Patient Comments: Shingles - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your shingles?

A Doctor's View on Shingles Symptoms and Signs

Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Shingles symptoms and signs include a painful blistering red rash along one nerve path on one side of your body. The pain is often described as burning, itching, or tingling. Shingles may also begin with flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue.. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: Aussie, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 26

About 10 months ago I noticed a cluster of bites on my upper thigh. I assumed it was from a caterpillar in the garden but no creams seemed to help. About 10 days later I developed what I though as a sore throat, typical for early spring. I noticed white spots on the back of my throat, then in my mouth, on the left side of my tongue and over the left side of the roof of my mouth. I still assumed it was a bad throat infection but I then developed a very painful earache. I decided to go to my general physician, who took swabs from my throat. I mentioned my upper thigh and a swab was taken from there. Both sites were confirmed as shingles. I had trouble eating and drinking, was admitted to hospital dehydrated, and lost 10 kg in about 2 weeks. The extreme pain eventually went away but I have been left with poor saliva production (I chew sugar-free chewing gum), diminished taste sensations and a persistent cough from the damaged nerves in my throat, I suspect my sinuses were also involved. The persistent coughing is very distressing and tiring and I'm finding it very difficult to get any lasting relief, 10 months after the initial attack. Now I have a very itchy and painful rash on my shoulder and am awaiting test results for that.

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Comment from: deb9755, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

My shingles presented as a hard lump on the mid back of my head. It felt like a pimple or ingrown hair at first and there was pain to the touch. Then it started growing and masses of hard lumps developed along a line on my skull above my neck. At that point I thought I had an infection that was spreading in my head. I went to see my neurologist and by that point I had developed a rash on my neck from under my chin to the back of my neck. She diagnosed me with shingles and put me on antiviral medication and increased my gabapentin to 1800 mg which I take for restless leg and migraines. She also gave me a muscle relaxant. I went home and started to experience excruciating headaches that produced electric shocks that literally shook my body and made me grimace involuntarily. They would come every few seconds. Then I started feeling a sharp 'ice pick to the brain' feeling in my right ear. That was incapacitating. I felt small bumps on the back of my ear and spreading through my upper ear. The doctor then increased my gabapentin to 2400 mg, prescribed tramadol and doubled the dose of the muscle relaxant. I never really felt pain on the rash that was on my neck, only some itching that was relieved by lidocaine, calamine and Salonpas creams which had been advised. I've been on the antiviral medication for 6 days now and the lumps on my head have disappeared.

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Comment from: Joanne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I felt so unwell for quite a few weeks, like flu, extreme fatigue, and muscle weakness, that I'd had lots of blood tests at the doctor's. These all came back normal. Then the pain started, a ghastly stabbing and throbbing pain in my back and chest and breathing was painful, and I thought I was having a heart attack. It was the worst pain I'd ever felt. The next day I felt as though my skin and muscles were on fire, I couldn't stand my clothes next to my skin. Five days later I noticed what I thought were bites under my arm and on my back so went to the doctor, and he thought they were bites but that it might be shingles. I went back the next day as the shingles diagnosis seemed to make the most sense as it tied in with the unwellness I'd been feeling for several weeks previously. I'm now on acyclovir 5 times a day. The pain keeps me awake and there are more 'bites' appearing and my whole body feels itchy.

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Shingles - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your shingles?
Shingles - Vaccine Question: Please describe your experience with the shingles vaccine.
Shingles - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with shingles.
Shingles - Complications Question: Did you have complications that arose from shingles? Please describe your experience.

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