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How Long Can Shingles Last

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Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Speak to a board-certified doctor securely from your phone or computer and get medication for shingles in 15 minutes. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can appear anywhere on the body, it most often is a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the left or right side of your torso. With our same-day treatment service, you can meet with a top online doctor, get diagnosed, and receive the medication you need.

What Are The Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine

Just like with any other medication or vaccine, there is always a risk of potential side effects or allergic reactions. The shingles vaccine, however, is considered to be safe and poses a small risk of side effects.

  • The Zostavax shingles vaccine may cause:
  • Redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the site of the injection, or
  • The Shingrix shingles vaccine may cause:
  • Soreness, mild or moderate pain, or redness and swelling in the injected arm,
  • 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

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    Burning Feeling And Red Rash

    Between 1 and 5 days after you start to feel the tingling or numb feeling, a red rash will develop on the same area of your skin. Most often, the rash appears on one side of your torso, but it can show up anywhere on your body.

    You may also have other symptoms along with the rash, such as:

    When the rash starts, you should see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. Starting antiviral medication treatment within 3 days of the rash first appearing can lower your risk of developing complications, like long-term pain.

    What Can I Take To Feel Better

    Impact Resistant Shingles in Houston, TX

    Your doctor has a host of ways to treat your pain after shingles, including a variety of medications. They include:

    Anticonvulsants: These medications were developed to control seizures, but they can also help reduce the pain of postherpetic neuralgia. Examples are:

    Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of any new prescription or over-the-counter medication.

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    Who Should Get The Shingrix Vaccine

    The Shringrix vaccine is recommended in healthy adults age 50 and older. There is no maximum age. You should get the vaccine even if:

    • Youve had shingles.
    • Youre not sure if youd had chickenpox .
    • Youve already had the Zostavax vaccine. This vaccine for shingles is no longer available in the U.S. Ask your healthcare provider about the best time to get the Shingrix vaccine.

    If you currently have shingles, you need to wait until the shingles rash has gone away. Talk with your provider about the proper time to begin vaccination with Shingrix.

    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.

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    New Shingles Vaccine: What You Need To Know

    Nov. 13, 2019 â Unlike some vaccines, thereâs been so much demand for the new shingles vaccineShingrix that itâs not always easy to find. It was approved in 2017, and the CDC recommends the vaccine for adults 50 and older to prevent this painful, blistering illness. It is being used in place of the previous vaccine, Zostavax.

    More than a year later, doctors say they are learning more about how it works, its safety risks, and how it compares to Zostavax.

    How effective is Shingrix?

    âItâs just remarkable,â says Wilbur Chen, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine. âIt has performed better than I expected.â

    In studies, Shingrix was more than 97% effective at preventing shingles in people 50 and older. It works just as well in older adults, who are at greater risk for a painful shingles complication called postherpetic neuralgia . âWhen 70- and 80-year-olds get shingles, it can be extremely debilitating,â Chen says.

    By contrast, Zostavax cuts the risk of shingles by only 51% and PHN by 67%. Itâs only about 38% effective in people over age 70.

    How safe is Shingrix?

    âSo far so good,â Schaffner says. The main side effect is soreness in the arm where you get the shot.

    Other side effects are mild and usually last for 2 to 3 days, including:

    Who shouldnât get Shingrix?

    Can I get the Shingrix vaccine now?

    How do I pay for Shingrix?

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    How To Treat And Prevent Shingles

    How to treat shingles

    Shingles is treated using antiviral medications, such as:

    To manage shingles pain, you can also use numbing creams like lidocaine, or place a cool, wet washcloth on your skin.

    It’s important to get treatment as quickly as possible because, “people with shingles can develop long-term pain or itch after the shingles resolves if the virus does too much damage,” Kim says.

    To stop yourself from spreading varicella-zoster to anyone else, try to cover up your rash when possible and avoid directly touching it.

    The best way to prevent shingles is to get a shingles vaccine. The newest vaccine, called Shingrix, is 85% to 90% effective at preventing shingles in people who have already had chickenpox. If you have never had chickenpox, you will need to get the chickenpox vaccine instead.

    Read Also: Why Does A Person Get Shingles

    What Does Early Stages Of Shingles Look Like

    Shingles progress through several stages as the virus replicates in your body. Shingles start as a rash with red bumps, known as papules, distributed most frequently over your back and torso.

    Within several days, grouped blisters are present. Within seven to ten days, the vesicles dry up and crust.

    The early stage of shingles looks like small, red, raised, solid pimples or an inflamed rash. These are tiny, raised bumps on the skin. Eventually, these bumps blister and later crust. The beginning stages of shingles create tingling and localized pain.

    The early stages of shingles are also described as itching, burning, or deep pain. People who have had shingles also described the early stages as similar to the beginning of the flu.

    What Does Postherpetic Neuralgia Feel Like

    You usually have pain on one side of your body, where you had the blisters. The feeling is described as shooting, sharp, or stabbing. Other signs you have neuralgia include:

    • It hurts to be touched: Sometimes, you canât bear clothing rubbing on your skin. You might feel discomfort from a light breeze.
    • Long-lasting pain: This condition can last 3 months or longer after the shingles rash has healed. In some people, itâs permanent. For most, it gets better over time.
    • Other sensations: Sometimes, you might feel burning, itching, tingling, or aching along with the shooting feelings. Some people feel numb or get headaches.
    • You may also get a fever and generally feel worn-out.

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    Who Shouldn’t Get A Shingles Vaccine

    The CDC says some people shouldn’t get the shingles vaccine. That includes those who:

    • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
    • Tested negative for VZV immunity
    • Currently have shingles
    • Have a severe or moderate acute illness, such as a respiratory infection

    Your healthcare provider can answer any questions you have about whether the vaccine is safe for you.

    How Long Does The Shingles Vaccine Last

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    Currently, Shingrix is the vaccine on the market that can help decrease your risk of shingles. It also decreases your risk of PHN.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Shringrix is more than 90% effective at protecting adults ages 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems. This immunity lasts for a minimum of 7 years after the vaccination.

    Adults who have weakened immune systems benefit from 6891% effectiveness of Shingrix in preventing shingles and PHN.

    The CDC recommends that the following people get the Shingrix vaccine:

    • adults over age 50 years, even if they have already had shingles
    • adults over age 19 years with weakened immune systems

    Contact your doctor if you wish to discuss getting the shingles vaccine.

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    How Long Shingles Lasts And How Serious It Can Be

    The rash usually appears a few days after the initial pain and tingling, and lasts for about a week. The older you are, the more likely you are to have long-lasting pain. Sometimes shingles develops in the eye and may also affect the eyelid.

    This can cause severe pain and lead to decreased vision or even permanent blindness in that eye. Most people recover fully, but for some, the pain goes on for several months or even years this is called post-herpetic neuralgia .

    This is a particularly unpleasant condition with severe burning, throbbing or stabbing nerve pain. The vaccine reduces the risk of getting shingles and PHN. Even if you still get shingles, the symptoms may be much reduced.

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    When Should I Contact A Doctor For Shingles Symptoms

    As soon as you believe that you may be experiencing a shingles infection, let your doctor know. Starting treatment with an antiviral medication within 3 days of your rash appearing can help decrease the severity of your infection and prevent PHN.

    Even if you have had the rash for longer than 3 days, contact your doctor for advice on how to proceed with treatment.

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    Who Gets Postherpetic Neuralgia

    About 1 out of 5 people who have shingles will have these sharp, ongoing pains afterward. Certain things can increase your chances of getting it:

    • Age: Most people who get postherpetic neuralgia are older than 60.
    • Gender: Women seem to get it more than men.
    • Early symptoms: People who have numbness, tingling, or itching before a shingles rash even appears tend to get the lingering pain later.
    • Pain at the start: If you had severe pain or a rash during the beginning of your outbreak, you have a greater chance of the neuralgia later.
    • Other health problems: People with ongoing conditions that can weaken the immune system, like HIV and cancer, seem more likely to get it.

    What Are Some Common Treatments For Shingles

    New treatment for the pain of shingles

    The CDC recommends that adults 50 years or older receive two doses of the shingles vaccine. Additionally, several antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective when taken immediately after the rash appears.

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    What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Postherpetic Pain

    Theres no standard treatment for the symptoms of postherpetic pain . Depending on the severity of your pain, you may start with over-the-counter products. If your pain is more severe, one or more prescription medications may be tried. PHN is difficult to treat. Achieving a complete symptom-free state was achieved in less than half the patients with PHN, according to one study.

    PHN tends to happen in older individuals who may have other health conditions, which can complicate treatment and results. Pain can last weeks, months and even longer than a year. In some people, the pain can be debilitating. In most people, PHN lessens with time.

    A note from Cleveland ClinicThe best way to not get postherpetic neuralgia is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. Vaccines are available to protect against developing both of these viral infections.

    Once you develop chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains in your body for life. If the virus reactivates and causes shingles, you have a few days around the rash outbreak to see your provider and get an antiviral medication, which can significantly lessen your symptoms. Still, if you develop PHN, your provider has many medications available to manage your symptoms.

    Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    • Ive had chickenpox. Am I at risk of developing shingles?
    • What is the best treatment for my shingles?
    • The pain from shingles isnt going away. What can I do to make myself more comfortable?
    • Im on treatment for shingles. When should I call my doctor if things dont get better?
    • I have shingles and my children havent had the chickenpox vaccine. Should I get them vaccinated?
    • Is the shingles vaccine right for me?
    • Are there any risks associated with the shingles vaccine?
    • Will my post-herpetic neuralgia ever go away?
    • If Ive never had the chickenpox, should I still get the shingles vaccination?

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    When Should I See My Doctor

    See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.

    See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:

    • symptoms that affect your eye area
    • a temperature of 38°C or higher

    You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

    How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated

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    If you think you might have shingles, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Its important to see your doctor no later than three days after the rash starts. The doctor will confirm whether you have shingles and can make a treatment plan. Most cases can be diagnosed from a visual examination. If you have a condition that weakens the immune system, your doctor may order a shingles test. Although there is no cure for shingles, early treatment with antiviral medications can help the blisters clear up faster and limit severe pain. Shingles can often be treated at home.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Develop Shingles

    What Is Shingles And How Do You Catch It

    Shingles is a painful skin rash that forms on one side of the body. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles can affect people who have had chickenpox, even if they had the illness long ago.

    Once youve had chickenpox, the virus becomes inactive in the body and can reactivate years later. The virus can remain inactive in your nerve roots for many years, and then wake up and travel down the path of a sensory nerve to the skincausing shingles. You may develop shingles more than once in your lifetime.

    How Is Shingles Diagnosed

    Your healthcare provider will do a complete physical exam and ask about your medical history, specifically about whether you have ever had chickenpox.

    Your healthcare provider will likely know right away that it is shingles based on the unique rash. The rash usually appears one area on one side of the body or face. It appears as red spots, small fluid- or pus-filled vesicles, or scabs.

    The healthcare provider may also take skin scrapings for testing.

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    Why Does Postherpetic Neuralgia Happen

    Postherpetic neuralgia starts out with a very familiar illness: chickenpox. The virus that causes it is called varicella-zoster. Once chickenpox has run its course, the virus âhides outâ in your nervous system.

    Doctors arenât sure exactly why, but sometimes the virus reactivates decades later and travels along pathways to your skin. A painful, blistering rash can erupt. Thatâs shingles.

    In some cases, shingles can damage your nerves so that they canât send messages from your skin to your brain as they usually do. That scramble of signals can trigger the ongoing pain of neuralgia.

    If the pain lasts more than a year, it can become permanent.

    How Long Does Shingrix Last

    Shingles: What Are the Causes and Best Treatments?

    The immunity conferred from Shingrix for the prevention of shingles is thought to last longer, and be more effective than the previous shingles vaccine, Zostavax.

    The immune response from the shingles vaccine Shingrix is reported to be at least nine years based on the cellular response to the vaccine according to the CDC. However, âimmune responseâ doesnât necessarily correlate to vaccine effectiveness in terms of preventing episodes of shingles.

    Other data indicates that the Shingrix vaccine maintains greater than 90% efficacy at least four years after vaccination according to GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the vaccine.

    In addition, the New England Journal of Medicine has reported that Shingrix maintains around 88% efficacy at least four years after vaccination in patients vaccinated 70 years of age or older.

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