Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are these shingles on my arm and thumb?"
I have shingles on my back and under my left breast, now I have itchy bumps going under my arm (left) and even on my thumb... could these be shingles also?
I'm very sorry to hear that you are suffering from shingles. As you probably know, shingles is a condition which is caused by a reactivation of the chicken pox (varicella) virus, which never totally leaves our body after the childhood infection and can "come out" in times of stress or illness. The blistered areas on the skin where the shingles are are highly contagious, as this fluid contains multiplying varicella virus particles. Once the blisters are totally dried up, they are no longer contagious. It is possible to spread the infection to other areas of your skin if you scratch and then touch other areas, so it is possible that these other itchy bumps are the some condition. In order to verify this, it would be necessary to consult with your primary care physician. They should be able to examine the bumps and tell, although it may be necessary to perform specific testing to detect the virus as well. If necessary, they may prescribe anti viral medication to help speed healing of the shingles, and they can also give you advice on how to prevent further spread of the condition. While waiting to see your doctor, try not to scratch, and wash your hands frequently!
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