Ali Fedotowsky-Manno revealed she was recently diagnosed with shingles in a candid Instagram post this week. Fedotowsky-Manno is sharing her personal story—including photos—and general information in an attempt to raise awareness about the common condition, which is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox and results in painful rashes.
Fedotowsky-Manno said that she first tried to hide the rashes that were appearing on her forehead and eye area (wearing sunglasses in her Instagram posts this week, for instance) to shield herself from social media speculation. But she decided to speak up in the hopes of helping other people get diagnosed early like her—especially younger people.
“I was diagnosed with shingles,” Fedotowsky-Manno wrote. “I don’t really know why I wanted to hide it. I think it’s mostly because I didn’t want the added stress or pressure of the Internet while I was trying to rest and heal.” The Bachelorette alum continued, “I’m sharing now because I hope my story will help others detect it early,” and “early detection is key in hopefully lessening the severity and duration of shingles.”
While shingles is “relatively common” in older adults, as Fedotowsky-Manno notes, it is a misconception that younger people don’t also suffer from the condition. “I didn’t even think it was possible to get it at my age,” wrote Fedotowsky-Manno, who is 36. “But based on my DMs, I’m realizing it’s getting more and more common in younger people.”
In the post, Fedotowsky-Manno shared photos and videos documenting the progression of her shingles symptoms, which typically include pain, burning, tingling, sensitivity, itching, red rashes, and crusting blisters on a small area of skin, per the Mayo Clinic. For Fedotowsky, the very first signs were pretty subtle and included small bumps, itchiness, and tingling on her forehead. “I remember I kept itching my head and felt this electricity underneath my skin (my nerves acting up),” said Fedotowsky, who included in the post a video of her forehead that she sent to her dermatologist.
After a FaceTime call and consultation, Fedotowsky-Manno’s dermatologist diagnosed her with shingles and started her on treatment. “I am soooo grateful that she diagnosed me early and got me on the proper medication,” Fedotowsky-Manno wrote. Fedotowsky-Manno’s symptoms started to get worse and affect her vision, even though her doctor caught it early on. “So early, that it was a day before I even had a tiny little pimple-like spot on my face, which I wouldn’t have thought twice about,” she wrote, and “days before I had multiple spots that ended up causing swelling and blurred vision in my eye.”
Fedotowsky-Manno is indeed lucky. Shingles usually only impacts a small area on one side of your body, and most commonly shows up on the torso, according to the Mayo Clinic. But sometimes it can appear on one side of the face, neck, or eye area. And shingles pain and rashes around the eye, if left untreated, can cause a painful eye infection and lead to permanent eye damage, the Mayo Clinic says.