What Are Signs Of Shingles In Adults
If you’re concerned about shingles, there are a few key signs to look out for. While plenty of types of skin rashes involve some redness, shingles is going to develop fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over. They’ll look a little like hives on skin before they crust over. Before those develop, you may experience pain or a burning sensation, itchiness, sensitivity to touch, and a red rash that develops a few days after the pain has started. It’s also possible to experience fever, headache, and sensitivity to light when shingles start to develop.
If you think you’re at risk for shingles, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. For answers to your questions and an effective treatment program, set up an appointment at North Pacific Dermatology to see which treatment is right for you today.
Can You Get Shingles More Than Once
Multiple shingles episodes can happen.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the majority of people who get shingles get it only once in their lifetime.
Vaccination is available for shingles, and it can be effective. The vaccine can reduce your risk of infection and can prevent shingles in most people.
If you have never had chickenpox, you can also get a chickenpox vaccine.
To avoid infection, try to avoid direct contact with a person who has a blistering rash.
- a recent transplant, surgery, or treatment, such as chemotherapy
Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.
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Stay Away From Certain Groups Of People If You Have Shingles
You cannot spread shingles to others. But people who have not had chickenpox before could catch chickenpox from you.
This is because shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus.
Try to avoid:
- pregnant people who have not had chickenpox before
- people with a weakened immune system like someone having chemotherapy
- babies less than 1 month old unless you gave birth to them, as your baby should be protected from the virus by your immune system
What About The New Shingrix Vaccine
Shingrix is the clear vaccine of choice, Orrange said. Its 97 percent effective at preventing shingles, and immunity is not believed to wane over time. While Zostavax contains a weakened live virus which works especially well in helping children fight off the varicella zoster virus Shingrix works differently. This vaccine contains a single protein that causes the immune system to recognize the varicella zoster virus. It seems to work better for older people.
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Shingles Vaccination What You Should Know:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends shingles vaccine for people 60 years of age and older. This is a one-time vaccination to prevent shingles. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccine.
Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox or not. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease.
Your risk for getting shingles begins to rise around age 50. However, shingles vaccine is only recommended for persons age 60 and older because the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine have only been studied in this age group.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider. Generally, a person should make sure that the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.
What Is Causing The Shingles Epidemic
While there has been a rise in cases of shingles, despite what you will read on most anti-vax websites, it is not because of the chickenpox vaccine .
In fact, it has been shown that:
- The trend in rising shingles cases in adults began before we even started giving kids the chickenpox vaccine in the United States
- The trend in rising shingles cases in adults did not continue to increase after we started giving kids the chickenpox vaccine in the United States
- The trend in rising shingles cases in adults also exists in other countries that do not routinely give kids the chickenpox vaccine
Whatever the reason for the trend in rising shingles cases in adults, it isn’t because more kids are protected from chickenpox now.
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How To Avoid Adult Chickenpox
Getting vaccinated against chickenpox is the best way to avoid chickenpox infection so you wont have shingles later in life. While a vaccine doesnt provide complete immunity to chickenpox, it can limit the severity of symptoms should you get infected.
Vaccinating children early lowers the risk of a chickenpox infection significantly. The two-dose vaccine is typically administered at about 15 months of age and then again at around 4 to 6 years of age.
If youre older than 13 and have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine, you can still get vaccinated. The process involves two doses, at least 28 days apart.
It can be tough to avoid getting a chickenpox infection from someone with chickenpox, because people with chickenpox are contagious from one to two days before the rash appears until the lesions scab over. The virus is spread through direct contact with fluid from the blisters, breathing in aerosols of the blister fluid, and possibly also by respiratory secretions.
If youve never had chickenpox, you should also avoid contact with anyone who has shingles. In shingles, the virus can be transmitted through direct contact with fluid from the blisters. It only can do this while the rash is present, and the person remains contagious until the blistering rash crusts over.
What If Youre Over 50 And Have Never Had Chickenpox
If youre over 50 and confident that youve never had exposure to chickenpox, a primary doctor can run a blood test to determine your level of chickenpox immunity.
If it turns out that youve never been exposed to chickenpox, consider getting vaccinated against the virus to protect against any future exposure.
Most adults between 30 and 50 years old dont need to worry about racing to get either the chickenpox or shingles vaccine.
Consider getting the shingles vaccine before turning 50 if you:
- work in an industry that might have higher exposure to chickenpox, like healthcare or teaching
Do not get a chickenpox vaccine if you:
- previously had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of chickenpox vaccine or any ingredient of the vaccine
- are moderately or severely ill
Talk with a doctor before getting a chickenpox vaccine if you:
- have HIV or another condition that affects your immune system
- are taking a medication that affects your immune system for 2 weeks or longer
- have cancer of any kind or are taking medications for cancer
- have recently had a blood transfusion
Before shingles appear, youll normally develop:
- pain in the body
The shingles rash typically starts as a single strip rash around the side of the body. It may eventually break out to another nearby area if you spread it by scratching.
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Who Is Susceptible To Developing Shingles
According to the CDC, more than 99 percent of Americans 40 years and older have had chickenpox.
Its important to note that even if you dont remember having the disease, it may be lying dormant in your body. Therefore, much of Americas population of people 40 and older are susceptible to developing shingles.
You Can Get Chickenpox As An Adult
The majority of cases occur in kidsbut if you never had chickenpox and you’re exposed to the varicella zoster virus as an adult, you can certainly still come down with the illness. And unfortunately, you’re probably in for a worse ride: “It’s usually milder in kids,” says Dr. Parsons, also a dermatologist in private practice at Dermatology Consultants of Sacramento. In adults, the virus can be severe, potentially even leading to pneumonia or meningitis, she says.
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Who Needs Chickenpox Vaccine
Children under age 13 years should get two doses
- First dose at age 12 through 15 months
- Second dose at age 4 through 6 years
The second dose may be given at an earlier age if it is given at least 3 months after the first dose.
People 13 years of age and older who have never had chickenpox or received chickenpox vaccine should get two doses, at least 28 days apart. Chickenpox vaccination is especially important for
- Healthcare professionals
- People who care for or are around other people whose body is less able to fight germs and sickness
How Does Shingles Happen
The only way you can get shingles is if youve had chickenpox first. If someone has shingles and is at the blister stage when contagious, he or she could transmit the virus to youbut you would get chickenpox, not shingles.
If you had chickenpox when you were younger, your body fought off the virus, but it didnt totally get rid of it. When this happened, the virus went into hiding somewhere at the base of a nerve in your body for years and stayed dormant. Then, at some point when you get older, between 50 and 60 years old, the virus will decide to wake up and cause a rash again, this time as shingles.
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I’m Pregnant And Have Recently Been Exposed To Someone With Chickenpox How Will This Exposure Affect Me Or My Pregnancy
- Susceptible pregnant women are at risk for associated complications when they contract varicella. Varicella infection causes severe illness in pregnant women, and 10%-20% of those infected develop varicella pneumonia, with mortality reported as high as 40%.
- Because of these risks, pregnant women without evidence of immunity to varicella who have been exposed to the virus may be given varicella-zoster immune globulin to reduce their risk of disease complications.
- If you are pregnant and have never had chickenpox, and you get chickenpox during the:
- First half of your pregnancy, there is a very slight risk for birth defects or miscarriage.
- Second half of your pregnancy, the baby may have infection without having any symptoms and then get shingles later in life.
- Newborns whose mothers develop varicella rash from 5 days before to 2 days after delivery are at risk for neonatal varicella, associated with mortality as high as 30%. These infants should receive preventive treatment with varicella-zoster immune globulin .
You Can Get Shingles Multiple Times Sadly
The virus can go into hiding again, only to rear its ugly head down the road. “It just goes and hides in the nerve root again,” Dr. Parsons explains. “For my young adult patients who get it, I’ll recommend getting the shingles vaccine sometime in the next few years.” Insurance may not cover vaccination before 50, so you’ll have to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
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Can You Get Chickenpox If You’ve Been Vaccinated
Yes. About 15% 20% of people who have received one dose of varicella vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild. Vaccinated persons who get chickenpox generally have fewer than 50 spots or bumps, which may resemble bug bites more than typical, fluid-filled chickenpox blisters. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend routine two-dose varicella vaccination for children. In one study, children who received two doses of varicella vaccine were three times less likely to get chickenpox than individuals who have had only one dose.
Why Do I Need A Chickenpox Or Shingles Test
You may need a chickenpox or shingles test if you are at risk for complications, are not immune to VZV, and/or have symptoms of infection. Symptoms of the two diseases are similar and include:
- Red, blistering rash. Chickenpox rashes often appear all over the body and are usually very itchy. Shingles sometimes appear in just one area and are often painful.
You may also need this test if you are in a high-risk group and were recently exposed to chickenpox or shingles. You can’t catch shingles from another person. But the shingles virus can be spread and cause chickenpox in someone who doesn’t have immunity.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.
You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.
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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What Are Risk Factors For Shingles
A weakened immune system might wake up the virus. After youâve had chickenpox, youâre more likely to get shingles if you:
- Are 50 or older
- Are under a lot of stress
- Have cancer, HIV, or another disease that lowers your bodyâs defenses
- Have had a serious physical injury
- Take long-term steroids or other medicines that can weaken your immune system
But many people who get shingles donât fit into any of these categories.
In Rare Cases It Can Take Years For Shingles Pain To Quiet Down
People usually recover from shingles in a few weeks to a few months, but the pain of an angry, inflamed nerve can linger, occasionally as long as six months to a couple of years, Dr. Parsons says.
Early treatment with antiviral medicine can shorten the duration of your symptoms and may help prevent long-lasting pain, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Shingles
Often the first shingles symptoms happen in the area where the rash will appear. A person may have tingling, itching, or pain in this area. When the rash shows up, the pain may be mild or severe.
The rash starts as groups of tiny pimples on one side of the body or the face. It’s often in the shape of a band or belt. The pimples change to pus-filled blisters that break open and scab over in about 710 days. The scabs usually heal and fall off about 24 weeks after the rash starts.
Some kids with shingles also may have a fever and a headache, and might feel tired and achy. Rarely, a child has the pain of shingles without the rash. More severe symptoms can happen, but usually in people over age 50.
How Well Does Shingrix Work
Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.
- In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
- In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
- In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.
In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.
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Age And Weak Immune System Increase Your Risk Of Getting Shingles
Although anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, your risk of developing shingles increases with age. Most people get shingles in their 50s or later in life.
Its rare to get shingles before 40 years of age. Scientists are still studying why this happens. Its likely that your immune system keeps the virus dormant. When the immune system starts to weaken, which may start in your 50s, the virus can wake up.
Age increases your risk of getting shingles
Many people who had chickenpox dont remember having it and are unaware that they can get shingles.
Anyone who has a weakened immune system also has an increased risk of getting shingles. This includes people who have:
Some cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma
Human immunodeficiency virus
To take medication that suppresses the immune system, such as people living with an organ transplant, severe psoriasis, or advanced psoriatic arthritis
To receive certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
What Is The Link Between Shingles And Chicken Pox
Chicken pox and shingles are the same virus but in different forms. Chicken Pox is usually the first presentation, which typically happens in younger individuals and with a characteristic patten of blisters, crusting and a trunkal rash, while Shingles tends to happen later and can be associated with painful blisters in a nerve distribution. The varicella virus sits within the nerve endings, after the initial Chicken Pox infection, and if you become unwell or your immune system is under attack, it can develop as a secondary infection.
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