My up-close and personal experiences shape this blogpost about certain bothersome human viruses.
I mentioned certain, as a small, yet notable part of our human DNA is comprised of breaking bad and staying good viruses. Credible sources suggest that “lurking” endogenous Viruses may be 8 to 10 per cent of our total genetic code. Yes, some of these dormant proteins may enable bad outcomes. Yet some of these ancient viral artifacts are helpful in symbiotic ways rather than harmful to us. Science News states that these viruses have evolved with us so that we can “jump start” our immune systems and digest starches. I’m sure that you agree that these exemplars are useful evolutionary factors – yes? Now, to my up close and personal bother.
Last week I contracted classic Shingles.
Right… Heebie Jeebie symptoms stemming from a rash and blisters belt around my left torso. My inflammed lymph glands, a high body temperature and higher-than-normal heart rates logged by my Oura Ring were the tippers that my rash might be serious. Thanks, Oura! [I can get (rare) Grover’s Disease rashes induced by my hard training and heavy sweat, so it took more than a rash to call my MD.] Alternating stints of stabbing nerve feedback, itching, and regional soreness are typical hassles for me as it is, or will be, for millions of other adults. The medical literature tells me that my sensations may be “long haul” symptoms for many weeks or longer. Oy.
Folks, as my one-man public service announcement: => DO NOT wait to get a rash checked out if your vital signs are abnormal. When I got in for my Primary Care appoinment, the Doctor advised that I woulda,coulda,shoulda booked a STAT appointment as antiviral medicines are less effective as time passes. Call me Just in Time, I suppose…
Millions? Yup. We only go viral to get Shingles if we contracted Chicken Pox in our earlier days.
FACT: 99.9% of all Americans have had chicken pox – once. In a perfect world, the immunities that we establish from Chicken Pox last for a lifetime. Well, at least 30% of us will fall short of perfection and reactivate that virus to acquire the Shingles virus at least once. For my Boomer demographic, that means 20 million or more of us will experience what I’m experiencing with Shingles.
“Even the healthiest lifestyle can’t stop your immune system from declining as you age.” Darn. I certainly try to walk the talk of keeping one’s immune system in a best possible shape.
I’m fortunate that I had the FDA-approved SHINGRIX vaccine years ago. Right…I fall into that 10% of older adults who contracted Shingles anyway. My layman’s hypothesis is that my Shingles vaccine and my general immunity kept my Shingles at less-than-acute symptom levels. I’ll take those as minor moral victories… A week later, I’m still not a happy, back-to-normal camper. Yet, I only took a total of 2 pain pills (acetamenophin) this past week. I found mindful breathing and sleep to be my strong damage control allies for this virus. My MD’s prescribed anti-viral medicine (pills 3 x daily for 7 days) did have minor side effects on my gut, yet I’ll accept those G-I inconveniences to lessen my heebie jeebies.
Yesterday, the Swedish Academy of Science awarded a Nobel Prize to a researher who used capsaicin to in his studies for bodily pain and sensation. Guess what over-the counter product “may” help with Shingles? CAPSAICIN. As a rower, I already had this chili pepper extract available to help block muscle pain messages to my nervous system – which is now whacky with Shingles.
In a flash of the obvious, this Master Fitness Trainer is NOT a medically trained person. Yet I wanted to share my Shingles symptoms and convictions about an uncomfortable truth that went Viral. I am not alone.
Please do your very best to keep your immunity up. If you’re like me – that means get your regular Flu Shot too. I got my 2021-2022 Flu Shot in late September.
I didn’t dodge this inconvenient Virus – Shingles – completely as a majority of Boomers may. Yet, in personal reflection, I like my odds for lessened symptoms generated by a healthy lifestyle and a vaccine.
Stay well past forty. And, please Join the KABOOMER Movement.
You can OPT IN for daily text message hacks for fitness. Just type WP40 to # 41259.
And please reach out to this Shingles veteran…