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.
Who’s Most At Risk Of Shingles
People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers cannot even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.
The pain of shingles can also linger long after the rash has disappeared, even for many years. This lingering pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia .
Who Should Not Get The Shingles Vaccine
The shingle vaccine is a live vaccine. This means that it contains weakened viruses that cannot cause infection but makes your body produce the antibodies it needs in case you are exposed to or get the infection later in life.Live vaccines, like the shingles vaccine, can cause an infection in people with very weakened immune systems and should not be used in people with leukaemia, lymphoma, other conditions affecting your bone marrow, tuberculosis or in people having immunosuppressive therapy such as chemotherapy. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if you are in this group. It should also not be given to children and pregnant women.
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Does The Shingles Vaccine Have Any Side Effects
The Shingrix vaccine is safe. The most common side effects include mild or moderate pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some people experience headaches, fatigue, fever, or nausea, but these side effects are temporary and should not last more than a few days. Any side effects you may experience will be much less severe than having shingles.
The side effects are the result of your body creating a strong defense against shingles. You may have a reaction to the first, second, or both doses of Shingrix. Taking an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve some side effects.
In clinical trials, serious side effects from Shingrix were extremely rare. For every one million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people had a severe allergic reaction.
Are Chickenpox And Shingles Serious Illnesses
The symptoms may be more severe in newborns, persons with weakened immune systems, and adults. Serious problems can occur and may include pneumonia , brain infection , and kidney problems. Many people are not aware that before a vaccine was available, approximately 10,600 persons were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died, as a result of chickenpox in the U.S. every year.
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If Ive Had Chickenpox Once In My Life Can I Get It Again
Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of 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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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.
Is Shingrix Safe For Everyone
Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare provider if Shingrix is right for you. You should not get the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine
- Had a severe allergic reaction to your first dose of Shingrix
- Currently have shingles
- Have a fever of 101.3°F or higher
- Have a weakened immune system due to a condition or medication
- Have had a stem cell transplant
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
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Is What My Internist Said Correct Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine And If So How Long Is The Vaccine Good For
No, you still need the vaccine, especially if they didnt prove it was shingles. Most people have no side effects from the shot, so unless you have another medical condition that compromises your immune system or have had a bad reaction in the past, there is no reason the side effects should scare you off. You should get the vaccine, definitely, if you are over 60.
Since the shingles vaccine is relatively new, how long the vaccine lasts is a question that’s still being studied. At this point we know the vaccine provides 5 years of protection at the very least, but it’s possible that you would only need to get it once in your life . By the time you would need a follow-up shot, the research will be much further along!
Is The Shingles Vaccine Safe
The FDA have approved the use of both shingles vaccines in healthy adults over the age of 50.
However, there are some instances in which a person should not get either vaccine â if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine, or have a weakened immune system, for example.
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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.
Is Shingles Contagious
Shingles is not contagious, but the virus can be spread from a person with active shingles to someone who has never had chickenpox or who never received the chickenpox vaccine. In this case, the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox. The virus can spread through direct contact with fluid from the blisters of the shingles rash. Once the shingles blisters have developed crusts, theyre no longer contagious.
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Is The Vaccine Safe
The vaccine can be given to people with a previous history of shingles infection. It should not be given to anyone who currently has shingles. As stated above, the vaccine should not be given to people who are clinically immunosuppressed because the vaccine strain could replicate too much and cause a serious infection. For more information see the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update .
In clinical trials of the vaccine, there have been no reports of someone who was vaccinated passing the virus on to anyone else. However, because the shingles vaccine is a live vaccine, it is thought that this may be possible in rare cases.
There is thought to be a very small risk that someone who has been vaccinated could pass on the virus to someone who is not immune to chickenpox. This is only thought to be a risk if the person who has been vaccinated develops a shingles type rash at the injection site or elsewhere on the body.
The shingles vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women as a matter of caution. However, studies have been carried out on pregnant women who have accidentally received chickenpox or shingles vaccines. These have not shown any link between the weakened virus in the vaccine and any specific problems in babies born to these women. See this Public Health England statement for more information.
What Should I Expect Will Happen To Me If I Get Shingles
Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and reduce the duration of your symptoms.
A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you never had shingles or had a bout of them in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.
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How To Address Pain And Itching Symptoms
Analgesics may help the pain caused by shingles, and gabapentin, a medicine used to treat nerve pain, and some anti-depressant medications, may help as well. Oatmeal baths may help to relieve some of the itching.
Finally, the Rheumatology News article states that researchers are busy developing a shingles vaccine using the inactivated herpes zoster virusits in clinical trials right now. Dr. Cush thinks it may be even more effective than the current live vaccine.
Keep your fingers crossed.
The Biology Behind That Blistering Rash
During the initial exposure to chickenpox, some of the virus particles settle into the nerve cells around the spinal cord and brain. When the virus reactivates sometimes decades later, as a result of things like stress it travels down those nerve fibers to the skin. As the virus multiplies, the telltale rash erupts.
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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.
If Ive Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox Can I Still Develop Shingles Later In Life
Unfortunately, yes, despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective and the effects of vaccines lessen with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who did not.
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Will There Be Any Side Effects From The Shingles Vaccination
There are 2 shingles vaccines: Zostavax and Shingrix .
With both vaccines it’s quite common to get redness and discomfort at the vaccination site, headaches and fatigue, but these side effects should not last more than a few days. See a GP if you have side effects that last longer than a few days, or if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.
Read more about the shingles vaccine side effects.
Can You Get Shingles If You Have Had The Vaccine
vaccinegetting shinglesoneIf you have had the vaccineshinglesyourwillif youreceived the vaccinevaccineshingles
. Keeping this in consideration, what are the chances of getting shingles after vaccine?
It’s not really surprising that you got shingles after being vaccinated. No vaccine is 100 percent effective and while childhood vaccinations get close, the shingles vaccine only cuts the risk of shingles by half for people who receive it at age 60 or older.
Also, can you get shingles if you have had chickenpox vaccine? Yes. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. People can also get shingles after getting the chickenpox vaccine. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are less likely to have shingles later in life than people who have had chickenpox disease.
Simply so, how long do you have to wait to get the shingles vaccine after having shingles?
Answer: Shingrix® is recommended for adults 50 years of age or older at least one year after a case of shingles. The vaccine should not be given to those who currently have shingles immunization may be considered at least one year after having shingles.
Who should not get the shingles vaccine?
You shouldn’t get the shingles vaccine if: You have a weakened immune system. You’re getting cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. You’ve had cancer in your bone marrow or lymph system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
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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.
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 At Risk For Shingles
Anyone who had chickenpox can develop shingles. As you age, the antibodies you developed to the chickenpox virus begin to fade. By the time you reach your 60s, you have few antibodies left to protect you. Any major health event can then lead to a reactivation of the virus.
Shingles is most likely to develop in someone whose immune system is compromised. This includes those suffering from such conditions as COPD, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or another chronic condition. Medication that suppresses the immune system, such as radiation, chemotherapy or steroids, also puts individuals at increased risk. For some, age itself is the greatest risk factor. After the age of 50, the lifetime risk of developing shingles is 30 percent.
Shingles should be treated like any active viral infection. If you are experiencing active symptoms, its especially important to stay away from those with weakened immune systems and those who have never had chickenpox.
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