How do I prevent shingles?
February 17, 2013 9:26 PM   Subscribe

How do I prevent shingles?

I've had shingles not too long ago, and now I'm suspecting that I'm having it again. Don't worry, I am going to schedule an appointment with the doctor first thing tomorrow and get me some of them trusty anti-virals.

But yeah, I just want to hear from you folks on how you managed to prevent shingles. I'm in my mid 20s, eat home-cooked veggie-rich food most of the time, do light-moderate exercise at least 30 minutes each day, sleep an average of 7 hours per day... I'm really not sure what else I could change. I've been going through some stressful life changes, but I've been meditating, journaling, etc. I feel like I'm doing everything right by the book, but what gives?

Again, I am scheduling an appointment with a doctor tomorrow. I may not even have shingles, who knows, but I just want some personal anecdotes on shingle prevention.
posted by Hawk V to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could get the shingles vaccine. It of course won't help for this possible current bout, but it would help in the future. Do some reading about it (and of course talk to your doctor) before you make that decision, though -- it's not a panacea at this point.
posted by brainmouse at 9:30 PM on February 17, 2013

I'm not sure if the shingles vaccine is that effective. I have had it but during an incredibly stressful time of my life. So I think that's the trick, avoid stress. Yoga/mediation/gym are probably answers.
posted by mattoxic at 9:48 PM on February 17, 2013

Best answer: If it's any help, I had shingles outbreaks about 5 times from age 18 to 23, and none in the almost 7 years since. I have no explanation for why I outgrew them. My life has certainly gotten more stressful in the intervening years!
posted by deludingmyself at 10:00 PM on February 17, 2013

I had shingles years ago, and while I've never had another outbreak, a few times per year I'll get that bad sunburn feeling in the spot where I had the original outbreak. Sometimes it seems like the skin has gotten a little red too. It'll last for a day or two, then go away. So it's not unlikely that what feels like a new outbreak for you isn't really going to progress into anything serious.

As for preventing future outbreaks, I wish I knew.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2013

You're probably just going to have to wait for the anti-virals. When I got shingles, I didn't go to the doctor until it was too late for anti-virals, and was told I'd just have to wait out the sores. I experimentally tried taking my anti-cold-sore lysine pills to see if it would help -- and it did. That's a big anecdotal YMMV, though. The anti-virals are going to be the way to do, if you're really having another outbreak.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2013

Response by poster: Yeeep, they were shingles. Got my anti-virals, hooray.

Doc says that if I end up getting them monthly, I can take daily pills that it'll suppress 'em, but hopefully I'll never have to think about that.
posted by Hawk V at 4:21 PM on February 18, 2013

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