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I know this is an HSV forum, but can someone answer a question about shingles?

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I feel terrible. It turns out I had chicken pox not a herpes rash (per my earlier post). Go figure. I get every travel vaccine on the planet and no one mentions varicella because of the assumption that everyone about my age or older has already had the disease (the vaccine only came out in the 90s).


Well, I now feel worse than when I had that awful rash. My good friend, and a cancer patient, was exposed to my chickenpox. Now, a couple weeks later, she has a terribly terribly painful case of shingles. I’m super upset because it’s too much of a coincidence that exposure to my chickenpox did not somehow activate the shingles. Does anyone know if that’s possible??!!


She’s in terrible pain and I feel responsible.

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I'm no expert, but I've had shingles (and chicken pox as a child), and I can tell you that stress and suppressed immune system can cause that virus to pop out, too. It may have been exposure to your chicken pox, but your friend may have been exposed to varicella earlier in life and the stress and treatment of cancer may have her in a run-down state to activate what was already in her system. In other words, a coincidence in timing. If you did inadvertently expose him/her, try not to beat yourself up over it, your friend will forgive you. As uncomfortable as shingles can be, beating the cancer will be the foremost thing on your friend's mind. Been there, too.

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It is very painful. I guess compared to the cancer I view the shingles thing as something temporary, therefore even though painful, there's light at the end of the tunnel with it. (Not that there isn't with the cancer - just different levels of threat there.) Have you spoken with her about it? I'm positive she would forgive you - you had no way of knowing. ((hugs)) to you both.

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To my knowledge you can't give her "more" of the Chicken Pox virus if she already had it ... but if you want a definite answer I'd ask her Dr .... but as @Beowy said, you were not to know as your initial diagnosis was unclear. So don't beat yourself up .... it may well just be a really horrid coincidence that her immune system was so compromised that it allowed the shingles to come out.....



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Oh, thank you for that. But still, how did I get chicken pox and my good friend who even came with me to the doctor get shingles? I think there’s more to these herpes viruses - that’s just too much of a coincidence. The docs don’t know..I asked. I still feel terrible, even if there was no way I could know I was contagious at the time.


That's just it - maybe I didn't give her the virus, but the exposure somehow activated it? :-(

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Maybe this will answer your question.... from the CDC itself (hence, info from the researchers...)




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.


By this assumption I would think that you could not give her, or activate her shingles with Chicken Pox




Don't know if this will help but this is the research-based info.. Seems it may be just a horrid coincidence .....

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