View Full Version : Help! Why do shingles make you so tired?

16-01-2008, 12:12 PM
Iam off work due to shingles at the minute, it's horrible! Not only do I have an awful pain but all my nerve endings are at screaming point. What I need to know is why do shingles make you feel so exhausted and tired all the time. Anyone got any advice? Plezzzzzzzzzzz.

16-01-2008, 06:16 PM
Sorry that you're poorly Frangelina. Have no idea why you feel so exhausted and tired but I think what you're experiencing is par for the course with shingles

I've just had a quick look on www.medinfo.co.uk/conditions/shingles (http://www.medinfo.co.uk/conditions/shingles) and here's what it says

"Most people are surprised by how ill they feel with shingles. This seems out of proportion with the extent of the skin involved. There is a general debility and exhaustion, sometimes with aches and pains and sometimes a mild fever. Depression is often a feature of shingles, as in many other viruses. You may need up to three weeks off work."

All I can suggest is that you don't try and do too much - make the most of your time off work and enjoy the forum !

Take care - hope you feel better soon.

16-01-2008, 09:57 PM
Thanks for that. Never thought to look on net. DOH! Thats because I cant keep awake long enough to think straight.

17-01-2008, 08:12 PM
i had shingles about 8 years ago. i was off work for 5 weeks and can honestly say it's worse than childbirth !! i had a normal birth and a caesarean but the shingles pain went on for over 3 weeks,at least the other pain was over in a day !! someone asked me to describe the pain when i was in floods of tears once,the only way i could describe it was like someone ironing on my back whilst sticking pins in at the same time. i couldn't sleep for the pain so that's probably why i was so tired. the extra strong painkillers i took worked for about an hour and gave me chronic constipation,lovely !

18-01-2008, 01:46 PM
I too got shingles - started off I felt very unwell and went to Doc's - pains everywhere - they thought it might be DVT and sent me to hospital - nothing found!! http://www.womanandhome.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Next day found a red mark on my chest, still feeling really unwell went to own GP who, when she saw it, diagnosed shingles. Thereafter everything went downhill, cannot remember a few of the days because in so much pain - excruciating pain - Doc said it would be one of the worst pains ever felt - no exaggeration there then. Rash spread from neck right down to breasts! http://www.womanandhome.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif Was off work for 3 weeks and felt weak for quite some time. Was thereafter diagnosed as being anaemic so get your bloods checked. I think it just shakes up your body so much that you need to take extra special care of yourself after to recover.

18-01-2008, 06:07 PM
You poor thing Frangelina, I've come back to this post after digging through my old copies of W&H cos I rememberd a page on shingles -I too didn't think of the net, double-durr. It says that you should have been put on Acyclovir or Famciclovir within 72 hours of the rash appearing, and suggests calamine lotion and painkillers for the pain. Little oone had chickenpox before christmas which is the same strain and was soothed with oat baths suggested by someone on the forum (oats not the instant kind mind, in a muslin bag squeezed into the bath water). Also you must be careful not to give chickenpox to those who haven't had the latter, especially babies under one, so avoid dancing in creches until the rash has completely healed. All the very best and hope you feel better soon.

18-01-2008, 07:32 PM
Many thanks to you all. Pain is worse than horrid. Nerve endings are screaming . Energy levels are minus 300. well thats what it feels like. Thank goodness for this forum.Its keeping me sane.

19-01-2008, 06:34 PM
Just to say I'm sorry to hear you are so poorly, hope you feel better soon.

19-01-2008, 09:30 PM
How do you catch/contract shingles. LC (hypochondriac!)

20-01-2008, 09:55 AM
My sympathies are with you Frangelina, I do know how horribly painful and exhausting it is having had shingles myself about ten years ago.

Just make sure you do rest plenty and look after yourself. I ended up with varicella pneumonia after the shingles which apparently is not that uncommon a complication, and was told that I had not rested and taken as much care as I should.

21-01-2008, 08:38 PM
For LCmumof3 - don't panic! you can't actually catch shingles, but when you get chickenpox the virus then stays in your body and if your immune system is particularly low shingles is one of the nasties that can occur. (I only know all this because I looked it up when little had the pox before Christmas and then I found that article in an old W&H)

21-01-2008, 11:00 PM
Shingles is caused by the re=activation of the chicken pos virus, most viruses will make you fatigued and this can continue well after the outward signs of shingles have disapeared (post viral fatigue). Just a few things take plenty of rest and take care of yourself. It is probably too late for acyclovir, but it may be worth checking with your DR, most important is effective pain relief which will help you to feel more comfortable, there are a number of pain relief options, it is a nerve type pain and will need a particular type of pain relief. Rffective pain relief will also help to avoid depression which may happen due to persistent pain and fatigue. The pain from shingles may last up to two years after the original infection, hopwe you feel better soon

22-01-2008, 01:13 PM
Thanks everyone I got up this morning feeling absouletly even more lousy than I have for the past three weeks. This tiredness is really beginning to take its toll. I'm short tempered (when I am up) and my get up and go (if I had any in the first place) has definitely got up and gone, forever it seems.
I'm fed up with feeling arrrggggggggghhh and it makes it worse because it's really not me to be like this.
I feel I'm under pressure to return to work and it's making me feel worse. No ones indespensable, I know but this is really making me feel annoyed on top of everything else.

22-01-2008, 01:26 PM
Frangelina - it does take time - a lot of time. I do remember feeling very low. My GP gave me the drug to try and halt it but it didn't help. I had just been in a new job 2 months and then had to stay off for three weeks. When I got back I found out they weren't paying me as I had a 3 month "probation". Decided that they weren't the employers for me and handed in my notice. You WILL get better but please try not to stress about work - just makes you feel worse. I basically rested - slept a LOT - took painkillers. When I was at my lowest I just kept thinking to myself "this will pass" and it does. http://www.womanandhome.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

20-05-2013, 04:35 PM
I am in my early 30s and do not wish this on anyone man or woman. I'm assuming I got this virus due to extreme emotional stress that I've been dealing with the past few months. Went from getting the flu in January to dealing with continuous stress after that. Losing 25 pounds which i did not want to and been trying to gain my weight back which i can't seem to do. I didn't notice any symptoms until i got the rash outbreak. Once i got the rash outbreak i started getting the uncontrollable itching and burning feeling. Now its been over 2 weeks and the rash is still on my left side back area and is slowly going away but the pain is starting to take over. I haven't been able to wear a bra since the rash outbreak because anything that touches it makes it irritable. I get pain from my shoulder blade, to under my breast all the way to my chest area. Unfortunately i can't take off weeks from work because i used all my time when i got sick with the flu. I've taken off 3 days due to this outbreak which they have docked me. I've also been so tired lately that i made a follow-up appointment with my doctor to get checked and see if i can possibly have lupus or be anemic or something because I'm just so tired. I can't stay up and i get weak and tired very fast. Reading this forum i see I'm not the only one that is exhausted. I wish there was something that can stop this tiredness and pain. :(

22-10-2013, 02:52 AM
I'm delighted at finding this page. I am three weeks into a mild case (from what I hear) of shingles and am utterly exhausted, alternating with bursts of feeling good. It's good to see that "I'm not the only one"! Why do we think that anyway. :)

15-01-2014, 09:47 AM
I developed the rash 48 hours ago, apart from feeling like I had pins stuck in arm n boiling water poured on it I didn't feel to bed. Went drs yesterday and got the medication. Today however, I feel utterly exhausted!!! Dr never told me I may feel like this, I could just cry. Every inch of me feels worn out. :-(

17-01-2014, 10:03 PM
hi lany and welcome to forum. Sorry you are feeling so ill. I had shingles a few years ago and they really do wipe you out so it is very I portent to rest as that is what your body needs. Don't push yourself and you will soon feel better but it is a horrible thing to have and take things easy even once you start to feel better. shingles usually hits people when they are at a low ebb or have been Ill or have had a stressful time. hope you feel better soon.

07-08-2014, 01:18 AM
Hi Lany1_12,
I have had shingles for four weeks now, and can't believe how tired I still am. Going grocery shopping completely wears me out.
I'm taking medication for post hepatic neuropathy (post shingles pain) and it is helping a little, but I still add Tylenol 3 once or twice a day. Cold packs really helped, as did warm baths.
After weeks of serious pain I found out that simple ALOE VERA GEL is magical for controlling the surface pain. I got Solarcaine aloe vera gel the first time, and a drug store brand the second. I apply it about six times a day. Now I keep it in my purse as even when just driving it can be so painful and exhausting. I don't need to use cold packs anymore, and can sleep better at night after applying it, together with the medication. I just wish the shingles would end and give me my life back. Reading about long-term post-herpatic pain is quite worrying.

12-08-2014, 11:20 PM
I had Shingles (mild form) in June and yes I was very tired and generally feeling unwell. Thankfully pain has gone. I was reminded that it can return!

19-08-2014, 07:27 AM
Shingles is a very painful disease caused by the same herpes virus which may lead you to various health disorders like chicken pox or other issues. Usually, shingles are often managed by primary care physicians. Better consult with a nearby physician for obtaining a better solution for your problem.