Ali Fedotowsky revealed she has shingles and is sharing her story to raise awareness about early detection, particularly for younger people who think they might not be susceptible to the illness.
Fedotowsky, 36, told her Instagram followers that she had been hiding her face in photos by wearing sunglasses and putting her hair over her left eye in photos.
"I don’t really know why I wanted to hide it," the Bachelor Nation star wrote. "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. In fact, stress is likely the reason I got #shingles."
One of the most obvious symptoms of shingles is a red, painful rash. Fedotowsky shared photos of red welts on her forehead so people could see what it looks like.
"I'm sharing now because I hope my story will help others detect it early. I didn't even think it was possible to get it at my age," she said.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. The virus can stay inactive in the body and reactivate years later, resulting in shingles. People are more susceptible to shingles when their immune system is lower, typically during an illness or a period of stress.
The viral condition typically typically affects older people, which is why the CDC recommends people get a shingles vaccine at age 50. However, Fedotowsky said she has been getting messages from other young people sharing their experience with it.
Fedotowsky said " kept itching my head and felt this electricity underneath my skin," which is when she decided to contact her doctor.
"I am soooo grateful that she diagnosed me early and got me on the proper medication. 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 (see 3rd pic) & days before I had multiple spots that ended up causing swelling and blurred vision in my eye," she wrote.
The mom of two said she's trying to limit her stress to help with her recovery. She also promised to keep her followers updated on her experience and what she learned.
"Anyway, I just wanted to share because early detection is key in hopefully lessening the severity and duration of shingles," she said.