Monday, February 22, 2010

itchy and scratchy... no not the cartoon from the Simpsons.

So... my boyfriend has shingles. Gross. (that pic is not of Jay... I stole it off the internet... and his is NOT this bad)

I asked my lovely boyfriend if I could write about this and with his permission, I felt it important to educate the public on this horrid viral infection.

I get a phone call from Jay, my boyfriend, the other day and he is describing this skin rash he has suddenly noticed on the right side of his mid-back. I was scared he had bed bugs or something, because bed bugs are awfully difficult to get rid of (washable items you have to wash in super hot water and non washables have to be bagged up and put in a really hot car or in a freezer... or if its a bad infestation an exterminator will have to blast your house). He is a PhD student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, so he went to the on-campus student health center and a nurse practitioner (yay for NPs) told him it was shingles.

Important things to understand:
  • You can only get shingles if you have had chicken pox
  • You do not get shingles from someone else, it just sprouts up if your body/immune system is "stressed".
  • If you have had chicken pox you cannot get shingles from someone with shingles.
  • You can get chicken pox if you have not had them from someone with shingles.

...did that make sense? Overall... had chicken pox (or the vaccine)...You can hug Jay all you want!! Have not had chicken pox (or the vaccine)... Stay away from Jay's back!

Shingles is a very painful and itchy rash that will appear in one dermatome (the nerves in your spine innervate certain sections of the body and each is called a "dermatome"). So, in Jay's case the shingles are invading the right side of his torso. Usually this infection will sprout up in people who have weakened immune systems, but in Jay's case it is most likely due to the stress he is under with his PhD program. His body was weakened and the virus that has been lying dormant in his body since he had chicken pox when he was a wee lad has sprouted up and attacked his nerve roots.

At first he felt kind of sick, which is common, before the rash appears, people get flu-like symptoms or a fever. Then, the rash appears and it itches, tingles, and is painful. Sometimes the rash turns into blisters and the blisters have to pop and crust over (ugh!). Thankfully he has not seen this with his rash.

They often give people anti-viral medicines to help the body rid of the disease faster, but there is no real cure. So, my poor baby has to suffer. :(

The poor guy has been itching and in pain for a week now and this will most likely continue for at least 2 more weeks. It kills me, because I cannot do anything about it, not only because our relationship is a long distance one (he lives down at school and I am three hours away in the suburbs), but also because there really is nothing you can do to help it.

Wish him luck in a speedy recovery!

Anyway, I hope that was interesting to someone out there.

Random Rachelle...
- i think all auto shops rip me off not only because i am a girl... but because i am an asian girl
- most of the phones i have owned have been green or i have put a green cover on them
- my ipod is also green
- i love the color green

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    Poor Jay!