Hi, I’m going to be completely disgusting.

Yep, this is how much I don’t want to see my doctor! And given its position, I’d definitely have to pull my sleeves up.

So, nurse-friends and doctor-friends, given that I know bugger all about anything medical, I have this on my shoulder and don’t know what it is (apart from disgusting). Under my armpit is swollen too. It’s nowhere else on my body. A few days ago, they weren’t so much there but it was agony to be touched on the area, I couldn’t even wear a bra it was so painful.


It’s not bites, I don’t think- the skin’s only broken from itchiness. It isn’t heat, it’s been there and in the same place for days. It isn’t fleas, I have indoor cats and Robert would have them too. It’s very localised to my shoulder. I went to the chemist who gave me antihistimines for that. He said he didn’t think it was bites nor scabies either.

Any ideas? And would it be something I could treat just by going back to the chemist? Not asking for someone to e-diagnose me, just to give me an idea so I can speak to the pharmacy-man.

(For anybody who previously respected me, I apologise).

EDIT: Shingles! It looks exactly like that. Thank you, Gemma. I’m pretty sure that is in fact that- the pain, sensitivity, the tiredness and mild fever (I have been unwell the past week) and the rash. Since it’s a herpes thing, is it related to the fact I get a thousand cold sores a year? I wonder if my immune system is rubbish, I get run down constantly and catch everything going. Go my body! Is this a mentally interesting thing? Stress causing a shite immune system?

Anyway, if it is shingles, can I get away with not going to the doctor for it and just put up with it? I’ll go to the walk in centre just to make sure (especially since both me and Robert have noticed my eyes being weird, they’re red, they look odd and my vision is blurry, but it’s probably being tired). Thanks for your advice! This is just how much I hate going to see my GP.

25 Responses

  1. Seaneen, that looks exactly like shingles to me. I’ve had it twice and I’d know it anywhere.

    • now you mention it it does a bit, yeah.

      the other thing i suppose it could be might be scabies but that’s usually not around the shoulder, it’s more around the ankles/hands/feet. it may well be shingles though, i think that’s a good spot (so to speak!)

  2. could be eczema, i never got it at all til i was about 16, and then i got little patches of it and before long had it literally everywhere head to toe. so i hope it’s not like that for you, obvs!

    what’s the skin like around it – if it’s quite dry and itchy then it really could just be something like eczema or similar, those things often come up in hot weather, stressful times and so on. driness generally signifies that kind of thing.

    if it’s not then it may well be something else – it might be a fungal thing, or maybe fleas or something from the cat? not that i’m suggesting your cat is dirty or anything but they do sometimes pick stuff up.

  3. Do they bleed when you scratch them and do you have any inbetween your fingers?
    Hmmm maybe someone else will have some better ideas

    x x x x

  4. Lookin’ like shingles to me. Check with the followinghttp://health.allrefer.com/health/herpes-zoster-herpes-zoster-shingles-on-the-back.html

  5. Okay, having read your post again I am now 100% sure it’s shingles. It’s common in people in their 20s. I had it when I was 20 at uni, and a few months ago, just after my mum died. I took http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=117&prodid=29&afid=70&safid=AG&scid=14581&cm_mmc=Aggregates-_-Comparisons-_-GoogleProducts-_-HBMVPCGP&of_tid=ISDLSQKEOvdDLw22TUZ_WnXna7dzfpRZBPDy0P_8WVBR5KXp7t6LGlvtRM2n1UDd and rubbed Zovirax on it, and the blisters went relatively quickly. But the pain will hang around (but diminishing) for up to 6 months after.

  6. I had/get something like this. On my back tho. Everyone thought it was shingles, but it wasn’t. It was/is due to dehydration and not eating and my body apparently trying to show it was lacking something. U eating/drinking properly? Gp gave me some steriod cream to clear it up. Hope this helps, x

  7. If you don’t want to see your doctor I would pop to the NHS walk in centre..you normally see a nurse practitioner and they will want you in and out quick thus unlikely to bother you with anything else. They can give out meds and that 🙂

    You can find your nearest one here:

  8. If it’s reached the blister stage and it hasn’t spread since you can be pretty confident it won’t spread anymore now. The pain is very distinctive; it feels a bit like Chinese burns/tightness, like your skin is stretched over the area. A doctor would only really be necessary if it spread further. I was really worried when I contracted it a few months ago, because when I was 20 it was HELL and I was really unwell. However, this time I started taking the lysine on the advice of a friend who has also had it a few times and I noticed a marked reduction in irritation within a week. I was able to go to work and function reasonably normally. I still have pain in the nerve band where the shingles occurred, but am hoping this will lessen over time.

    I definitely think it is linked to mental illness. People get cold sores when they’re run down, and shingles is effectively just a big cold sore.

    • Oh I didn’t even think about shingles.

      Good luck at the walk in centre Seaneen, let us know how you get on

      x xx x

  9. Don’t worry too much; it doesn’t look too bad. That said, a trip to the walk-in wouldn’t hurt. They’ll prob just tell you to rest and stay away from pregnant women though.

  10. They usually only tell you to take painkillers, avoid pregnant women and rest with shingles, especially as you’re a bit late for antivirals even if they wanted to prescribe them, but self-diagnosis is not the best idea. You do right to go to the walk-in centre.

  11. looks just like the eczema i had on my leg :/

  12. I was going to say shingles but I seem to have been beaten to the punch just a bit.

    It’s a bastard, hurts/itches like a sonofabitch, but with the right drugs and if the doctor catches it in time you can be rid of it pretty damn quickly (back in the days before anti-shingles drugs you have to suffer for up to a year or more, and possibly go blind if it spread to your face!)

    I had it once, and full-disclosure, it picked my groin to manifest in. All down the inside of my left thigh plus half my beansack. TMI, I know, but it’s pretty funny now it’s over! At the time though, man, I have never sat in so many iced baths…

    Get well!

  13. If it is shingles, you need to give pregnant women a wide berth as I believe it is highly infectious to them, like chicken pox (double check this though).

    And can you see a different GP at your practice?

  14. Ah yes, I would suggest scabies except for the extreme pain you described. That points me to the quite excruciating herpes zoster. My mum had it on her scalp & neck this year. She was put on acyclovir & pain meds.

    When I nearly died from a 2nd bout of chicken pox back in 1994 I was put in an isolation unit on a MATERNITY WARD because it was the only isolation room left in the hospital. The doofus that wheeled me up from x-ray parked me at the nurses station. When the virologist came up to check on me he was livid & ripped a new asshole for any staff that was near me and I’m sure tracked down the orderly or x-tray tech that parked me there. They needed to take me straight into my room but left me out in the hall. I’ve oft wondered if anyone was exposed but the virologist said it was for my protection as well as the babies in the ward.

    You see, herpes by its nature is an immunosuppressor. You need to see a doc and have this verified.

  15. When i had shingles the doc gave me weird stuff to paint on 3x a day that dulled the pain and supposedly made it heal faster. I dunno what that was tho, and if you can deal with the pain etc possibly no reason to put yself thru it? Walk-in, tho, the SOHO one (Greek st? greek or frith)’ve always been ace for me, and completely non-invasive even when i turned up with a fresh pattern scratched all the way up my arm. xx

  16. If anything, I respect you more, anybody who WANTS to go to the doctor must be fucking SICK!

    Ew, I hate the slimy little, white-coated bastards…:S

  17. oh, i’m sorry. shingles can be nasty. i hope you feel better really soon.


  18. Second thumbs up for the Soho walk-in centre..have always been dead nice to me and my boy.

  19. Herpes zoster is not the same as herpes simplex, so wouldn’t relate to your cold sores. It will only be shingles if you’ve had chicken pox in the past, and it will be infectious to anyone who hasn’t had chicken pox in their lives.

  20. Oh yeah, looks and sounds like Herpes Zoster, interesting to learn of the non-scientific name “Shingles”. I didn’t know. I’ve never had it because I have never had chicken pox, even after being exposed to it a lot. (Hey that reminds me, I should get vaccined)

    Sometimes those things hurt a lot, but it’s nothing dangerous. Does it hurt a lot in your case? if you have too much disconfort, you may want to get corticoids and analgesics to deal with the symptoms. I think by now the antivirals would not work, so the virus will go back to being dormant when it decides to do so.

    And yeah the pregnant woman warning is valid, the varicella zoster virus is particularly dangerous for the later stages of pregnancy.

  21. A while back a family member had a similar rash that we thought might be shingles. In her case it spread over a larger area over a few days (legs, chest etc).

    Anyway the doctor saw her and the conclusion was that it was an after effect of a very bad case of flu she’d had previously. The G.P. said she’d seen it in a few people and it was like a manifestation of the body’s immune system still being run down following flu.

    She prescribed steriod cream and just said it would clear up but could take a few weeks, which it did.

    apologies for any repetition as I haven’t read all the above comments,

    Louise x

  22. Looks like shingles as a few people have said but it could also be a lack of certain vitimins combined with being a bit run down and stressed (if you are or have been at all recently) shingles can flare up for the same reasons ! I had a similar rash on my arm a few months ago and it was driving me mad my best friend who is a senior pharmacist in a hospital told me it looked like shingles but could also be just a sign of being run down and low on vitimins c I believe he said. Also hot weather can make it worse both conditions tend to clear up by themselves but if it starts to get worse I think you need to bite the bullet and get it checked out!

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