Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"When I got shingles, I only had one 'sore' is that common in people my age?"
I'm a 22 year old female (I was a few years younger when I got shingles) I wasn’t taking any medication at the time. The doctor was completely sure the itchy sore on my arm was shingles, but I never got any more sores. I always found that strange, most shingle cases talk about how bad the sores were, etc, I just wonder if it was because I was younger or something.
As you know, shingles is a viral disease that involves the reactivation of the chicken pox virus Varicella, which lies dormant in the body for many years. It gets reactivated when the body's defenses are down for one reason or another. When shingles occurs, it almost always shows up on one side of the body. A few itchy sores on one arm does not sound like the typical description of shingles. The number of sores is not as important as their distribution and the symptoms that go along with them. Most people with shingles complain less about the itchiness and more about the pain, which can be severe. The rash is usually fairly distinct, and thus is not likely to be mistaken by a doctor who has seen it before. If this was shingles, and you did not have a lot of skin spots or pain, then it must have been a very mild case. I think it is worthy to note that it is a bit unusual for an otherwise healthy young person to get shingles. If you happen to develop a similar symptoms, and you are diagnosed with shingles again, then I think you should have an evaluation of your immune system. In the mean time, it would be good for you to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can make sure that you are up to date with all of you immunizations including the Zostavax, the shot for chicken pox/shingles. This can at least partially protect you from it happening again.
Need more info?See a primary care-doctor today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.