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Need help on chicken pox; please help ASAP.

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Tweetie_bird, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. Tweetie_bird

    Nov 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    ok, it turns out that my fiancee's room mate has shingles, and I wasn't aware that it can make me prone to chicken pox.

    I don't think I've had chicken pox before (I can't get a hold of my parents to tell me if I've had it).

    I also don't know if I have had titers before to check for it.

    I also don't know if I've been vaccinated for C. Pox.

    I am at my fiancee's and do'nt have a car until an hour from now and I need to have a plan of action so I don't get infected. Please, give me all the info you can about this issue and what i can do to make sure I don't have it.

    I have a patient scheduled for this Sunday that I may have to cancel because I may be infected.

    oh yes, and ot make things worse, because i am not in school I don't have insurance this month and need to figure out the cheapest way to do this. HELP!!!

    I know that CP is no biggie, but I am absolutely freaking out.

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  3. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2002
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    FYI: it doesn't make you prone to chicken pox, it is the same virus...in chicken pox you get blisters, in shingles the virus affects nerve endings. (sorry, being nit-picky)

    If you don't know about the vaccine, then you haven't gotten one. Varivax became available in the US in '95-'96 so its not like you would have been a little kid.

    You'd probably remember if you had chicken pox as a kid (unless you were very young).

    Incubation period range for chicken pox is 10-21 days, but it usually is more like 14-16 days. It is highly contagious and I believe it has airborne transmission (in addition to contact)...so I'm afraid that there isn't too much to do to try to prevent it after exposure. Of course the standards of washing hands, not touching your face, etc. couldn't hurt. Apparently you can get an immunoglobulin shot (varicella-zoster immune globulin) to help prevent it, but I'm not sure how frequently it is done (outside of immune supressed people and pregnant women).

    Good news on the patient. Communicability is considered possible from 10-21 days after exposure until the lesions dry up, so even if you do get it, you won't be contagious this Sunday.

    Chances are you wouldn't need to see a Dr if you do get it....it'll just have to run its course. Try not to scratch to help avoid secondary bacterial infections. ;)

    Sorry I can't give you anything more helpful as far as prevention. Maybe you'll luck out and just not get it!
  4. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2002
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    Can't get shingles without having had chickenpox. Chickenpox (Varicella-Zoster virus) is the primary infection (many have had it and never known it.) The virus may stay for decades without any clinical manifestations. Shingles, or herpes zoster, is the reactivation of the latent virus. Good luck, I heard shingles is painful. :)
  5. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed
    Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

    Aug 24, 1999
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    Attending Physician
    Many people have had sub-clinical infections of chicken pox, so they may mistakenly believe that they have not had it.

    Adults have a rougher time with chicken pox than children, so it might be worthwhile if you find yourself becoming spotted to check with a doc and ask about acyclovir.

    AND DON'T SCRATCH!!!!!!!!
  6. Tweetie_bird

    Nov 20, 2001
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    hi guys
    Thanks for the replies. I ran to the doc yesterday and let her know about it, apparently I am at "low risk" because the guy I was around (that had shingles) did not have any fluid on his rash or anything like that.

    It's the fluid that you have to watch out for. I was absolutely freaking out. Although, I'm going to keep a tough watch on my body just to make sure I'm not infected. Tis gonna be a tough month. :(

    so I assume if I don't see any spots after 20 days or so, then I'm not infected, right?

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