Mellow Mummy: Shingles! Age 22 months : Taking life as it comes...

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Shingles! Age 22 months

Last week I was working away from home. Quite a long way from home. Like 4,295 miles away. It is always a bit weird being away from the girls but one morning last week I logged on to my computer and was met by this photo in an email from Mr. B. with a request for motherly advice.

My first reaction was "eek" then that changed to "urgh" and then I asked a few questions. Was Holly itchy? Was the skin raised? Was Holly showing any other signs of illness such as a temperature or sickness? The answers (delayed by email... obviously!) didn't ring any alarm bells so between us we decided to just keep an eye on the rash (OK.. a very remote eye for me) as it might just be a bad case of eczema; after all, her older sister has suffered quite badly with skin conditions over the years.

When I got home at the weekend I noticed that the rash was a LOT larger and was turning darker and feeling rough to the touch; but I still wasn't that worried. In fact, it was Holly's nursery who worried; they rang me at work on Monday morning to say that Holly would need to go to the Doctor for a diagnosis or else they wouldn't be able to accept her back at nursery. I managed to get an appointment within an hour. Sat in the Doctors waiting room for an hour (Holly was astonishingly well-behaved) and the Doctor diagnoses it instantly. He knew within about 2 seconds that Holly had Shingles.

For those who don't know, Shingles is caused by the same virus as Chicken Pox. Holly was unfortunate enough to contract Chicken Pox when she was just three weeks old so I had always been preparing myself for the possibility that the virus might become re-activated. The virus remains dormant in the nerves of your body after the pox have healed and re-exposure to the virus can cause Shingles to re-activate in the nerves.

Shingles commonly only infects one side of the body and appears in patterns that follow the line of a nerve - the most common of these being in a diagonal line along the shoulder blade and under the armpit.  It can affect other parts of the body and it sounds like it is most horrific when it affects the nerves around the eyes.

I think Holly has been VERY lucky that her spots have not been itchy or painful in any way. In fact, Holly has been as right as rain and seems quite proud of all the attention that her spots are getting. The only difference in her behaviour is that she has become REALLY clingy but that may just be because of me having been away for a while.

Because other people can catch Chicken Pox from someone with Shingles she was, understandably, not allowed back to nursery until the spots had all crusted over. Holly loves nursery and was frustrated to the stuck at home with us but the spots have now started to heal so she was back to normal today.

I think we're very lucky that this Shingles infection hasn't caused that much stress for us, now we just have to wait and see whether it has caused any permanent scarring.  Poor old Lara has a large mark on her face still where the worst of her Chicken Pox spots was.
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