Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Does Shingles Make You Sick

Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles

What Are Side Effects of the Shingles Vaccine? A Doctor Explains

Occasionally, some people dont get a rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments you can take early for shingles. Even if you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider will help you get your condition diagnosed and treated.

How Dangerous Is Shingles

Shingles isnt considered a dangerous health condition.

Each year about 1 million new cases of shingles are reported in the United States. Most people recover and resume their normal activities once theyre no longer infectious.

However, if shingles isnt treated, particularly severe cases can lead to death.

People with autoimmune conditions and people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk for shingles complications.

Women who are pregnant may also be concerned if they develop shingles. You and your baby will most likely be safe. However, talk with your healthcare provider if youre pregnant and suspect you have shingles.

Things To Know About The Shingles Virus

Intense pain, burning, tingling and a blistering rash these are some of the common symptoms of shingles.

If youve ever had chicken pox, the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles is dormant in your nerve tissue.

So what causes shingles to spring to life wreaking havoc on your body and what can you do about it? Here are seven things you should know about the shingles virus.

1. Shingles is chicken pox coming back to get you

2. A common cold could trigger shingles

3. You can get shingles more than once

4. You cant give someone shingles

5. Vaccination can prevent shingles

6. Treatment options vary

7. Its rare but shingles can cause blindness

Randell Wexler is an associate professor of family medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox

Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens 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 didnt.

When They Start How Long They Last

Chickenpox: Causes and Risk Factors

The shingles vaccine is given in a two-shot series. You may experience side effects after the first, second, or both shots. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild and occur immediately following vaccination. They typically only last for two or three days.

Side effects of the shingles vaccine are more common in younger people, and might interrupt your normal daily activities for a few days.

This may seem like a downside of the shingles vaccine, but remember that these symptoms are a result of the creation of a strong shingles defense within your body.

It is OK to take Tylenol or Advil after a shingles vaccine to relieve symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids may help, too.

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Why Do I Need Two Doses Of Shingrix

In addition to a painful rash, shingles can lead to serious health complications like PHN, pneumonia, vision loss, hearing problems, and encephalitis . Research indicates that about 1% to 4% of people with shingles will be hospitalized.

Two doses of Shingrix offer effective protection against shingles and related complications for at least seven years. Among healthy adults ages 50-69, Shingrix is more than 90% effective in preventing PHN when two doses are administered. Among adults ages 70 and older, it is 89% effective.

Virus Reactivation And Symptoms

When the virus re-emerges, it typically reactivates in clusters of nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system called a sensory ganglion. The ganglia most likely to host varicella are those in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.

Varicella also often affects the trigeminal ganglion, which provides sensation to the face. As its name suggests, this particular clump of nerves has three branches. The one associated with eye function, the ophthalmic branch, is 20 times more likely than the other two to be affected.

Since the nervous system consists of tree-like branches of nerves, the blisters will follow the particular path of the nerves affected. That’s why a shingles rash often resembles a swath of blisters in a very specific area, rather than spread all over the body .

The area with the particular nerve cells in which the virus reawakens is where the shingles symptomsextreme pain and rashwill be concentrated.

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Along with the rash, symptoms of shingles may include:

For several days before the rash appears, you may have tingling, itching, or pain in the affected area.

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Skin Care And Itch Relief For Shingles

To relieve itching and discomfort, try:

  • A cool, wet compresses on the affected skin
  • Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion
  • Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin
  • Antihistamines to reduce itching

Keep your skin clean. Throw away bandages you use to cover your skin sores. Throw away or wash in hot water clothing that has contact with your skin sores. Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.

While your skin sores are still open and oozing, avoid all contact with anyone who has never had chickenpox, especially pregnant women.

How Long Will The Effects Last

Shingles: What you need to know about causes, symptoms, and prevention.

The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.

If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.

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Who Shouldnt Receive Shringrix

Although vaccines go through rigorous safety testing to ensure they are safe, they arent suitable for everyone. You shouldnt receive Shingrix if you:

  • have an active shingles infection
  • have a severe illness or a fever of 101.3°F or higher
  • have had a severe allergic reaction to Shingrix or any ingredient in the vaccine
  • have no immunity to varicella based on a blood test carried out for other reasons
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you currently have shingles, another serious illness, or a fever of 101.3°F , wait until these issues have resolved to receive a Shingrix vaccination.

How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.

If your pain doesnt lessen, you might try therapies like nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine. Your provider might suggest an implantable nerve stimulator device for severe, ongoing pain that hasnt responded to other treatments.

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Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.

Other things you can do include:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Dont smoke or use tobacco products.

These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.

Treatments For Other Problems Caused By Shingles

Herpes Sores On Legs  Herpes Free Me

In some cases, shingles causes long-term problems. Treatment depends on what the problem is.

  • Disseminated zoster. This is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment is done in the hospital. It may include antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus. This is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye. It could threaten your sight. Get treatment from an ophthalmologist right away. Treatment may include antiviral medicines and steroid eye drops.
  • If the shingles virus affects the nerves that begin in the brain , serious problems involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on what the problem is and where it is.

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Redness At Injection Site

Redness at and around the injection site is common and may appear immediately or some days after receiving Shingrix. This redness commonly develops due to a localized immune system response, which shouldnt cause further concern.

Arm redness should disappear within a few days after receiving the vaccine. However, if you experience redness with a rash or severe pain, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox

You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.

But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.

When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.

This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.

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When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.

You should get the shingles vaccine if you:

  • Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
  • Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
  • Dont remember having had chickenpox

Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.

You should not get vaccinated if you:

  • Currently have shingles
  • Are sick or have a fever
  • Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine

If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine.

Prevent Shingles With Vaccination

New shingles vaccine – if you’re a boomer, you need to take it

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that almost all people ages 60 and older be vaccinated against shingles, whether or not they had chicken pox in their youth or have had shingles before, says Dr. Oaklander.

The vaccination that prevents chickenpox in children was used to develop a similar vaccine that protects against shingles. It reduces the risk of getting shingles by about half, and shingles rashes that still develop are slightly less likely to cause postherpetic pain, or other serious complications, says Dr. Oaklander.

People with especially weak immune systems, such as those with cancer or anyone undergoing immunosuppressive treatments, should avoid Zostavax since the vaccine contains a weakened form of the live virus. Because Zostavax has only been available since 2006, it is still not yet clear if a single vaccination offers lifelong protection, but at this time, no booster is recommended.

A new shingles vaccine called HZ/su also may be helpful for older adults. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the vaccine was 97.2% effective among those ages 50 and older, and 97.9% effective for those ages 70 and older. And since HZ/su is not made from a live, weakened virus, it is safe to give to people with weak immune systems. This vaccine still needs to undergo further testing before it can be submitted for FDA approval, which may happen as early as this year.

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When Should I Get The Second Dose

The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 and older get a second dose of Shingrix two to six months after their first dose. If youve waited longer than six months since your first dose of Shingrix, its safe to get a second dose right away. Most people dont need to repeat the first dose.

Some immunocompromised adults may need a second dose within one to two months. If you have a disease or are taking medication that affects your immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about the best timeline for your two doses of the shingles vaccine.

What Are The Complications Of Shingles

Symptoms of shingles usually dont last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia . The most common complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . This continuous, chronic pain lasts even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present. The affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. If you had severe pain during the active rash or have impaired senses, you are at increased risk for PHN. The elderly are also at greater risk. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. Pain relievers and steroid treatment may be used to treat the pain and inflammation. Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.
  • Bacterial infection. A bacterial infection of the skin where the rash happens is another complication. Rarely, infections can lead to more problems, such as tissue death and scarring. When an infection happens near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can happen. This can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

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Am I At Risk For Shingles

Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:

  • Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
  • Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.

Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.

Dont Shrug Off Shingles

50 best Shingles images on Pinterest

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If you had chickenpox as a kid, there is a good chance you may develop shingles later in life. In fact, one in three is predicted to get shingles during their lifetime, says Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, director of the Nerve Unit at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

The same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. After the telltale spots of chickenpox vanish, the virus lies dormant in your nerve cells near the spinal cord and brain. When your immunity weakens from normal aging or from illnesses or medications, the virus can re-emerge. It then travels along a nerve to trigger a rash in the skin connected to that nerve. The rash often appears on only one side of your body. The most common locations are the chest, back, or stomach, or above one eye.

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Preventing Shingles From Making You Tired

The only way to keep shingles from making you tired is to not get shingles, and the only way to do that is to get vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated for shingles can help you to avoid shingles, PHN, and the fatigue thats associated with these conditions. Vaccination is important, even if youve already had shingles or if you had chickenpox as a child.

What Causes Shingles

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is a type of herpesvirus and is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Once a person has had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains dormant in the body and may be reactivated later in life, causing shingles.

Shingles itself is not transmitted from person-to-person, however, a person who never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine can get chickenpox from a person who has shingles.

Shingles is usually diagnosed with a physical examination and patient history.

A polymerase chain reaction test may be used to confirm a diagnosis.

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How Does It Occur

If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.

What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.

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