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Can Shingles "Pass"?

Back in March I had my first case of shingles on the right side of my head. My ear hurt to the touch and I had a terrible headache and earache, along with pain on the right side of my throat (like a sore throat but more "stabby"). I initially thought it was just a bad ear infection and even my doctor thought the same and prescribed antibiotics. Nearly a week later I wasn't any better, and NOW could see inflammation and a rash on my ear. I decided to go to an ENT and that's where I was diagnosed with shingles. I was given a Valtrex prescription and it eventually cleared up.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I awakened to the sore outer ear, slight throat soreness, and tingling on the exact same side of my head. It felt exactly the same as before, but....milder. It didn't really even hurt that much, but it was definitely a less severe version of the same attack. I was worried it would eventually spiral into something worse, however, so I went back to the ENT. She prescribed Famvir this time for me to have on-hand, but said to wait a day or so before taking it, and only take it if the symptoms got worse. Well, I went to bed and all day today I've been totally fine. MAYBE a slight bit of residual tingling, but even milder and more fleeting than yesterday. And no rash, at least so far.

Does this sound possible? I've never heard of shingles just "passing" after a day, but maybe it can. I'm a little edgy that I'm not taking the anti-virals and warding off a potential bad outbreak in the days ahead...at the same time I also don't want to take them if I don't have to.

Anyone else have it happen where you start to get shingles symptoms, but they just subside on their own and never get worse or present with a rash?

Thanks!
1 Responses
3191940 tn?1447268717
Yes, that can happen.  Shingles can take a different and unpredictable course for different people.  To be honest, I'd take the antivirals because you don't know if it will flare up again, and as you know, that can be incredibly painful.

Have you discussed the option of getting the shingles vaccine?  Even if you have had shingles, it can help prevent future outbreaks.
2 Comments
Thanks! I actually erred on the side of what the dr. said and didn’t take the meds, and 5 days later seem to be ok. I was debating it, but at least now I have the antivirals I can take the next time I feel symptoms.

I did explore taking the vaccine but I’m only in my 40s and apparently it is only approved to be used on people 50 and over. So I guess I have to wait a few years....
Ugh, that's frustrating.  I know there are two different vaccines, though, and one can be given earlier than 50 -  particularly someone who has already experienced outbreaks.  In any case, I'm glad you are currently shingle-free and are ready with anti-virals in case you get another outbreak.
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