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Shingles due to poor health or good health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 14, 2012 at 5:36 PM

I am a 35-year-old woman, in "quite good" health. The qualifier comes because I have two small children and thus have some stress and disruption of sleep. Otherwise, active, fit, and well-nourished. I have been transitioning to paleo over the past 4-5 months, with great results for my family. I have just been diagnosed with shingles and it is so minor, it hardly seems more than a patch of bug bites. I understand it is unclear WHY the virus re-emerges, but I do think my case is especially benign (if pictures on the internet are any indication), and I suspect it is due to my diet and good health (and age). It is fairly rare for younger people to have shingles. I wonder if it is possible that my body now has the energy to do a system-wide check for repairs, which has brought upon a challenge for this virus? I have noticed a number of other small ailments, that had been taken for granted, have resolved on their own lately.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 14, 2012
at 10:40 PM

It sounds like your body is already on its way to dealing with it: "I have just been diagnosed with shingles and it is so minor, it hardly seems more than a patch of bug bites." -- The couple people I've known who've gone through shingles, it was NOT just "a patch of bug bites", it was full blown (painful) patches all over the body, even in places chickenpox never showed up ...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 14, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I think the answer is yes, a person with a shingles outbreak is contagious for chickenpox from the exudate of the pustules. However, adults can and do keep their hands off the pustules and cover them so they don't spread it much. To touch the shingle area is excruciating so it's not done much. I think it is from a run down immune system...I had let my thyroid tank and other problems before my attack last winter.

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2 Answers

1
Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 14, 2012
at 07:54 PM

From what I understand, shingles and chickenpox are the same virus. Initial infection is chickenpox and it enters your body through the nervous system, creating itchy pustules spread all over the body. Once the initial infection is over (after you've been bathing in Calamine lotion for a week), your body learns to suppress it, and it goes into dormant status. [Our family doctor pointed out that autopsies of 4000-year-old mummies found viable chickenpox in the spinal column!] Shingles occurs most often in adults and generally happens during a period of high stress, really poor health, or weakened immune system. The virus "wakes up" and the body is too weak to keep it suppressed, and travels out along the same nervous system pathways, forming clusters of chickenpox pustules. For our family, I came down with chickenpox in junior high, a week later my brother did, then a week later my mother got shingles. The doctor was kicking us out of his office 'cause I wouldn't stop asking questions :p

Various health centers and organizations have been doing pretty good job of making sure kids nowadays are getting the newest generation of chickenpox vaccines, but I have no idea if it works the other way around, if non-inoculated children can get chickenpox from someone with a shingles outbreak.

That being said, most of the variations on paleo/primal (and Jaminet gives out the details and references in Perfect Health Diet) all seem to agree that the best thing for your health is sticking with a paleo/primal diet, make sure you're getting lots of coconut oil, and learn to relax and play.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 14, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I think the answer is yes, a person with a shingles outbreak is contagious for chickenpox from the exudate of the pustules. However, adults can and do keep their hands off the pustules and cover them so they don't spread it much. To touch the shingle area is excruciating so it's not done much. I think it is from a run down immune system...I had let my thyroid tank and other problems before my attack last winter.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 14, 2012
at 10:40 PM

It sounds like your body is already on its way to dealing with it: "I have just been diagnosed with shingles and it is so minor, it hardly seems more than a patch of bug bites." -- The couple people I've known who've gone through shingles, it was NOT just "a patch of bug bites", it was full blown (painful) patches all over the body, even in places chickenpox never showed up ...

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 14, 2012
at 08:07 PM

In general the better health you are in the less likely you are to have a shingles outbreak or a particularly bad when when you do. But, as you already note its almost impossible to tell which stressors may initiate it.

It use to be that those of us in middle age and on would get an automatic immune boost by being around children that have chicken pox. This actually would naturally reduce the incidence of shingles. However, with the vaccination of children against the relatively benign pox virus we are likely to see an increase in incidence of shingles in middle age and elderly populations. Just another instance of intervention going bad IMO.

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