Difference between skin rashes for eczema/psoriasis and shingles?
I have suffered with what i was told (from as far back as i can remember) was eczema (which i was told i would outgrow, but still waiting ( at 50 yrs old). It has caused me to think that the doctors don't know what they are talking about and that my skin reash flare ups might be due to a completely different diagnosis (lupus/sporiasis/shingles). All i know is that i havr allwrgies but not to what i was allergic to as a child. While growing up, i was told we couldn't have pets (cats, dogs or birds) because i was allergic yo them…and now i have 2 dogs and 2 cats living with me and NO ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO ANY OF THEM!! I have a really bsd reaction to coming off of a powerful corticosteroid – prednisine…which i hope will subside soon as it hurts!! Doctor says i can't stay on prednisone, which is what i would rsther do (stay on prednisone) however i gained a ton of weight (20 lbs +) and it made my face so fricking puffy, it looked as though i had mumps….
I don't know what to do next!! Please reply with suggesstions….
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Hi, @jpenner68 — sorry to hear that you have been suffering from what you were told was eczema for so many years and that you've not outgrown it as predicted. Sounds like it's been a long wait.
It seems like you are doing your homework and looking into another potential cause for this, which is a good way to advocate for yourself.
For reference, I wanted to point you to this Mayo Clinic resource on eczema, https://mayocl.in/2D1Q859, and the Mayo Clinic information on shingles, https://mayocl.in/2qbqXEP.
I thought it would make sense to start by looking into one of the diagnoses you presented as a possibility rather than eczema, shingles. I had shingles myself a few years back, and it was not fun at all. It does have a distinct look that physicians can recognize right off — mine was diagnosed when my doctor was doing a routine exam and spotted the newly developed shingles on my back, where it would have taken awhile for me to notice it myself.
I also wanted to introduce you to some other members who have talked about shingles, like @barbarn @grandmar @rebe @techi @cdcc @danibear and see what they have to say about differences between shingles and eczema.
@jpenner68 — was there anything in particular that made you suspect your skin flareups might be shingles?
Your allergies and skin problems can change over time. I was allergic to the world at birth and now have little or no problem with many of my allergies and now others have cropped up. I think if you're born with sensitive skin you get to keep it your whole life (unfortunately). I had shingles and I thought I had a spider bite (one spot, that's it) but the pain was horrible. That's what got me to the doctor…..pain that nothing could control until I got the proper meds. Since then I've had a series of various itchy rashes. I have found that there are so many rashes and potential causes you have to with your doctors and rule out things one by one and that still may not present a clear cut answer (it's awful). Prednisone can be dangerous long term because it can cause heart problems, so best to heed your doctors advice there.
I use a cream called Triamcinolone. It's a steroid cream and it's also not for long term use (but I've been using it for 2 years now). It works to stop the itching and calm down my still unidentified rash. It's also what my daughter was prescribed for her eczema. Wonder if you've tried that. I believe it comes in various strengths. It's by prescription only I think. Good luck. Rashes are tricky and difficult.
My husband has been the skin rash route now for the last 8 or 9 years. Never have been exactly certain what triggered it in the beginning, some drs thought it was scabies, some thought it was eczema, he's had the patch tests for allergies tho' there are more patch tests available now and he should have those. Just want to caution you about steroids: creams or pills. Prednisone is wonderful! but once you stop it your symptoms will return with a vengence! And be careful with the steroid creams also – only use them a couple weeks, then take some time off to rest your system or you will become dependent on them. (not as opiod addiction, but definitely dependent) I did not realize it until some dr pointed out that your skin is the largest organ of your body and it will absorb those creams into your blood! I'm telling you all this since we learned it the hard way, by going thru 2 years of hell while his body came out of that dependency. Anyway! I had shingles last year, and they start out like little bumps, itchy and painful, but not the dry, flaky skin of eczema. @cindylb is correct that you have to work with your drs (and I hope you find an interested, compassionate dr) because your best hope is to rule things out, one by one. Good Luck!!! It's frustrating and takes patience!!!
Sorry for what you are going through. I've had a couple of skin issues. The dermatologist took a sample anf sent it to the lab. Through that process, the rashes were identified and treated.
As far as Shingles, it usually has a distictive rash, but not always.
Several yeaes ago I was at work when I noticed I was having a difficult time focusing. I had a headache earlier in the day so I thought it was sinuses.
The following morning when I was on my way to work, I had double vision. It didn't go away so I went to the eye doctor. By that time I was not able to straighten out my eyes. The doctor had some ideas but suggested I go to my PCP.
She was also perplexed. The eye doctor suggested I had Shingles. My PCP could not find any rashes. All I knew I had that was different were a couple of small pimples behind my ear. They looked benign. However, my PCP took a culture.
My eye got worse the following day. I was sent for an MRI of my brain. Thankfully, it was not my brain. When it did not get better, I was sent to a major eye institute near my home.
I had developed a 6th nerve palsy. Two days later the biopsy from the pimples behind my ear was positive for Shingles.
The Shingle VIRUS, not the rash, went into my eye and caused the palsy. I have some residual issues that will never clear up.
So, I guess the lesson of this story is to keep on top of everything.
@grandmar So the 6th nerve palsy was caused by the shingles virus? That sounds like it must be very unusual. My husband had shingles when our son and daughter were toddlers. We were away on vacation and there were all over him. Afterward, they both came down with chicken pox.
@lisalucier @jpenner68 Just a side note. I have been told by my transplant department that it has not yet been decided is OK for people on immunosuppressants. I really would like to get it, but they are still figuring it out.
Yes, getting 6th Nerve Palsy from the shingle virus is rare. I was lucky I had a knowledgeable eye doctor who recognized it!