, I think the open enrollment period from mid Oct to early Dec each year is nationwide.

morz8, ugh..."I have no idea" is NOT what you want to hear from a doctor regarding a shingles vaccine. Hmmm...maybe at 92 your mom's escaped shingles...hopefully!

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Myrica4

Sorry OP. I hope you caught it early and have no lingering effects.

I am wondering (and will ask my MD) if instead of getting the new shingles vaccine, can I first have a blood test to check the antibody level and see if it is high enough already. After I had shingles years ago, I needed (for unrelated reasons) to have a Varicella titer test to show that I was not a chickenpox risk. The number came back very high due to the recent shingles. There were other patients who knew they had chickenpox as kids, but their varicella titer numbers came back too low and they were required to get the chickenpox vaccine.


In some states kids who only get part 1 of a 2-part vaccine schedule (like the MMR), the parents can provide proof of immunity for school with a blood test instead of getting the booster shot. Something like 94% of kids have immunity after one shot and the second isn’t required, it’s still routine on the vaccine schedule anyway.





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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Phoggie - I live on the MIssouri side of KC. I got the vaccine at a Walgreens in Lee's Summit.

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Annette Holbrook(z7a)

I found the best information on this site.


Patient.info

There are a couple of antivirals, Valcyclovir or Famciclovir, that are used and seem to make a big difference for those who have multiple bouts with shingles. I never tried those as I seemed to be able to get through with Advil and rest. Everyone has different experiences with severity, so I consider myself lucky in that regard.

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Annette Holbrook(z7a)

Let me clarify, the website I linked above is a support forum. It is a group that most of the people have had multiple outbreaks and have had trouble getting treatment that actually helps. You won’t believe how many medical professionals still don’t realize you can get multiple outbreaks. So most of what you get there is people advising what kind of doctor worked and questions to ask when you see your doctor (not many old school doctors even realize that the vaccine if given at a specific point in the outbreak is beneficial or that anti virals are helpful in certain types). As I used to work in a medical field I realize that someone who graduated from med school decades ago may not be aware of more current options. When I had my third outbreak I took notes with me and he thankfully did some research and came up with a treatment based on what he found out based on my prodding.

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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) it is recommended to get Shingrix even if one is not sure whether or not they’ve had chicken pox (see “Who should get

Shingrix”).

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/

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Mrs Pete

OP, I am so sorry you're going through this!

For anyone who's been thinking of getting the vaccine, this is your wake-up call! Go now. Get it done! I had the shot last summer, and I'll tell you a few things about it -- things I didn't know -- I'm assuming my experience was typical, which may or may not be true:

- My doctor does not keep the vaccine in stock. Apparently relatively few people get the vaccine, and it's somewhat in short supply. When I requested the shot, my doctor "ordered it to my pharmacy". He told me to wait a couple days before I called the pharmacy to see if it was available.

- I had the first shot, which I think cost a $49 co-pay -- a whole lot better than some of you paid! Wow, the costs! And the pharmacist put the remaining dose into her fridge /labeled with my name.

- If memory serves, I had to go back no earlier than 2 months /no more than 4 months later. Again, I paid a $49 co-pay. Most of all, I walked away thinking to myself, "One thing I can cross off my list of concerns" and feeling very pleased.


Someone asked whether you can have another shot later. I know the answer: yes. My mother had the older single-shot vaccine, and she recently took the newer two-shot vaccine. Her doc said that the newer vaccine is superior, and it won't hurt you to have both.

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chloebud

Mrs. Pete, the time frame between shots is 2-6 months. My doc doesn't keep the vaccine in stock, either. I just walked into Sam's Club for both of mine. No problems with availability. I've now had both the older Zostavax and newer Shingrix vaccines for Shingles.

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chloebud

"You won’t believe how many medical professionals still don’t realize you can get multiple outbreaks."

Annette, it's pretty crazy what they don't know! There's an earlier post here from morz8 regarding her mother. The doctor's response of "I have absolutely no idea" is a little concerning to say the least.

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Elmer J Fudd

"I realize that someone who graduated from med school decades ago may not be aware of more current options."

Current knowledge of shingles inoculations (Shingrex) and ALL other immunizations is basic stock in trade for any primary care physician. Something they all must know like their own middle names, instantly. A doctor who isn't up to date on what they need to know to treat patients is incompetent. Find another.

Patient forums aren't a substitute for getting competent medical advice.

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Alisande

Looks like an interesting forum, Annette. There can be value in people sharing experiences. We're all different, but some--many--helpful hints really can be helpful. I learned about the benefit of lemon balm tea from a blog by a young woman who shared what helped her when she had shingles, and I learned about Dr. Bonner's scent-free liquid castile soap from an online shingles discussion. At the KT, I learned that gabapentin can cause the symptoms I was experiencing. At the same time I learned one should never stop gabapentin abruptly. Neither the pharmacist who talked to me about the drug nor my doctor mentioned these things.

Someone in the linked forum was asking about shingles and muscle weakness. I'd just as soon not join another online group right now, but I'm tempted to respond since this is what I've been going through. An MRI is scheduled for tomorrow.

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chloebud

"At the same time I learned one should never stop gabapentin abruptly. Neither the pharmacist who talked to me about the drug nor my doctor mentioned these things."

Alisande, that's alarming, for sure. My own experience is it can be very concerning what the docs and pharmacists don't mention regarding various drugs.

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Elmer J Fudd

California pharmacy rules REQUIRE a patient to have a consultation with a pharmacist (not one of the techs or counter people) for any new prescription. It would be at that time information/instructions about the drug and the prescription would be provided.

I don't know if this rule is followed 100% but it always happens for me, and sometimes inconveniently if I'm in a hurry. But a requirement is a requirement and I appreciate it. It's a good rule.

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chloebud

Yes, and I've had those consultations even when a prescription isn't new.

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Alisande

I did have a consultation with the pharmacist about gabapentin. All she said was that it would make me drowsy, but that wouldn't be a problem since I was going to take it at night.

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Elmer J Fudd

That's a shame, very poor service from that pharmacist to have not given you a complete rundown, the drug pamphlet with more specific information to read at your convenience, or a suggestion that you look at that on the internet. That's reason enough to take your business elsewhere next time.

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