Ch. 9 reporter shares experience with shingles – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE — Channel 9’s Jonathan Lowe shares his personal experience with shingles – a painful and debilitating disease that affects more people than you probably think.

Doctors estimate that one in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime. If you have already had chickenpox, the virus is already present in your body. Shingles develops when this virus reactivates later in life.

By all accounts, shingles is a painful and miserable condition that causes blisters, itching, and extreme nerve pain. But that’s not all he can do.

Journalist Jonathan Lowe learned about it firsthand and agreed to share his experience so you can take steps to protect yourself. He moved to the other side of the camera for an interview with presenter Erica Bryant.

“I thought I just had a normal cold, like fever at night, chills. And we were about to go on vacation so I definitely didn’t want to be sick,” Lowe said.

“I was taking ibuprofen, it seemed to help. We were still able to go on vacation, so at that point it didn’t seem like a big deal.

“Describe when that changed,” Bryant said.

“The second day it got worse,” he said, adding: “It was like a burn, but from the inside.”

“At night it was really bad,” Lowe said. “The blisters and nerve pain were incredible.”

“You describe pain like you’ve never felt before,” Bryant said.

“I fell off my bike, broke my two front teeth and have a bun on my leg. I’m a little clumsy. I backed into the exhaust of a moped. Nothing comes close,” he said.

“I told my husband, ‘I have to go to the medical center on the ship.'”

“As soon as I took off my shirt, the technician who admitted me immediately said, ‘I think you have shingles.’”

“I went on TV and it was just too early”

Lowe started taking antiviral medications, which seemed to work. He had no way of knowing the virus was spreading.

“What was the worst?” asked Bryant.

“What most people call Bell’s palsy,” Lowe said.

The virus that causes shingles, also known as herpes zoster, can spread to the nerves of the face. That’s what happened to Lowe.

Dr. Cramer McCullen is his physician.

“So you might have droopy eyelids, droopy eyes, droopy lips, changes in your taste, your saliva, your tear production,” Dr. McCullen said.

“I thought shingles was bad, but this one is by far the worst,” Lowe said.

“Why is this the hardest part?” asked Bryant.

“Just worry about what was happening to my face,” he said.

Lowe took time off and then worked without appearing on camera.

“One evening we had major news. And you know, all of us – it’s just second nature for us to get into it,” Lowe said.

“Totally my decision, you know. My teammates asked me, “Are you sure?” And I said “sure, I can go.” And I got on TV. And it was just too soon.

“The phones in the newsroom blew up, my Twitter blew up, and I got emails asking if I’d had a stroke.”

“But I want to say that I fully appreciate every single person who has reached out to me,” Lowe said. “And I felt that and I –”

“They expressed their attention and their concern. And love to you,” Bryant said.

“Yeah. And – Very emotional,” Lowe said.


Lowe still has issues with his left eye and eyebrow, but he’s come a long way since it all started in March. His message now is for everyone to consider the shingles vaccine.

“I’m 41, I just turned 41, so I’m not 50,” he said. “In most places you don’t get the vaccine or it’s not recommended to get vaccinated until age 50.”

“I just wanted to mainly say to people: talk to your doctor, regardless of your age. 20, 30, 40, 50 years – at least have a conversation, because I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that.

One of Lowe’s doctors said he’s seeing more people in their 20s and 30s being diagnosed with shingles.

The shingles vaccine is administered in two doses spaced a few months apart. For people ages 50 to 69, doctors say this product is 97% effective in preventing shingles.

There is much more to know about shingles, including its symptoms and side effects. The following links provide more information:

(WATCH BELOW: Pharmacist highlights importance of vaccines before holiday travel)

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News Source :
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