Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I was a Good Samaritan Yesterday- What do You Know About Shingles?

I was a good neighbor yesterday. The other day I wrote about a neighbor who do not use a credit card by choice. Today's posting is another incident about another neighbor who also lives alone, also a widow and do not drive. This neighbor usually request her son who lives about 10 miles away to do errands for her. However, yesterday her son was not available, so she called me if I could drive her to the doctor about a mile from our house. She said she normally walks to the doctor's office but the last three days she had back pain and have a hard time walking. Luckily when she called, my son was off from work so I could leave my wife( Macrine) on his watchful eyes while I drove the neighbor to the doctor's office. For those of you who are just reading my blogs for the first time, Macrine my wife of 57 years had been diagnosed with Parkinson Disease about one year ago. She can not be left alone for a long time, because of danger of falling.

My neighbor's appointment was at 9:45AM. We left the house at 9:30AM. By 10:15 AM we were out of the doctor's office. Her diagnosis was shingles. She was prescribed anti-viral tablets. She has to take 5 tablets per day. From the doctor's office, I drove her to CVS, our neighborhood pharmacy. We waited for her prescription for another 15 minutes. By 11:10 AM, I was home, plenty of time to prepare for Macrine's lunch and relieve my son as the sitter. My son leaves for work at 1:00PM

The event above made me curious about shingles. I did some Internet search and here's what I learned about this disease.

Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Once you have chickenpox, the virus remains in your nervous system. If your immune system weakens, the virus can reemerge as Shingles. As you age your immune system naturally becomes weaker. And we know that adults are at an increased risk for Shingles. Here's a more detail discussion of shingles from

The shingles rash can last up to 30 days, and for most the pain lessens as the rash heals. But some people who develop Shingles experience long-term nerve pain that can last for months, even years.

Most people recover from the nerve pain of Shingles as the rash heals. But one in five people who develop Shingles will experience postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN–nerve pain that can develop even after the rash heals, which can range from mild to severe and debilitating. This nerve pain can last from a few months to several years.

Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles, the varicella zoster virus, can be spread from a person with active shingles to another person who has never had chickenpox. In such cases, the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox, but they would not develop shingles.

The virus is spread through direct contact with the fluids from the rash blisters caused by shingles.

A person with active shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. A person is not infectious before the blisters appear. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious.

Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox and the risk of a person with shingles spreading the virus is low if the rash is covered.

I deliver my neighbor safely to her house after 11AM and wish her well. Hopefully her shingles will not cause her long term nerve pain. I feel good helping a neighbor and be a Good Samaritan yesterday. How about you? Have you been a Good Samaritan? I Like to hear of your story! Have a Great Day or Night my dear readers all over the world!

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