My Experience With Shingles Essay

862 Words 4 Pages
In December of my senior year of high school, I suddenly began to feel very achey and rundown. Between college applications, finals, and staying up way too late on the phone with friends, I assumed I was just exhausted. Then, winter break started and even with more time to rest, I continued to feel awful. My back, in particular, ached and felt uncomfortable at even the lightest touch, like clothes brushing against it. Then it looked like I had a very small, isolated rash on my back. Some family friends, who are primary care doctors, took a look at my back and said they thought it looked like shingles, but thought it must be something else because typically they only saw shingles in much older patients. Finally, I went to my doctor and she …show more content…

After contracting chicken pox, the virus remains in nervous tissue in clusters of neurons called sensory ganglia. These are adjacent to the brain and spinal cord. When the virus reactivates, it travels along the neurons' axons that reach the skin where the telltale rash appears (“Shingles: Hope through research”). The rash is typically is seen along one one nerve pathway, usually somewhere on the trunk of the body. This means that, unlike chicken pox, the rash only appears on a relatively small part of the skin. Shingles appear most commonly around one dermatome, an area of the body supplied by sensory nerve fibers associated with a particular dorsal root of a spinal nerve (Shier, Butler, & Lewis, p. 858). After that, shingles are most common on one side of the face around the eye and forehead (“Shingles: Hope through research”).

Differential Diagnosis
One thing that caused confusion for my diagnosis was my age. About half of shingles cases are seen in patients over the age of 50 (Jacobsen & Hull, p. 42). Other than that though, I had all of the classic symptoms that practitioners use for diagnosis. Laboratory tests are rarely used or needed for shingles diagnoses. Usually the symptoms are clear enough for diagnosis. Shingles can cause pain and abnormally strong sensitivity at the site of the affected nerve pathway, an overall feeling of malaise, headache,

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