Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Single's shingles

I have been having weird pain in my eye and on the left side of my head since last week. Last Friday,after coming back from Kuantan Specialist Hospital I woke up with a strange bump on the left of my forehead. It started to itch and soon my left eyebrow started to feel strange too. Tingling burning itch which made me rubbed it raw. Then the tinglings travelled into my hairline and started itching terribly. At times it felt like some minute worms were burrowing deep into the skull especially under the eyebrow. My eyes started turning red and began to itch. the eyelid started drooping. The bump on the forehead became bigger, harder and redder. My whole body especially my back and waist ached badly.

On Saturday a lump appeared under each ear. Hard and painful to the touch. My left ear itched terribly and painful to touch along the temple. My eyes felt burning like I was having a bad fever. My breath hot. No fever. I lazed in bed the whole day just getting up to put the washing in the machine and taking it out to hang.

On Sunday I had to attend a rehearsal in KL. It ended early so I let my son took me to watch Avatar 3D. The movie started at 9.00 pm and there was about three hours to kill. Felt like I was coming down with a flu. Throat started getting tight and itchy. 

Killed the hours at a karaoke joint in the Curve. Didn't really enjoy it because my throat was getting funny. Pitching went all over the place !!!

The movie was very engaging but my skull was burning with itch. I thought it was the head scarf because I had worn it since early morning. 

The movie finished at midnight. My son drove me home. I fell asleep all the way.

Reached home about 2.00 am. Took a quick shower and tried to sleep. The itch  on the head and on the eyebrow was very disturbing. Didn't know what time I fell asleep but woke up at almost eight. School started at 7.30.

Buzy the whole morning and afternoon. Friends noticed the bump on my forehead, the red eye and droopy eyelid . Getting breathless trying to catch up with things. Was absent from work since Monday, taking Baba to the surgeon.

Class finished at 4.30 pm. Rushed home and collapsed on the sofa. No fever, just pain and burning sensation where it itched. Fell into a long nap.

Had trouble sleeping at night because of the long nap in the late afternoon. Went to bed in the wee hour of the morning. The neighbour's rooster had started to crow. About 5.00 am, woke up to a bout of violent dry cough, splitting headache and burning left eye.

Sent SMS to boss 'coz I could not go to work and then went back to bed. About eleven, went to see a doctor. Diagnosis - SHINGLES ! Asked the doctor when it will peak. Answer - within three to five days ! 

OMG !!! !!! !!!

That would be Saturday the sixth.

Saturday is D DAY I have been rehearsing for.

Been waiting for Saturday the sixth since last year.

Asked the doctor if acyclovir would make any difference. Yes it would but had to get it myself as the clinic doesn't stock it. 800mg 5x per day.

The pharmacy only have 200mg Zovirax. They do have the 800mg tablet produce of Balakong at less than quarter of the price of the imported product from GlaxoSmithKline Australia.

I chose to save my intelligence on the guesses. I opted for the original produce. I don't usually mind the generic ones but in this instance, I can't afford to be patriotic.

Search on google returned many links. One of them is this:-
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a very common painful, blistering viral rash. Shingles is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus called varicella zoster virus (VZV). Shingles occurs in people who have previously been infected with the chickenpox virus at some point in their lives. Shingles usually occurs as a unilateral pain, burning, or tingling and blistering rash extending in a local pattern in the distribution of nerves. Common areas affected by shingles include the face, abdomen, back, buttocks, and chest. Red, itchy patches form across these areas and become small blisters that may be similar in appearance to chickenpox. The rash begins to clear after the blisters break and dry into scabs within two to three weeks.
Once people have had a single bout of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve roots near the spinal cord or base of the facial nerve. It is thought that when a person has a weakened immune system or when their immunity to the varicella virus is diminished the virus can reactivate to inflame a nerve and cause shingles. Although shingles may happen at any age, it is most common in the fifth through sixth decades of life. Typically, shingles usually occurs most commonly in adults over the age of 60 or in those who are immunosuppressed (HIVAIDS, or cancer patients).
Most people only get shingles once in their life. While it is not impossible to get shingles more than once, a recurrence is unlikely.

Shingles is often a severely painful skin condition. Some people may have pain in the general area days to weeks before the onset of the blisters. The most important clue to shingles diagnosis is unilateral pain and blisters on the skin. A typical shingles eruption never crosses the midline of the body and occurs only on one side: right or left. Extremely rare cases of shingles may become diffuse and spread to the entire body in patients with very compromised immune systems.
Common symptoms experienced with shingles include flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, and fatigue, along with abdominal and back pain when those skin dermatomes are involved. In some cases when the virus has affected the facial area, people can experience loss of eye motion, drooping eyelids, taste problems, facial pain, headache, and hearing loss.
Effective treatments are available to help lessen the impact of shingles. For best prognosis and fastest recovery, early start of oral antiviral pills is most important. All shingles cases will eventually resolve with or without treatment.
Treatment started at the earliest stage of symptoms is helpful in shortening the duration and severity of the symptoms. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl may be used for itching, as well as oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. Analgesic medications like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), Tylenol, or Vicodin can be used for severe pain.
The most difficult complication of shingles tends to be the residual pain that may last in the area for months or years. Chronic pain lasting more than six weeks after the onset of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Antiviral medications including acyclovir (Zovirax), if given within the first 48-72 hours of the occurrence of symptoms, can help reduce the length and severity of postherpetic neuralgia. 
Shingles is generally not contagious to those who have had chickenpox. Rarely, it may cause problems in pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, or people who have never had chickenpox. Touching the blisters or blister fluid may cause transmission of the varicella virus.
Varicella zoster virus is not "curable" because the virus stays dormant in the body for life. Once someone is initially exposed to the varicella virus, immunity develops that generally prevents a second bout of typical chickenpox. However, this immunity may fade over time, making older adults more prone to a later onset of a limited recurrence of the chickenpox virus as shingles.
Testing for shingles may include viral cultures, Tzanck prep (microscopic exam and staining of skin), and blood testing for titers of antibodies to the varicella virus.
Shingles prevention steps include vaccination. There is a U.S. FDA-approved vaccine (Zostavax) for adults 60 years of age and older to help lessen the risk of shingles. Zostavax is a live attenuated vaccine and therefore carries a small risk of shingles when administered. There is also a U.S. FDA-approved chickenpox vaccine called Varivax which is used primarily in a single dose for children between 12-18 months of age or older who have not had chickenpox. [source here]
Hmmm ... I am marking my fifth decade with shingles.
I am single and I have shingles.
That is loads of PAIN.


Hanan said...

feel sorry for u mdm :( ....

well at least it rhymes (single's shingle)...btw wut do u have this saturday anyway?

koolmokcikZ said...

Dear Hanan,

Thanks for dropping by.

Hehehe! Am proud you noticed the rhyming. Took me a while to get it.

This Saturday I am attending AKSHAH organised by my alumni. DYMM Sultan is gracing the event.

AKSHAH is Anugerah Kecemerlangan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah - a recognition for excellent achievement by students of SEMSAS by the alumni.

You remember TAHAP's silver jubilee? I sang for Sultan.

I will be singing for him again this Saturday, insyaAllah.

Hanan said...

How is your event today? I hope u sang well! is tr. zaitun there with u?

Ariel said...

Thank you for the post. We really need to be careful all the time. I am diagnose with herpes, it was so uncomfortable the blisters and not to mention the pain. Good thing I have Zovirax stocked on my cabinet. It lessens the discomfort and stops the infection from spreading or worsening. Plus it is safe to take even when pregnant. And when breastfeeding do not take this drug! You can see the complete drug info and other meds at http://medsheaven.com/index.html

koolmokcikZ said...

Dear Hanan,

His Royal Highness did not make it to the event due to unforeseen circumstances. I wrote a posting about it. You can check it out if you like.
No, Mdm Zaitun did not attend the event.

koolmokcikZ said...

Dear Ariel,

Thank you for dropping by.

What a nice surprise because I don't get many visitors to this blog.

I am very curious because you mentioned that you stocked Zovirax. I only get to it by prescription.

And yes, it helped a lot to lessen the pain and the duration of blisters. Well, I was able to get up the stage and sing with a live band.

However, Zovirax only works if the blisters are diagnosed within 48-72 hours of their appearance. Later than that, Zovirax does not work.

Also, the dosage should be followed precisely otherwise it is useless.

Thanks for sharing the link.

eagle.eye said...

Just dropby to see how u doing...Feeling better now...Be more careful next time and be prepared...Get well soon...so we can meet heheh

eagle.eye said...
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