The shingles vaccine has not been shown to cause any serious side effects or health consequences. Minor side effects of the vaccine include redness, swelling, soreness, or itching at the site of injection, and headache. It is safe for those who have received the shingles vaccine to be around babies or those with weakened immune systems. It has not been shown that a person can develop chickenpox from getting the shingles vaccine, although some people who receive the vaccine may develop a mild chickenpox-like rash near the injection site. This rash should be kept covered and will disappear on its own.
You cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles. However, it is possible for someone who has not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine to get chickenpox from someone with shingles. This is uncommon and requires direct contact with the fluid from the shingles blisters. For more information about chickenpox and the chickenpox vaccine, see HealthLinkBC File #44a Facts About Chickenpox and HealthLinkBC File #44b Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine.
The rash usually lasts about 10 to 15 days. During that time, a scaly crust might appear. Once the attack is over, the skin usually returns to normal, but there can be some scarring or a secondary bacterial infection in severe cases.
A 60-year-old patient was inadvertently given varicella vaccine instead of zoster vaccine. Should the patient still be given the zoster vaccine? If so, how long an interval should occur between the 2 doses?
The first sign of shingles, which is also called herpes zoster, is pain that might feel like burning or tingling on one side of your face, chest, back, or waist. It can be intense. You might also feel like you’re coming down with the flu, with symptoms such as:
People with mild to moderate pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Topical lotions containing calamine can be used on the rash or blisters and may be soothing. Occasionally, severe pain may require an opioid medication, such as morphine. Once the lesions have crusted over, capsaicin cream (Zostrix) can be used. Topical lidocaine and nerve blocks may also reduce pain. Administering gabapentin along with antivirals may offer relief of postherpetic neuralgia.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which can occur if shingles affects the nerves in your head and can result in partial facial paralysis or hearing loss if left untreated (if treated early, most patients make a full recovery)
Shingles is a disease characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of the body, typically the face or torso. This condition may also be referred to as herpes zoster, zoster, or zona. The word shingles comes from the Latin word cingulum, which means belt. There are approximately 1 million estimated new cases per year in the U.S., with almost one out of every three people developing shingles at some point in their lifetime. Though most people who develop shingles will only have a single episode, there are some who develop recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles is more common in older individuals and in those with weakened immune systems.
The varicella vaccine (Varivax) has become a routine childhood immunization to prevent chickenpox. The vaccine is also recommended for adults who’ve never had chickenpox. Though the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t get chickenpox or shingles, it can reduce your chances of complications and reduce the severity of the disease.
^ Chen N, Li Q, Yang J, et al. (2014). He L, ed. “Antiviral treatment for preventing postherpetic neuralgia”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2): CD006866. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006866.pub3. PMID 24500927.
Shingles is often a severely painful skin condition. Some people may have pain in the general area days to weeks before the onset of the blisters. The most important clue to shingles diagnosis is unilateral pain and blisters on the skin. A typical shingles eruption never crosses the midline of the body and occurs only on one side: right or left. Extremely rare cases of shingles may become diffuse and spread to the entire body in patients with very compromised immune systems.
Shingles prevention steps include vaccination. There is a U.S. FDA-approved vaccine (Zostavax) for adults 50 years of age and older to help lessen the risk of shingles, and it is recommended for adults aged 60 and older. Zostavax is a live attenuated vaccine and therefore carries a small risk of shingles when administered. There is also a U.S. FDA-approved chickenpox vaccine called Varivax which is used primarily in a single dose for children between 12-18 months of age or older who have not had chickenpox.
Shingles is contagious to people who have not previously had chickenpox when there are new blisters forming and old blisters healing. Like with chickenpox, the time prior to healing or crusting of the blisters is the contagious stage of shingles. After all of the blisters are crusted over, the contagious period is over and the virus can no longer be spread.
In phase 3 trials, the vaccine was 97% effective against shingles in those 50 years and older, and it was 89.8% effective for those 70 years and older. Additionally, Shingrix was shown to be 89% effective in preventing post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) in those 70 years and older and 91% effective in those 50 years and older.
The causative agent for shingles is the varicella zoster virus (VZV) – a double-stranded DNA virus related to the Herpes simplex virus. Most individuals are infected with this virus as children which causes an episode of chickenpox. The immune system eventually eliminates the virus from most locations, but it remains dormant (or latent) in the ganglia adjacent to the spinal cord (called the dorsal root ganglion) or the trigeminal ganglion in the base of the skull.
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The rash and pain usually subside within three to five weeks, but about one in five people develop a painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia, which is often difficult to manage. In some people, shingles can reactivate presenting as zoster sine herpete: pain radiating along the path of a single spinal nerve (a dermatomal distribution), but without an accompanying rash. This condition may involve complications that affect several levels of the nervous system and cause many cranial neuropathies, polyneuritis, myelitis, or aseptic meningitis. Other serious effects that may occur in some cases include partial facial paralysis (usually temporary), ear damage, or encephalitis. During pregnancy, first infections with VZV, causing chickenpox, may lead to infection of the fetus and complications in the newborn, but chronic infection or reactivation in shingles are not associated with fetal infection.
^ Furuta Y, Ohtani F, Mesuda Y, Fukuda S, Inuyama Y (2000). “Early diagnosis of zoster sine herpete and antiviral therapy for the treatment of facial palsy”. Neurology. 55 (5): 708–10. doi:10.1212/WNL.55.5.708. PMID 10980741.
Getting inoculated with the chicken pox vaccine as part of your normal childhood vaccinations is vital for future health. “The immunization for chicken pox prevents severe chicken pox, which means you don’t run the risk of life-threatening complications like staph infections or encephalitis that occasionally crops up with chicken pox,” Gershon says.
^ a b Steiner I, Kennedy PG, Pachner AR (2007). “The neurotropic herpes viruses: herpes simplex and varicella-zoster”. Lancet Neurol. 6 (11): 1015–28. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(07)70267-3. PMID 17945155.
Painful blisters aren’t usually harmless bug bites. “Some people mistake shingles blisters for spider bites, says Tracy Lippard, MD, geriatrician for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “Getting care quickly is important, as the medication to treat shingles works best if it’s started within three days of the rash.” (Check out these eight diseases that are written all over your face—literally.)
Healthy immune systems keep the virus in a dormant state. But people who have weakened immune systems, either because of an illness or because the immune system declines with age, can develop shingles.
When considering symptoms of Shingles, it is also important to consider Shingles as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Shingles may cause:
“Based on the encouraging boost in immunity seen in people who get a booster, it’s a reasonable expectation that they would be protected for some time after the second dose,” said the lead author of the new study, Dr. Myron J. Levin, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. “But it’s not yet proven. Some physicians may think the evidence is strong enough to give the second dose now.”
Eventually the loss of the oils causes asphalt shingle fibers to shrink and wood shingles to rot, exposing the nail heads under the shingles. Once the nail heads are exposed, water running down the roof can seep into the building around the nail resulting in rotting of underlying roof building materials and causing moisture damage to ceilings and paint inside.
The virus that causes shingles, the varicella zoster virus, can be transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the fluid from the active blistering rash. Therefore, susceptible individuals should avoid contact with people who have active shingles, especially pregnant women who have never had chickenpox and immunocompromised individuals. It cannot be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, and it is not contagious before the blisters appear. Once the shingles rash has dried and developed crusting, it generally is not considered to be contagious.
Zostavax offers moderate protection against shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia in the first few years after vaccination — 51 percent and 67 percent, respectively. But the protection wanes quite quickly and appears to be gone within seven to nine years after vaccination.
^ Thomas SL, Wheeler JG, Hall AJ (2002). “Contacts with varicella or with children and protection against herpes zoster in adults: a case-control study”. The Lancet. 360 (9334): 678–82. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09837-9. PMID 12241874.
Some cases of shingles can affect one of the eyes and are known as ophthalmic shingles. This occurs when the virus is reactivated in part of the trigeminal nerve, a nerve that controls sensation and movement in your face.