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Diagnosed with shingles. Treating with Valtrex. Got rash which turned into blisters. Does this spread?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Yesterday, I was diagnosed with shingles. My doctor is treating me aggressively with Valtrex. I just don't remember when I got the rash, but it is between 7 and 10 days old. Rash has not turned to blisters, rash has not spread and the itching is very minimal. I have no pain. Do I have a mild case?
Posted Tue, 17 Sep 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Mild case; but will progress with time

Detailed Answer:
Hello ma'am and welcome.

Thank you for being part of the forum.

I would like to start by saying that I am sorry to hear about the diagnosis. But you should first understand that shingles has its different stages. They are:
-Prodromal stage (before the rash appears)
-Active stage (after the rash appears): Mild cases can have a mild or less severe rash, but with time the blisters do appear
-Complications include the chronic stage, if treatment is not initiated

So yes ma'am, your case is mild, but usually after the appearance of the rash, blisters start appearing and pain can get slightly worse, although I doubt it would get as bad as it would in moderate or severe cases. It is a good thing treatment was initiated early.

Wishing you a speedy recovery and complete relief from shingles for the rest of your life. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications.

God bless.
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Follow-up: Diagnosed with shingles. Treating with Valtrex. Got rash which turned into blisters. Does this spread? 2 hours later
How long will it take for blisters to appear? This rash is on my left side directly under my bra strap. Once blisters appear, how long before they drop off?

I have been unemployed for close to 2 years, just found a job and I will be starting the day after Labor Day. I need to go to work as comfortably as possible. Will Valtrex enable me to do that or will I need something stronger?

Please advise ASAP

Thanks XXXXX
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
3-10 days; 5 days; valacyclovir should suffice

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for your reply.

The blisters usually appear within 3-10 days, it can vary from person to person. Once the blisters appear, they usually break open and ooze 5 days from their appearance. After this the skin in the region starts healing.

Valtrex (valacyclovir) or famciclovir should do the trick, although as it is a prescription medication it will require a prescription from a doctor. Please do not self-prescribe.

I hope you start work with comfort and your symptoms subside by then. Wishing you lots of luck and a beautiful life thereafter.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with shingles. Treating with Valtrex. Got rash which turned into blisters. Does this spread? 8 hours later
My doctor prescribed valacyclovir and I have been taking it 3x a day like clockwork. He also told me to buy Cortaid over the counter for the itch. It has been working beautifully. Once the blisters begin to ooze, will the rash spread? Will the itch become more intense? If so, is there something that I can buy over the counter that will work better than Cortaid if I should need it? Today is at least day 6 of the rash and I have been on valacyclovir since 8/26/13.

Please advise asap. Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate all the time and effort you have taken to answer my questions.
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
No it wont; No, but the pain will; cortaid enough

Detailed Answer:
Hello once again XXXXXXX

Thank you for your reply.

It is great to know that you are also on cortaid, which will greatly help in reducing/controlling, and preventing the spread of the rash.

Once the blisters ooze, they usually do not result in influencing the rash, but do make sure you clean the area with running water and use a very mild soap once they ooze, in order not to irritate the region further. Also, make sure you keep the area dry and clean.

No XXXXXXX the itch should not and will not get worse, but the pain usually does get worse from after the appearance of blisters.

You will not require anything other than cortaid to help control the itch or spread of rash, this will more than suffice; you may rest assured.

I am more than happy to be of assistance, and I am glad you found my responses helpful, there is nothing more important to me than my patients. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, and do save my direct link for any future consultations. It is: WWW.WWWW.WW
May god bless you with his abundance.
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Follow-up: Diagnosed with shingles. Treating with Valtrex. Got rash which turned into blisters. Does this spread? 36 minutes later
I totally forgot about the pain. Generally, when I have pain I take Aleve gel caps. Right now, I have absolutely no pain. Will the Aleve be enough to take care of any pain I might have, or should I ask my doctor for something else.

My doctor just got over a very nasty bout of shingles. He gave himself Oxycontin and told me that it didn't make a dent. I feel, and correct me if I'm wrong, that since I have a mild case of shingles that my pain will not be anywhere near as severe as his was. Anyway, do you think Aleve is good or is it contraindicated with the valacyclovir?

Again, thank you for all your help.

May Our Lord bless you too and keep you safe!
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 22 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Aleve should suffice for now

Detailed Answer:

Oxycontin is used for moderate to severe pain relief; this itself indicates that your doctor suffered a severe bout of shingles, as you have already been informed.

You are right in saying that your case is mild, at least currently. Aleve should more than suffice to relieve your pain, as your pain will not, and is not severe enough to require oxycontin. So my advice would be to continue with Aleve (which is fine to use along with valacyclovir) for now, and if your pain increases (which can be expected), and Aleve does not provide you sufficient relief, only then re-visit your doctor to consider shifting over to oxycontin or other drugs which help in moderate-severe pain relief.

I hope I have successfully answered all your queries. Please feel free to write back to anytime.

Thank you so much for your wishes, it made my day.

God bless you too XXXXXXX
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