One in 5 people will get shingles, and the chance increases with age, particularly after age 50. With odds like that, knowing the symptoms of shingles is useful information to have. Shingles represents a reactivation of a virus called varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, that virus is still in your nervous system. The shingles vaccine can reduce the risk of getting shingles by at least 50 percent and reduces the pain in people who do get shingles even after receiving the vaccine.
^ Weller TH (1953). “Serial propagation in vitro of agents producing inclusion bodies derived from varicella and herpes zoster”. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 83 (2): 340–46. doi:10.3181/00379727-83-20354. PMID 13064265.
On a concluding note, only those who have had an episode of chickenpox previously can get affected by herpes zoster or shingles. If a person, who has not had chickenpox in childhood comes into contact with a person affected by shingles, he/she is at a risk of developing chickenpox, and nor shingles. Getting vaccinated for chickenpox is a preventive measure that should be taken to lower the incidence of shingles.
From October 2016, the Australian Immunisation Register will record the vaccines given for all people living in Australia. This means that if you see another health service anywhere in Australia, then your vaccine history can be checked on the register.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommended that adults who have received the older vaccine get the new one. Even with the committee vote, this recommendation still awaits formal endorsement by the head of the C.D.C., which usually takes a couple of months. Insurance companies must also agree to cover the cost of the vaccine, which GSK estimates to be $280 for two doses.
In this situation, since you’ve tested the patient and the results were negative, the patient should receive varicella vaccine. A person age 50 years or older who has no medical contraindication is eligible for recombinant zoster vaccine regardless of their memory of having had chickenpox. However, if an adult age 50 years or older is tested for varicella immunity for whatever reason, and the test is negative, he/she should be given 2 doses of varicella vaccine at least 4 weeks apart, not zoster vaccine.
At first, the shingles rash appears as small raised dots. One difference between shingles and other rashes is the pattern that develops. The shingles rash often develops in a pattern along the nerves of the chest and belly.
Two zoster vaccines are available in the United States. Zoster vaccine live (ZVL, Zostavax, Merck) is a live attenuated vaccine that was licensed in 2006. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for persons 50 years and older and recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for persons 60 year of age and older. It is administered as a single dose by the subcutaneous route.
Some people may also be under the impression that the condition is rare. That’s not the case. In fact, shingles is common. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, about 50 percent of people who live to age 85 will develop shingles at some point in their life.
Effective treatments are available to help lessen the impact of shingles. For best prognosis and fastest recovery, early start of oral antiviral pills is most important. All shingles cases will eventually resolve with or without treatment.
After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus stays in nerve cells in your spinal cord for the rest of your life. Usually, the virus lies dormant and doesn’t cause any problems. But if your immune system, which normally protects your body against infection, is weakened, the virus can become active again. If this happens, it causes shingles.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-itch lotions, such as calamine, can relieve the pain and itching of the shingles rash. If the pain is severe or the rash is concentrated near an eye or ear, consult your doctor right away. Additional medications, such as corticosteroids, may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
Examples are infection of the brain by the varicella-zoster virus, or spread of the virus throughout the body. These are very serious but rare. People with a poor immune system (immunosuppression) who develop shingles have a higher than normal risk of developing rare or serious complications. (For example, people with HIV/AIDS, people on chemotherapy, etc.)
In clinical trials, the side effects also included injection site redness and swelling, muscle pain, and immune system responses such as headache, shivering, fever, and upset stomach. Most, according to GlaxoSmithKline, its manufacturer, lasted less than three days.
This type of viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Shingles usually appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck, or face.
The recommended interval between RZV doses is 2 to 6 months. The minimum interval between doses of RZV is 4 weeks. If the second dose is given less than 4 weeks after the first dose the second dose should be repeated at least 8 weeks after the invalid dose.
Scientists don’t know exactly why some people develop shingles and others don’t, but there are some risk factors. It tends to flare up in people with weakened immune systems, including HIV and cancer patients, and organ transplant patients who take immune-suppressing medications to prevent organ rejection. Stress or trauma may play a role. Shingles also may be age-related, since it mostly affects older adults, especially people who are 60 to 80 years old.
Varicella zoster virus is not “curable” because the virus stays dormant in the body for life. Once someone is initially exposed to the varicella virus, immunity develops that generally prevents a second bout of typical chickenpox. However, this immunity may fade over time, making older adults more prone to a later onset of a limited recurrence of the chickenpox virus as shingles.
The committee also considered possible challenges to giving adults two shots of a vaccine instead of only one. Real world data on other two-dose vaccines suggest that some people do not get both doses.
The infection can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days to develop after exposure to someone with chicken pox or shingles. People with chicken pox are contagious a couple days before their rash appears and remain so until all of their blisters have scabbed. A person with shingles, on the other hand, can only spread their infection while their skin rash is still blistering. They’re not contagious before the blisters occur, and are no longer contagious once the rash starts to scab.
Vaccinations increase our ability to fight diseases that may be contagious or even fatal. Immunity occurs by getting the disease or through the use of a vaccine. There are two types of vaccine: inactivated vaccines and vaccines made from live, weakened viruses.
Shingles is sometimes called herpes “zoster”, a Greek word meaning “girdle” or “belt”, which describes the appearance of the rash. The Afrikaans name, “gordelroos”, is also descriptive of the appearance.
Bathing is generally allowed, and the affected area can be washed with soap and water. Cool compresses and anti-itching lotions such as calamine lotion may also provide relief from symptoms. An aluminum acetate solution (Burow’s or Domeboro solution, available at pharmacies) can be used to help dry up the blisters and oozing. Application of petroleum jelly can also aid in healing. Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines, such as diphenyydramine (Benadryl) and pain medicines can also help provide relief.