Lupus and Shingles

I work in a hospital, and have to take care of many different people. In which I love to do just that. But my question is, can or am I supposed to take care of someone with active shingles? I "gear up" when going in and out of the room. But yesterday I broke out in hives by the afternoon. It wasnt too hot, or anything unusual about the gowns gloves or masks, I wore. I woke up this morning and feel better. Is this something I should discuss with my rhumy? Thank you. I tried to look up online about it, and from what little I could find, I got the gist that I am NOT supposed to be in that situation. Ive never had shingles, but have had chicken pox.

Hi Tray;

If you have had chicken pox, you can't get shingles. They are the same virus, and those who didn't ever get chicken pox, or got a very mild case as a child, they are prone to shingles. If this person is in the hospital, they should be in isolation and trteated as if they are contagious. I know it's too late for you to avoid exposure, but other staff and patients should be protected.

Regarrds, Sheila

I'm not trying to say Sheila is wrong, but my Mom had chicken pox and then later in life she got Shingles. I had spoken to my Rheumotologist about Shingles because I had chicken pox as a child but a mild case. She told me that with our immune system the way it is; that it is a possibility that we could get chicken pox; at least that's what my Rheum. said. I guess it's a chance we take. I would definitely avoid any one that has shingles.

Have a great day,

Connie

Hi Tray, my mother aunt died from the shingles, now i really don't know what the shingles are !!! Call the doctor to make sure that this will not affect your situation ( LUPUS) in no matter , and hope for the best !!! My wishes go out to you ... Good Luck .... Beverly L.

Connie, like I said, if it's a mild case, you can get that virus again. My daughter had a mild case and I knew the horrors of shingles, so I exposed her to other kids with chicken pox, hoping she'd get it again, enough to build up an immunity to shingles later in life. Perhaps your grandmother's chicken pox were mild too. Shingles is a virus that causes blisters all along one of the nerves of the body, on the skin, and damages the nerve underneath, causing the unbearable pain that nerve pain can cause.

Beverly, I'm so sorry about your mother's aunt. The virus itself can't kill, but the severe pain can cause many problems that could take aperson's life. Like my nerve pain causes my heart to stop, so the doctors put me on morphine just to keep me alive. Nerve pain can also make you too sick to want to eat, causing malnutrition, which can cause many other health problems. So it was not a good way to die, suffering as she did at the end. I'm sure she's in a much better place now.

My daughters had the chicken pox immunization. It didn't work. They still got chicken pox, and now I see it's a good thing they did, because if the immunization wore off in their 20s or so, they would be in danger of getting shingles.

Blessings,
Sheila

Hi there Tray, Yes you should be really careful of Shingles, as its a virus, especially if you have a low immunity. The Rheumatologist and doctor have told me that if i come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles to let them know, which i have done a couple of times, which isnt bad in ten years though. They gave me a course of antibiotics, called Aciclovor, they are anti virals. They dont give these out lightly, most people can cope with being in contact with people with these things, like those who have a healthy immune system, but those who are immuno compromised should not really be in contact with those who have Chicken Pox or Shingles. I dont know how your immune system is, but i would think if you have Lupus then it probably isnt great. Its best to wear a mask and gloves if you have to do this, it might seem really over protective, but better safe than sorry, or even get someone else to do that patient and you do theirs. I used to be a nurse, and had to give up partly for pay reasons, and partly as i kept going down with everything i came into contact with. I had Chicken Pox when i was 26 really late in life, but Lupus patients can actually get it again, and the same with Shingles which is very painful, and once you have had it once, it can keep coming back, so its worth you checking with either your doctor or Rhuematologist or even both, as one might have a different opinion to the other, but do it now, as if you need these tablets, i think they are only effective if taken up to 78 hours after contact. So please see someone or phone the doctor and get some advice, and are you on any meds that lowers you immunity like steroids and other Lupus drugs, then you will possibly need these antivirals. If you do have to have them, its a weeks course, and if i remember rightly its only one tablet a day, so please get some information from the doctor or rhuemy, as the last thing you need is Shingles. Anyway good luck, take care, look after yourself, bye for now, love and hugs Astrid40xoxo

Hi Beverly L., Just thought i would help with telling you a little about Shingles, Shingles is also called Herpes Zoster, its part of a herpes virus, there are two on is called Herpes Simplex, and the other for Shingles Herpes Zoster, and its all part of the chicken pox virus, and affects the nerve endings and thats what causes the pain, depending on which are of the body if affects more, depends on the severity of it. Some people can get the Shingles in their eyes making them blind, and its very similar to chicken pox but a hell of a lot worse, and is very hard to clear up once someone has contracted it, even if someone does get better from it, it still lies dormant in the body so another attack can easily happen again if someone's immunity is down, that why i was told by a rhuematologist and doctor that if i came into contact with someone either with chicken pox or shingles to contact my doctor who then prescribes a course of antivirals, it has to been taken within 78 hours of being in contact with whoever has the virus. I have had to have two courses, as once someone bought their child to my house, and never let me know that he had chicken pox until afterwards, the spots werent on his face so i couldnt see he had the chickenpox, his mum just announced it all proud, not realising the risk to me, even though i had mentioned that i am not allowed near anyone with chicken pox or shingles, but then people tend to forget these things really. Its a weeks course of tablets called Aciclovor, and that stops the virus in its tracks usually, if taken within the time, it doesnt mean you absolutely wont get it, but its a good precaution against it, its good they have something now which will help. So now if i see someone has chicken pox or shingles i stay well away, as i dont want to risk it. I hope this helps abit. Like you said it can be fatal, not because of the shingle part, but because of the complications that can arise with it. The shingles just like chicken pox can get literally everywhere like in the throat etc. Its not pleasant is it? I dont think i can add anymore really, you can always look it up if you want to know more, its not easy to know whats what sometimes is it? Anyway take care, look after yourself, love and hugs Astrid40xoxo

Beverly L. said:

Hi Tray, my mother aunt died from the shingles, now i really don't know what the shingles are !!! Call the doctor to make sure that this will not affect your situation ( LUPUS) in no matter , and hope for the best !!! My wishes go out to you ... Good Luck .... Beverly L.

Hi "T" & All, I always thought that shingles was due to having chicken pox virus younger in life & it lays dormant in ur body & resurfaces as shingles later....All I know is it is a miserable & potentially dangerous & painful virus esp. for older people, which is when it comes....and for people with weakened immune systems.....or chronic illnesses....so be very careful, that is something U DO NOT NEED!! The hives may be due to an immune response, my mom, always got hives BAD....Like all over & HUGE & very itchy...I used to get scared when she did..:( .and I think it can come from Lupus, but also could be ur body reacting to meds., etc.....so DEF> ASK UR DOCTOR, OK.....I didn't know u were a nurse?? That is awesome!! Feel Better "T", Let us Know!! :0) {{HUGS}} Suzie :0)

Hi, when people had chicken pox,the virus go dormat in the body. When stress or the inmune system is low, the virus
reactive and develop shingles is not contagious in some cases is painful. Also, because the virus is dormant in the nerves and go active following the nerve path some people can develop neuropathy. The tx is antiviral and neurontin for pain. I had it twice and never miss a day in my job nor my coworkers or my pts were infected or developed.

Hi Suzie D., you are right in a way, but Shingles is also highly contagious to others, and more so with those with low immunity. I have been told if i have been in contact with anyone who has chicken pox or shingles to get myself along to the doctors, and they give me a course of anti-virals, as it can be so serious, its the last thing someone with Lupus wants on top of everything else. Years back when i used to be a nurse i worked with an old lady who had Shingles, she fortunately didnt have it in her eyes, but it was above her eyebrow and on her back, and she was in tremendous pain with it, as it affects all the nerve endings, and even if people get rid of it for a while, it can pop up again when that person is low again. So its best to try and protect yourself in practical ways if you can, and if you know someone who has it, try and avoid them for the time they have it, same with chicken pox too, even if you have already had chicken pox, it is possible for someone with a really low immune system to get chicken pox again, alot of people dont realise this. I have had it twice now. Anyway bye for now, take care, love and hugs Astrid40xoxox

Well that's good to know this information - Thank you !!! So now am on the Beware phase really ... Lol , am only out around the public going to the doctor appointments anyway , and don't allow people/ or kids to come to my home if they are sick , it helps me keep down the germs , which my doctor advised me of this early diagnoised. Well hope that your situation gets better and that you feel better soon , talk with you .... Beverly L.

astrid40 said:

Hi Beverly L., Just thought i would help with telling you a little about Shingles, Shingles is also called Herpes Zoster, its part of a herpes virus, there are two on is called Herpes Simplex, and the other for Shingles Herpes Zoster, and its all part of the chicken pox virus, and affects the nerve endings and thats what causes the pain, depending on which are of the body if affects more, depends on the severity of it. Some people can get the Shingles in their eyes making them blind, and its very similar to chicken pox but a hell of a lot worse, and is very hard to clear up once someone has contracted it, even if someone does get better from it, it still lies dormant in the body so another attack can easily happen again if someone's immunity is down, that why i was told by a rhuematologist and doctor that if i came into contact with someone either with chicken pox or shingles to contact my doctor who then prescribes a course of antivirals, it has to been taken within 78 hours of being in contact with whoever has the virus. I have had to have two courses, as once someone bought their child to my house, and never let me know that he had chicken pox until afterwards, the spots werent on his face so i couldnt see he had the chickenpox, his mum just announced it all proud, not realising the risk to me, even though i had mentioned that i am not allowed near anyone with chicken pox or shingles, but then people tend to forget these things really. Its a weeks course of tablets called Aciclovor, and that stops the virus in its tracks usually, if taken within the time, it doesnt mean you absolutely wont get it, but its a good precaution against it, its good they have something now which will help. So now if i see someone has chicken pox or shingles i stay well away, as i dont want to risk it. I hope this helps abit. Like you said it can be fatal, not because of the shingle part, but because of the complications that can arise with it. The shingles just like chicken pox can get literally everywhere like in the throat etc. Its not pleasant is it? I dont think i can add anymore really, you can always look it up if you want to know more, its not easy to know whats what sometimes is it? Anyway take care, look after yourself, love and hugs Astrid40xoxo

Beverly L. said:

Hi Tray, my mother aunt died from the shingles, now i really don't know what the shingles are !!! Call the doctor to make sure that this will not affect your situation ( LUPUS) in no matter , and hope for the best !!! My wishes go out to you ... Good Luck .... Beverly L.

Hi Beverly, its the best way not to let people or kids in that are sick really, i didnt notice the little one was sick, i thought he was just being abit cuddly with his mum, silly me, they werent there too long thank goodness, as soon as the mum said he had chicken pox, they were out that door as quick as i could get them, hehe. I think they might of thought i was being paranoid but its best to protect ourselves. Its like when someone comes round, and they say its okay to us, its only a cold, they just wont believe that the cold they have could give us pneumonia in the end, i have weeded up those type of people now, thank goodness. Most of my friends really respect the fact that i cant be around anyone with infections etc, which is really lovely now. Anyway take care, look after yourself, love and hugs Astridxoxox

This is the reason why i've stated to everyone from day one Please respect me - Don't come and visit if there is anything wrong with you / your kids , sorry that has to be but noone will take care of me if am sick and in bed !!! so hold down to your plan and don't let sick people around ... Beverly L.

Sheila; didn't mean anything by the way I posted my reply. Sorry!

Connie,no offense taken at all! No apology needed.

Tray I had shingles, and never was never exposed to anyone that had it( at least not that I know of), but you can never tell when you are out in public at the hospitals or what not. But having lupus compromises our immune system to the point that we are suceptable to any kind of viral infection. I had never had shingles before in my life, I thought only older people got it. My mom diagnosed mine, because she does caregiver work. She is 67 and has worked around many people with it but has never contracted it herself. But if you have had the chickenpox, the doctors told me that the virus is always domant in your spine and a weakened immune system puts you at risk. My doctor gave me a prescription for valtrex, which he said could prevent the outbreaks of shingles. Maybe you should mention this to your doctor. The shingles are no joke, they hurt like hell. I still have pain from it time to time after almost a year. Many blessings and hugs xoxox

Ive had chicken pox when I was a kid. Oh and I do gown, glove, and mask up before going into the room. I am VERY careful, but ppl said I shouldnt be in there, and otherws said Im fine.

Sheila W. said:

Hi Tray;

If you have had chicken pox, you can't get shingles. They are the same virus, and those who didn't ever get chicken pox, or got a very mild case as a child, they are prone to shingles. If this person is in the hospital, they should be in isolation and trteated as if they are contagious. I know it's too late for you to avoid exposure, but other staff and patients should be protected.

Regarrds, Sheila

Well I guess I am defintely calling my rhuematologist tomorrow morning. And at least inform him of my concerns. Iiiii, oh the glories of lupus and life!!! Thank you all, for all of your help.

Yes according to Wiki and my Rheum Doc...if you had Chicken Pox that enables you to catch Shingles. I have included the link to wiki if you like to read the facts, here is easy explanation

What Is Shingles?

Change Text Size:

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus can live, but remain inactive, in certain nerve roots within the body. If it becomes active again, usually later in life, it can cause Shingles.

There is a vaccine you can take...that maybe might still help you but you will need to ask your doctor. They have medicine now that really helps with the pain. So that should not be too horrible if you have it. Wiki also has photos...so you can compare, but i would have a doctor check you out.

As to working in medical field....sure if you really would like too, why not? I know people with SLE who do and they are fine. You just take precautions but you should be doing those period. Wash hands, or glove up, never touch your face, etc.

One thing people with SLE must really be cautious about is TB. Not only do we do false positive tests but it can excerbate both lupus and the TB. So mask in those situations.

Also...any person who works in medical field directly with patients or in high risk groups like police and fire they all get vaccinated for pneumonia, hepatitis etc....i cannot recall all but our doctor will know. You might have some already. I know as soon as my diagnoses was found out for SURE!! I than got tested to see if i had things like TB etc....and than vaccinated to prevent me from catching diseases like hepatitis C etc !

GOOD LUCK and if you do not like your job...maybe this is way of saying time to figure out what you would like to do....but in this job market...you might want to look while working. Hope you are well and do not have it!! lg

I agree with you so much.....i had the nearest desk to the exit at one point. A fellow employee asked to use my phone since her desk was at opposite end of the room. I said are you sick? No she answers. She than calls her husband and says with me right next to her.....i am going home sick...i feel like i have the flu!
I was livid....as I grabbed my Costco size Lysol can ...i said didn't you just tell me you were NOT SICK!?!! Well she says...whining voice...i just did not want to walk back to my desk. As I sprayed my phone,and all of her that was attached to it...so her perfume was now eau de Lysol!! That is it! Never again will you use my phone!!

OF course gossip went around...but no one ever did that again....plus my phone reeked of Lysol!

I tried doing it the nice way...by just posting notes...or having it in weekly memo....some people just do not care. I always tried hard to be respectful and honest with others...that day ...i guess i just popped! but worked!!

This is the reason why i've stated to everyone from day one Please respect me - Don't come and visit if there is anything wrong with you / your kids , sorry that has to be but noone will take care of me if am sick and in bed !!! so hold down to your plan and don't let sick people around ... Beverly L.