If I’m Taking Antiviral Medication Such As For Cold Sores Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine
If you are being treated with any antiviral medication, such as acyclovir, valaciclovir or valganciclovir, it is best that the treatment is stopped for at least 24 hours before getting the shingles vaccine and for 14 days after vaccination. This allows the vaccine virus to replicate and induce an immune response.
Is There Anything Else You Think Is Important For People To Know About The Shingles Virus Or The Vaccine
The best way to prevent shingles and avoid its complications is to get vaccinated. Data shows that almost everyone older than age 40 has been exposed to chickenpox at some point. Even if you dont remember having chickenpox as a child, you should get the vaccine.
Glen P. Carlson, MD, HealthPartners
*According to the CDC website: Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
Im Pregnant And Have Had A Blood Test For Chickenpox What Do The Results Of This Test Show
The blood test can show that you:
- Are immune and have no sign of recent infection. You have nothing further to be concerned about.
- Are not immune and have not yet been infected. You should avoid anyone with chickenpox during your pregnancy.
- Have or recently had an infection. You should discuss what the risks are for your stage of pregnancy with your healthcare provider.
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Who Should Get Zostavax
People 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine . They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine.
Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.. Zoster vaccine live has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine , has been in use since 2017 and is recommended by ACIP as the preferred shingles vaccine.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider.
Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about shingles vaccine. Shingles vaccine is available in doctors offices and pharmacies. To find doctors offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit Zostavaxexternal icon or HealthMap Vaccine Finderexternal icon.
If I Develop Shingles How Long Does It Last And Are There Any Long
Active symptoms typically last an average of 10 to 15 days, although these symptoms can linger depending on how extensive the affected area is. Some people develop blisters that leak fluid before crusting over. Patients can also experience flu-like symptoms, including body aches, fever, chills, and fatigue. It typically takes four to six weeks for all the symptoms of shingles to resolve.
Postherpetic neuralgia is the worst complication of shingles and the risk of experiencing this complication increases with age. PHN is a severe nerve pain that can last from days or weeks to months or even years in extreme cases. Anyone whose rash occurs on the scalp, neck and shoulder area may be at an increased risk of experiencing PHN. While the majority of individuals who get shingles will not have PHN, it can be debilitating for those who do experience it.
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What Illnesses Does Varicella
Chickenpox first occurs as a blister-like skin rash and fever. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. The sores commonly occur in batches with different stages present at the same time. The blisters usually scab over in 5 days. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. Children with weakened immune systems may have blisters occurring for a prolonged time period. Adults can develop severe pneumonia and other serious complications.
Shingles occurs when the virus, which has been inactive for some time, becomes active again. Severe pain and numbness along nerve pathways, commonly on the trunk or on the face, are present. Clusters of blisters appear 1 to 5 days later. The blisters are usually on one side of the body and closer together than in chickenpox. Shingles does not spread as shingles from one person to another. If people who have never had chickenpox come in contact with the fluid from shingles blisters, they can develop chickenpox.
How Is Shingles Treated
Because the shingles virus is a herpes virus, the mainstay of treatment involves antiviral therapy for a minimum of one to two weeks. Its extremely important to complete the course of therapy even if you are feeling better. It usually takes about 48 to 72 hours to see the impact of the antiviral medication. When initiated quickly after the onset of symptoms, antiviral medication may shorten the severity and duration of the illness and decrease the chance of developing PHN.
Pain is most often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, although sometimes the pain is so severe that narcotic medication is required. If the patient cannot tolerate narcotics, we can also prescribe anticonvulsant drugs.
Itching can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as cortisone, calamine lotion and Benadryl cream. The goal is not to scratch the blisters, which could cause the area to become infected. Topical medications can also be used to protect the skin from infection.
It is possible to get shingles more than once. Patients who suspect they may be experiencing a recurrence of shingles should begin treatment as soon as they observe the new symptoms, since early treatment may prevent these patients from getting the full-blown rash.
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Know Your Shingles Risk
You can get shingles at any age if youve had chickenpox.
But older adults and those who are immunocompromised get it most often. Two-thirds of shingles cases in Canada happen to people over 50 years old. The severity of shingles and its complications also increase with age.
Age is the most important risk factor.
How To Protect Yourself
Shingles is more than an unsightly rash. After the bumps clear, you can have a long-term, painful complication called postherpetic neuralgia. “This pain can be debilitating in some people,” says Montero. “Even a light sensation, like a sheet rubbing against the skin, can cause a lot of pain.”
Ochoa’s doctor warned her there was a good chance shingles would affect her for the rest of her life. But her rash cleared up within 6 weeks. “Fortunately, I haven’t had any side effects,” she says.
Crystal Fiereck was also lucky that her shingles pain disappeared with her rash. She was only 12 years old, in sixth grade, when the bumps broke out on her side and back. But her luck changed at age 32, when she got shingles again, this time on the opposite side of her body. “The doctors said it’s rare , but it can happen,” she says. Again the rash faded quickly, but she still has some residual pain from her illness.
Getting vaccinated can dramatically lower your odds of having shingles and its complications. The new vaccine, Shingrix, is more than 90% effective at preventing the disease. It’s recommended for people ages 50 and up. You’ll need two doses, given 2 to 6 months apart, to be fully protected.
Fiereck asked her doctor about getting vaccinated and was told no. “Insurance wouldn’t cover it â¦ and it’s an expensive vaccine.”
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Vaccinate To Decrease Your Shingles Risk
Your chances of getting shingles increase as you get older. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults age 50 and older get vaccinated against shingles.
Two vaccines, recombinant zoster vaccine and zoster vaccine live are available in the United States to prevent shingles. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine.
The CDC recommends Shingrix for adults 50 years and older, whether or not they have already had shingles or previously received the Zostavaxvaccine, which has been used since 2006. You should get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. Shingrix is also 90% effective in helping to prevent PHN in those who get shingles despite being vaccinated.
While Zostavax is still available, studies show it is less effective than Shingrix.Zostavax may be used in some healthy adults 60 years and older, for example, in those who are allergic to Shingrix.
There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine. But its probably best to hold off until the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.
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Shingles and chickenpox originate from the same varicella-zoster virus.
People who had chickenpox as a child, about half of us willget shingles at some point in our lives, said Dr. David Schwartz, Chair ofInfectious Diseases at Cook County Health.
Even when one recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the nervous system. It can pick any nerve ending in your body to reappear, often in the form of a very painful rash.
The pain kicked in and the third day was probably the worst, Minogue said.
Two vaccines have earned FDA approval to prevent shingles. The newest one, Shingrix, was in such high demand in 2019, its manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline had to increase production. Shingrix is approved for people age 50 and older.
Minogue said she doesnt understand why its not available for younger people.
I know people whove had it more than once and theyre in their 40s, so it doesnt make sense that you cant get the vaccine until youre 50, said Minogue.
Dr. David Schwartz indicated that the age recommendation is based on FDA testing and risk.
The risk of getting shingles is relatively low among younger people, he argued.
The reality is, if you had chickenpox as a kid, your risk of getting shingles increases every year you get older.
The ability of the body to keep the original chicken pox virus in check seems to wane with time, Dr. Schwartz said.
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How You Get Shingles
You dont catch shingles. Chickenpox virus caught earlier in your life reactivates later to cause shingles. You cant catch shingles from someone who has chickenpox.
However, if you have shingles blisters, the virus in the fluid can infect someone who has not had chickenpox and they may develop chickenpox.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated
According to the CDC, some people should not be given the shingles vaccine, including those who:
- Have had allergic reactions to the vaccine
- Tested negative for varicella-zoster virus immunity
- Currently have shingles
- Have a severe or moderate illness that is considered acute, such as a respiratory infection
- Have a temperature of 101.3 degrees F or higher
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Can The Shingles Vaccine Be Given At The Same Visit As Other Medicines
Vaccines: The shingles vaccine can be given at the same visit as any other vaccine, including influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.Medicines: If you are taking anti-viral medicines, they should be stopped for 24 hours prior to having the shingles vaccine and for 14 days after having the shingles vaccine. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
About Dr Alpana Goswami
Dr. Alpana Goswami received her medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India. She completed residencies at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She is board certified in internal medicine and has a special focus on diabetes, hypertension, hyperlidemia, heart disease, obesity and fitness. Dr. Goswami previously served as the chair of internal medicine at Suburban Hospital.
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Dose Route Of Administration And Schedule
Live attenuated zoster vaccine
Each dose is 0.65 mL .
Route of administration
Each dose is 0.5 mL .
Route of administration
Intramuscular, into the deltoid region of the upper arm.
Administration of the RZV as a subcutaneous injection is a vaccine administration error and should be avoided. However, if Shingrix is inadvertently administered subcutaneously, that dose will be considered as valid in the vaccine series. The second dose will be given as per vaccine schedule.
For more information, refer to Vaccine Administration Practices in Part 1.
2 doses, 2 to 6 months apart. A 0,12 months schedule may be considered for improved adherence to the 2nd dose .
Providers should consider different strategies to promote adherence to the two dose schedule for RZV .
Shingles Can Strike Twice Will The Shingles Vaccine Help
- By Urmila Parlikar, Associate Director, Digital Health Products, Harvard Health Publishing
No one who has experienced the burning, stabbing, painful misery of shingles wants to think about it again. But they should. Why? Because shingles can strike twice, or rarely, even a third time. A shingles vaccine can reduce the chances of a recurrence.
Theres some disagreement about how often recurrence occurs. In one study, researchers examined medical records of nearly 1,700 patients who had a documented case of shingles between 1996 and 2001. They found that more than 5% of these patients were treated for a second episode within an average of eight years. Thats about as likely as getting shingles in the first place if youre age 60 or older. Other studies have shown the recurrence rate to be much lower.
But the bottom line is the same: having shingles once doesnt protect you from ever having it again.
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If You Were Never Vaccinated For Chicken Pox And Have Never Had Chicken Pox Can I Get Shingles Should I Be Vaccinated For Chicken Pox And Shingles
If youve never had chicken pox, no. If you did not get chicken pox as a child, dont get either vaccinations, it is likely that you are immune to the disease. Its very rare to give an adult the vaccine for chicken pox. Adults do not do well with childhood vaccinations because they can end up with complications.
Who Is Eligible For The Vaccine
People aged 70 years of age are eligible for the vaccine.
The vaccine is also available for those previously eligible but who missed immunisation. For example, anyone in their 70s who has not yet had the vaccine.
You become eligible for the shingles vaccine as you turn 70 and remain eligible up to the age of 79.
People under 70 years of age are at lower risk of shingles but will become eligible for the vaccine when they turn 70. People aged 80 years and over are not eligible for the shingles vaccination because the vaccine becomes less effective as people get older. If you are worried about shingles speak to your GP.
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Simultaneous Administration With Other Vaccines
RZV and LZV may be administered concomitantly with other live vaccines given by the parenteral, oral, or intranasal routes. For concomitant parenteral injections, different injection sites and separate needles and syringes should be used.
In general, inactivated vaccines including RZV may be administered concomitantly with, or at any time before or after, other inactivated vaccines or live vaccines protecting against a different disease.
LZV may be given at any time before or after live oral or intranasal vaccines. If two live parenteral vaccines are not administered concomitantly, there should be a period of at least 4 weeks before the second live parenteral vaccine is given.
Concomitant administration of pneumococcal 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine and LZV has not resulted in decreased efficacy and so the two vaccines can be given concomitantly.
For more information, refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1.
When Should I See My Doctor
Most patients seek medical help because the pain and burning feel so peculiar. We usually see patients within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms and thats the best time to begin treatment. The later you begin treatment for shingles, the greater the chance you will develop complications from the illness.
Lesions on the eyes or face can affect the nerves around your eye and the eye muscles, so seeing an ophthalmologist quickly is crucial to avoid complications that can affect your vision.
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Why Young Adults Can Develop Shingles
Shingles can develop in anyone whos had chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, VZV remains dormant within nerve cells in your body.
In some cases, VZV is triggered to reactivate. When this happens, the virus begins to replicate again and move along the affected nerves. When it reaches your skin, the characteristic shingles rash develops.
What causes VZV to reactivate is unknown. However, reactivation is associated with a weakened immune system.
A weakened immune system can occur due to age. But in younger adults, the immune system can be compromised by acute or chronic illness or extreme stress.
People who are immunocompromised have a higher risk of developing shingles regardless of age.
Who Should Get Shingrix
Healthy adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. You should get Shingrix even if in the past you
- had shingles
- are not sure if you had chickenpox
There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
If you had shingles in the past, you can get Shingrix to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans 40 years and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember having the disease. Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.
* A shingles vaccine called Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
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