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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Have developed Shingles!

Thought I was reacting to my new NSAID of two days (Naproxen) and expected to get some prescription shampoo to deal with the rash (also felt like a burn) on half of my head/forehead. What a shock I got when told it was Shingles. I'm just hoping that the rash will not effect my hair growth. I have enough problems with bald patches already especially on the side of the head that the Shingles outbreak is!!!

Anyone else out there had Shingles with Lupus and how did you cope!

Lesley
 

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Hello Lesley,

I have had several experience with the Shingles (Varricella Zoster) The virus lives dormant in the nerve root (ganglion) this is the same virus that causes the chicken Pox. Everyone who has had chicken pox has this virus "in them" lifelong. Ussually it remains dormant. However it can be reactivated, this is more common in people who are under immunsuppressive therapy, or have immune weakness (eg. HIV) as well as ederly persons. I think I have had 3 or 4 attacks, always in the same place, along the backside of my left thigh. My doctor ussually prescribes a short course of anti-virals (Acylovir, Famvir etc.) along with a liquid to apply directly on the spots. Normally it goes away completely in about 2 weeks. The lesions at first are waterey-filled blisters, that drain and then crust over. in about a week they are dried and continue to heal over. It is important if you are taking immunsupressives that you are treated with anti-virals. The virus can spread into the eyes or CNS (which is then very dangerous) as well as the treatment prevents a possible "post-herpetic neuralgia" a painful burning sensation that continues after the lesions are healed.

Shingles are not contagious, you cannot pass them on to someone else. In rare cases however someone who has not yet had the chicken pox or was not immunized could become infected, but this is unlikely.

It is best that you not scratch or dig at the blisters (sores) as this could lead to scarring and perhaps hairloss. Otherwise I don't think you should have any significant hairloss due to the Shingles themselves.

I hope you are feeling better soon.

LG
Monique

PS. Therapy with anti-virals is only affective if it is begun within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Monique!

I started taking Aciclovir probably 16 hours after noticing my head felt burnt and lumpy (thought my glands were swollen)! I feel in doubt about the diagnoses as I have yet to have signs of watery blisters, perhaps maybe just the one - who knows! I have read on some web sites that even those can take a 8 days to appear and on other 2 days!!! Maybe as I started the Aciclovir so soon the virus activity is being controlled! I choose to start the Aciclovir before I saw any blisters due to rash being on one side of my head spreading to forehead. I was not prepared to take the risk of further complications.

I will be so pleased with no further hairloss, the Plaquenil is just beginning to help with re-growth.

I'm glad that it's only contagious only by touch as I need to be out and about with all my 4 boys for schools and clubs!

I'm still flaring with SLE but it has not made any of those symptoms worse thankfully.

Lesley
 

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Obviously I can't tell you rahter or not you have shingels. Do you take any immunsupressives (Cortison, Azathioprine, CellCept, MTX)? Planquenil is not immunsuppressive so it would not increase your risk of shingels. I see also that you are not in the "elderly" catagory;) . I can tall you that shingels feels very simular to an outbreak of lip herpes "cold sores". first the tingeling/burning sensation followed by the blisters. They look very specific, any doctor can tell right away if it is Herpes (the blisters are small (3-6mm) hard and full of a clear watery fluid, the skin under and surrounding them is bright red (erythamatosis)). A small droplet of the fluid on a slide using Wright's stain, under the microscope Shingels is identified by giant cells with multiple nuclei. The background of the cell looks like ground glass and contains small dark spots called inclusion bodies (Tzanck smear). I know I've done this many times:hehe: The anti-viral probably doesn't hurt (even if it is not shingels). Blisters don't always appear it is possible to have all the symptoms without lesions this is called Zoster sine herpete. When it doesn't heal or you feel that it could be something else then it needs to be reevaluated. Pain and tingeling along a nerve (especialy in the facial region) could indicate a nerve palsy (trigimenal neuralgia) or a CNS involvement. I don't know the extent of your SLE, so I can't say if those a re likely Lupus related (CNS involvement, APS ect.)

Good Luck!

Ciao
Monique
 

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Lesley,

I have had Shingles soooo many times it isn't funny. I believe at the last count my doc had, I was on the 28th breakout. Now, I just have a standing prescription to Acyclovir............the choice of med by my Rheumy.

Unfortunately, shingles can be contagious to those that have never had chicken pox. Normally the contagious period is when your blisters break open and the fluid is present. Where I worked, if anyone who had not had chicken pox was not allowed to be in that work area. Some p laces even take it a step further and do not allow pregnant women to be around someone broke out with shingles. Now, when my daughter was about 4 months pregnant, I broke out in shingles and we notified her OB/GYN and she didn't have a problem with the exposure. I am sure each work place takes different precautions.

Whenever my shingles would start, the area would get really sore to the touch and I knew what was getting ready to happen. Normally within 24-48 hours, I would break out. Whenever that would occur, I would notify my doc so that he could place the information in my medical record.

Good luck on getting rid of your shingles. They definately are not fun.

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi all!

I can definately confirm its it Shingles. I have two areas now on my head that have blistered/burst and now in process of scabbing. All other lumps have no activity and hopefully will just dissappear - starting the Aciclovir certainly seems to have stunted the process!

Monique - Correct I am not on any immusupressive drugs, only taking Plaquenil and before Christmas a two weeks course of Pred. My eyes were at risk due to the fact I have intermittent problems with pressures. I was told if rash spread into eye I would have to have steriod eye drops. I was lucky the rash just spread to the eyelid, although I did have more pain with my eye they seemed to dry out even more than usual. My SLE as far as I'm aware is mild.

Keep well everyone!

Lesley
 
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