I was "lucky" enough (<frown>) to "catch" chicken pox for a second time
a few years back (I now am leary of which OTHER of those childhood
diseases can "strike twice"?! I had assumed NONE of them were worth
my attention as I'd had -- or been innoculated against -- all of them,
already!). The calamine lotion (also caladryl) only provides the very
The trick I've used over the years for mosquito bites and other persisitent
iches is to run the afflicted area under very hot water (i.e., almost to
the point of inflicting damage!) for as long as you can tolerate.
Of course, this burns while you are doing it. But, it seems to
overwhelm the "itch receptors" -- at least as long as any topical
lotion would! So, as long as you don't "stimulate" that are
(by scratching at it), you have some relief.
[Apparently, "itch" is conducted via different nerve pathways than "pain".
I guess evolution decided that some threats needed to be treated via
a different mechanism]
In my case, my hands were afflicted. Ever try to "scratch" your palms??
Or, the sides of your fingers? The webbing between them? <frown>
OTOH, 10 or 20 seconds under hot water gave me instant relief.
Impossible to describe how *great* that heat felt! SWMBO thought I was
having an "affair" with the kitchen faucet! :-/
[The skin on your palms is so thick that it took a full four
weeks for the "blisters" to reach the top surface. By then,
the disease had long since run its course and the blisters
were already "drained" when they appeared.]
Cortisone cream/ointment is nowhere near as effective (esp
on the palms... doesn't "absorb" well). Benadryl cream
seems to be a good alternative (for other areas). I keep a
tube of it in the car for just that reason.
In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 17 Sep 2015 07:53:41 -0700, Don Y
I can't remember if I ever had chicken pox, and my older brother doesn't
remember either. I think not, but I still got the shingles vaccine.
You know about that don't you, that if you've had chicken pox you're at
clear risk of shingles? To get the vaccine you have to get a
prescription from a doctor and then you can probably get vaccinated at a
pharmacy, even a supermarket one, and other places. I think it cost
me $75. I don't remember if insurance paid any of that or before that.
Shingles can be horrible and it's never good.
Interesting. One radio progrram on public radio, the guy said that
itching might be the lowest level of pain. But that was 10 years ago.
they could have changed their mind by now, or they could disagree.
Yes on the first two. I don't have webbing any more since the plastic
surgeon did the Duck Treatment on me.
I don't think I've ever used cortisone or benadryl.
You're going to hate me but I haven't gotten noticeable mosquito bites
since I've been 21. I think they stil bite me but nothing happens
afterwards. I shoudl go volunteer at a mosquito lab, if I knew where
one was. Okay I looked. Some people hardly ever get bitten. Maybe
that's my advantage
I have a complete record of all my innoculations and childhood illnesses.
When I suspected that I had the chicken pox, I was confused because I
was *sure* I had had them previously! So, I checked my records and was
able to cite the actual *date* of my first "infection".
When I expressed my surprise to my MD re: the repeat infection: "I thought
you couldn't GET this, twice?!" he calmly stated that I (obviously!) could!
I have yet to get him to let me know which of the other maladies may revisit
me. Suddenly, I'm not as "arrogant" about "I can't GET that; I've already
*had* it!" :<
Yes. The office manager was trying to divert me from my MD's office to
an ER -- so they wouldn't have to "decontaminate" the office due to my
presence ("Gee, I'm considerate enough to tell you BEFORE I show up that
I've diagnosed myself with the cpox and you're REWARDING my good
behavior by sending me to the E.R. -- where it will cost me hundreds
of dollars just to get the Dx confirmed?? Gee, thanks for your consideration!
Next time I think I have The Plague, I'll make sure I don't tell you
before I walk in and EXPOSE everyone in your waiting room...").
She insisted it must be shingles. I informed her that it definitely was
NOT -- bilateral symptoms, different appearance, etc. But, hey, what do
*I* know? SHE's the one with the medical degree!
Of course, I can't recall what body parts were infected when I had
the cpox originally. But, seeing them manifest on my hands, I was
concerned that when/if I contract shingles, would it ALSO manifest
in my hands? Apparently, there is no way of knowing which nerve it will
I think you have to be 65 or "special circumstances".
I've known people to get it in their face, eye, etc.
What doctors know would completely *fill* a small library! What
they DON'T know would fill the Library of Congress!
Cortisone is the nominal treatment for topical itch. I didn't find
it helpful. Benadryl is only marginally better. *Heat* is the
I'm outside a lot. And, tend to wear dark clothes, exclusively
(attracts mosquitoes). But, don't usually get bitten unless I've
left the rainwater barrels go too long without being emptied
(3 days and mosquito larvae manifest).
Or, if a neighbor has let their pool go sour.
Usually, it's hot enough here that any time during daylight hours
finds the mosquitoes "hiding" -- to stay out of the Sun. Just
avoid early morning (no problem, I sleep in every day! :> )
and early evening and your paths seldom cross.
Bigger concern is for pets -- who insist on going out at all
hours to "do their business".
Yes, as I learned. The question still remains: which of the other
childhood diseases can similarly take a second bite... And, is
"two" the limit?
What I had *not* remembered re: chicken pox was the body ache that preceeds
the other (itchy) symptoms! And, you are apparently contagious before
the pox appear!
It's *not* a repeat "infection".
You never eliminated the first infection.
The virus cleverly hid, in caves, near you spine, way upriver on a nerve,
and just waited, like a guerrilla, to pounce upon the unsuspecting
The virus never left. It was just waiting for your immune system to let
its guard down momentarily.
Chicken pox & Herpes zoster both are due to the same non-living Herpes
What happens the first time you get exposed, is that the virus *wins*
until your antibody titre, which takes time to build up, is high enough
to battle the virus on its own term.
It's sort of like how it took the USA six months to a year to build up
enough of a navy to start soundly defeating the Japanese Imperial Navy
way back in the early forties.
In the end, the USA soundly defeated the Japanese, just as your body
soundly defeats the Herpes viral particles which took hold of your
cellular machinery to make them slaves of the Greater Herpes Co-
But wait... a few of the Herpes viral particles go guerrilla. They hide
out in the deep jungles of your nerves, in caves called basal ganglia,
just at the terminus of deeply hidden jungle "rivers" of nerves, where
the immune system isn't deep enough to penetrate the darkness.
They lie, in wait, for the rest of your natural life!
One day, someday, when they sense a weakness in your immune system (for
whatever reason), they *burst forth* anew! Lo and behold, you're (almost)
ready for them!
You sense them pouring forth, so you ramp up your always-on-guard immune
system, and wipe them out - but not before they travel from the ganglia
downstream a nerve, giving the characteristic one-side-of-the-body long
line of Herpes Zoster.
... now back to our regularly scheduled program ...
I have never found Calamine lotion (I realize this is a "spray") to be of
much usage. Sure, it takes your mind off the itch.
But, the itch is from those nerve cells which are killed by accident by
the cytokines released during the immune response. The way the body gets
rid of the quinone hapten is to spray the local area with "anti-personnel
grenades" of cytokines, which destroy the cells which the hapten bound to.
This immune response tactic works great, except that your nerve cells are
hurt by the collateral damage from the anti-personnel grenades.
Calamine isn't going to change that. I don't know if anything, other than
a contact anesthesia will actually work - but - what I often do is take
the hottest shower I can handle.
For some reason, my lesions feel "better* after the intense burning, and,
the theory (which I am not sure is correct) is that you make the neurons
fire so much, that they run out of something they need in order to
continue to fire (either calcium, sodium, potassium, or one of the
It's short lived, but, itch relief nonetheless.
I realize that's "bro science", so, take my advice with a grain of
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