Shingles Disease And How To Protect Against It
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that develops on one side of the face or body. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past can get shingles because VZV remains in the body after a person recovers from chickenpox. VZV can reactivate many years later, causing shingles.
Shingles is more common in older adults, people who have medical conditions that weaken the immune system, and people who take medications that suppress their immune systems. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent shingles.
Conventional Treatment And Prevention
Standard treatment for herpes virus infections is antiviral medication. The main antiviral medications used for both shingles and herpes are acyclovir, famciclovir , and valacyclovir .10,64,72 All three medications can be taken orally, reduce pain, and speed healing of the lesions however, famciclovir and valacyclovir areoften preferred because they require less frequent dosing than acyclovir.72
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingles Immunisation
All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.
For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.
Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of shingles vaccines, or if you have possible side effects that worry you.
Common side effects of shingles vaccines include:
- pain, redness, swelling or itching where the needle went in
Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. With Zostavax® vaccination, very rarely a generalised chickenpox-like rash may occur around 24 weeks after vaccination. This may be associated with fever and feeling unwell. This rash may be a sign of a serious reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Seek medical attention and inform of recent Zostavax vaccination if you experience this reaction.
The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against shingles? list the side effects of each vaccine.
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How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
The vaccine recommended for most people is a live vaccine called Zostavax. It contains a weakened chickenpox virus . It’s similar , but not identical, to the chickenpox vaccine.
People with a weakened immune system cannot have live vaccines. They will be offered a non-live vaccine called Shingrix. It activates the immune system but also contains an ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps to boost the response to the vaccine.
Very occasionally, people develop chickenpox following shingles vaccination . Talk to a GP if this happens to you.
Disclaimer And Safety Information
This information is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified health care professional. Anyone who wishes to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition should first consult with and seek clearance from a physician or other qualified health care professional. Pregnant women in particular should seek the advice of a physician before using any protocol listed on this website. The protocols described on this website are for adults only, unless otherwise specified. Product labels may contain important safety information and the most recent product information provided by the product manufacturers should be carefully reviewed prior to use to verify the dose, administration, and contraindications. National, state, and local laws may vary regarding the use and application of many of the therapies discussed. The reader assumes the risk of any injuries. The authors and publishers, their affiliates and assigns are not liable for any injury and/or damage to persons arising from this protocol and expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
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For Patients Who Do Not Report A Prior Episode Of Varicella
When vaccinating adults age 50 years and older, there is no need to screen for a history of varicella infection or to conduct laboratory testing for serologic evidence of prior varicella infection. More than 99% of adults age 50 years and older worldwide have been exposed to varicella zoster virus, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices considers people born in the United States prior to 1980 immune to varicella. Therefore, even if a person does not recall having chickenpox, serologic testing for varicella immunity is not recommended. It is often a barrier to herpes zoster vaccination, and false negatives are common. However, if serologic evidence of varicella susceptibility becomes available to the healthcare provider, providers should follow ACIP guidelines for varicella vaccination. Shingrix has not been evaluated in persons who are seronegative to varicella, and it is not indicated for the prevention of varicella.
Why People Are Talking About Covid And Herpes
First, let’s talk about how the COVID vaccine became linked to herpes in the first place.
A recent study published in Rheumatologylooked at the effect of mRNA-based vaccines on patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases – a group of diseases that cause your immune system to attack your joints, muscles, bones, and organs, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren syndrome, and polymyositis.
The study reported that out of 491 patients with AIIRD, six adult women developed herpes zoster infections, aka shingles, within three to 14 days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine – five developed symptoms after their first dose and one after receiving the second dose. The researchers noted that these six women accounted for only 1.2 percent of the 491 patients with AIIRD involved in the study. Meanwhile, zero patients in the control group experienced a herpes zoster infection after vaccination.
The information was then published on April 20 in the New York Post, where it began making the rounds online. And though the study’s lead author, Victoria Furer, M.D., did tell the Jerusalem Postthat there’s no causal link between the two , she mentioned that the vaccine could be a “trigger” to patients with similar pre-existing conditions. And this was enough to create a little internet frenzy particularly among those who are already skeptical of getting the vaccine in the first place.
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How Can The Covid
It’s important to point out that the study didn’t prove the COVID-19 vaccine causes shingles. Instead, the study found a link, and even the study authors wrote that the association needs to be researched more.
That said, this connection isn’t shocking to doctors. “People with autoimmune disorders that are on immunosuppressant medications are at higher risk of having shingles,”infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health. Vaccines can also impact the immune system, and “there have been reports of vaccines causing shingles in the past,” Dr. Adalja says.
“This can happen with the flu vaccine and others,” Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Health. And if someone already has an autoimmune condition, they may be at greater risk of shingles, Dr. Adalja adds.
Dr. Adalja calls the study “well done” and says it simply shows that “this phenomenon can occur after the COVID-19 vaccine as it has with others.”
Our Rating: Missing Context
We rate this claim MISSING CONTEXT because without additional context it might be misleading. An Israeli study found the COVID-19 vaccine may be associated with HZ reactivation in some people with immune conditions, but their findings do not prove a definite link since the number of cases were small and the study was not designed to determine causality. And the type of herpes being discussed here is not the sexually transmitted disease many will associate with that term. Varicella-zoster virus, which causes herpes zoster and chickenpox in children, does not cause genital herpes or cold sores. The infection is caused by reactivation of the virus in people who had the childhood disease.
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Progesterone Hormonal Contraception And Herpes Infection In Women
A number of studies have shown that multiple aspects of immunity in the female genital tract are controlled by sex hormones, and hormones influence susceptibility to several sexually transmitted diseases, including HSV infection.
Evidence from animal studies has shown that treatment with female sex hormones had a significant impact on rates of HSV-2 transmission. Treatment with estradiol was found to confer some protection against vaginal HSV-2 infection in a mouse model, whereas progesterone was found to exacerbateviral infection and contributed to extensive inflammation.146-148 This may be because progesterone induces a diestrus-like state, during which mice are most susceptible to HSV-2 infection.149
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Acyclovir Injection
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives difficulty breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- tremors, seizure
- blood in your urine
- kidney problems–little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath or
- low blood cell counts–fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.
Common side effects may include:
- swelling or bruising around the IV needle
- rash, itching, hives or
- low blood cell counts.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax
Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. Consider the patients age and when he or she received Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix. Studies examined the safety of Shingrix vaccination five or more years after Zostavax vaccination. Shorter intervals were not studied, but there are no theoretical or data concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or effective if administered less than five years after a patient received Zostavax.You may consider an interval shorter than five years between Zostavax and Shingrix based on the age at which the patient received Zostavax. Differences in efficacy between Shingrix and Zostavax are most pronounced among older patients. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of Zostavax wanes substantially over time, leaving recipients with reduced protection against herpes zoster. For example, the vaccine efficacy among adults age 70 to 79 years and adults age 80 years and older is 41% and 18%, respectively, on average during the first three years following Zostavax vaccination.You should wait at least 8 weeks after a patient received Zostavax to administer Shingrix.
The Claim: Herpes Infection Could Be A Rare Side Effect Of Covid
The good news in the fight against the coronavirus: New cases continue to decline, according the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bad news: So are daily vaccinations, which peaked in mid-April.
Experts say part of the deceleration may correlate with the timing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause announced April 13 but lifted April 23. Part of it may also be due to lingering fears surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.
One such recent claim connects the shot with herpes infection.
“Herpes infection could be a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new study,” claims a from The Raging Patriot, an account that advertises itself as “Real News by Real Patriots.”
These purported findings have been disseminated widely on social media and refer to an Israeli study published in April in the journal Rheumatology.
USA TODAY has reached out to The Raging Patriot for comment.
Citing a scientific report might sound convincing and concerning, especially since many people would associate herpes with the sexually transmitted disease.
“No honey I did not have sex with anyone. It was that damn vaccine that gave me the herpes!” commented one Instagram user on the post.
But that’s not the kind of herpes referenced here. And that’s not exactly what the study found.
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Shots May Help Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission
Three-shot regimen seems to control lesions as effectively as daily pills, but wider trials needed
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2, 2016 — Three injections of a therapeutic vaccine may control genital herpes as effectively as daily pills for at least a year, a new study suggests.
Researchers tested the experimental vaccine in 310 people with herpes from 17 centers around the United States. The three shots, administered three weeks apart, appeared to reduce patients’ genital lesions and the process of “viral shedding” in which they can spread the disease through sexual contact.
Infectious disease experts hailed the vaccine as a promising development in the treatment of genital herpes. The incurable disease affects about one in every six people ages 14 to 49 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“In general terms, people receiving have greater than 50 percent fewer days in which virus is present in their genital tracts, which in theory may reduce transmission,” said study author Jessica Baker Flechtner. She’s chief scientific officer at Genocea Biosciences, the Cambridge, Mass., manufacturer of the vaccine.
“However, this would need to be proven in a well-powered clinical trial,” she added. “Our trials have included both men and women, and to date, we have not seen a difference in the vaccine impact between genders.”
Patients were randomly split into seven dosing groups, including a placebo group.
A Closer Look At The Safety Data
Both Shingrix and Zostavax shingles vaccines have been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Common side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, are usually mild to moderate in intensity and resolve quickly on their own.
In 8 clinical trials of more than 10,000 participants:
- Grade 3 reactions were common after patients received Shingrix.
- About 1 out of 10 adults who received Shingrix reported grade 3 injection-site symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.
- About 1 out of 10 reported grade 3 systemic reactions such as myalgia , fatigue , headache, shivering, fever, and gastrointestinal illness.
- Most people who got Shingrix reported at least some pain at the injection site.
- A 2013 study showed that patients with a history of a previous shingles rash had the same side effects after Zostavax as those with no history of shingles. See Safety of zoster vaccine in elderly adults following documented herpes zosterexternal icon.
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Who Can Have The Shingles Vaccination
Shingles vaccination is available to everyone aged 70 to 79.
When you’re eligible, you can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year.
The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 or over because it seems to be less effective in this age group.
Read more about who can have the shingles vaccine.
Healthmore People Turn To Social Media For Std Advice
Sanofi Pasteur Inc. is moving ahead with a vaccine called HSV529, Rinaldo said. “That’s based on an attenuated virus. They’ve taken out two proteins that are essential for the virus to replicate efficiently. The virus replicates poorly and apparently doesn’t cause lifelong infection.”
Other vaccine candidates are in the works, with at least one showing positive results in mouse models, Rinaldo said.
Linda Carroll is a regular health contributor to NBC News and Reuters Health. She is coauthor of “The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic” and “Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings.”
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What Other Drugs Will Affect Acyclovir Injection
Acyclovir can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, or pain or arthritis .
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect acyclovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
A Vaccine For Herpes Erupts In The News
Good news in the world of virology.
For the first time, there is a promising vaccine to treat Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 , commonly known as genital herpes. HSV-2 is an infection that infects 500 million people worldwide, and 24 million in the United States, second in prevalence only to HPV among sexually transmitted viruses in the U.S.
The vaccine, which is called GEN-003 is currently in Phase II trials , where it is doing rather well. More on this later.
For being such a common infection, there are big gaps in public knowledge about herpes, so heres a quick primer:
Although HSV vaccines have been extensively studied, clinical trials have consisted of one failure after another, including a large one that bombed in 2012.
There are three drugs for genital herpes that can be used chronically to suppress outbreaks, or short-term to treat them, but they have limitations. Existing antiviral drugs do affect outbreaks, but not shedding .
The GEN-003 vaccine helps control both outbreaks and shedding. Outbreaks, as measured by the number of lesions, decreased between 43 and 69 percent, and viral shedding by 55 percent. Unlike every other vaccine against infectious pathogens, GEN-003 is not preventative, it is therapeutic that is, for people who have already been infected. The researchers are also considering trials to prevent infection, but this will not happen soon.
“Astellas, Vical herpes vaccine fails mid-stage study”
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