Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How Long Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Last

Who Should Get Shingrix

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

Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.

You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:

  • Received varicella vaccine

There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.

If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.

Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.

Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.

If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.

* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.

Shingles Or Something Else

Small blisters that appear only on the lips or around the mouth may be cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters. They’re not shingles, but are instead caused by the herpes simplex virus. Itchy blisters that appear after hiking, gardening, or spending time outdoors could be a reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your rash, see your healthcare provider.

Prevention And Cautionary Notes

Even a mild case of shingles can be very uncomfortable and complications sometimes develop. You can significantly reduce your risk of shingles by getting the herpes zoster vaccine . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for people age 60 and older, even if you’ve already had shingles 1.

Contact your doctor right away if you suspect you might have shingles and have risk factors for complications, including: — age older than 60 — HIV or another illness that weakens your immune system — current treatment with cancer, steroid or organ transplant medications

Reviewed by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.

  • Even a mild case of shingles can be very uncomfortable and complications sometimes develop.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you suspect you might have shingles and have risk factors for complications, including: — age older than 60 — HIV or another illness that weakens your immune system — current treatment with cancer, steroid or organ transplant medications Reviewed by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.

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Can Infection With Vzv During Pregnancy Harm The Baby

Many mothers-to-be are concerned about any infection contracted during pregnancy. Some infections can be transmitted to the baby either across the mothers bloodstream to the fetus or during the birth process. Chickenpox virus infection during pregnancy poses some risk to the unborn child, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. During the first 30 weeks, maternal chickenpox may, in some cases, lead to congenital malformations. Such cases are rare and experts differ in their opinions on how great the risk is. Most experts agree that shingles in a pregnant woman, a rare event, is even less likely to cause harm to the unborn child.

If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox between 21 to 5 days before giving birth, her newborn can have chickenpox at birth or develop it within a few days. But the time lapse between the start of the mothers illness and the birth of the baby generally allows the mothers immune system to react and produce antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies can be transmitted to the unborn child and help fight the infection. Still, a small percent of the babies exposed to chickenpox in the 21 to 5 days before birth develop shingles in the first 5 years of life because the newborns immune system is not yet fully functional.

The Stages Of Shingles Recovery

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After the rash develops, which usually appears on only one side of the body, it forms blisters. You may feel like you have the flu or a mild fever. As you recover, you will typically go through these stages:

  • Blisters begin to burst or weep about 5 days after they develop, and lasts from 7 to 10 days. You should take time off from work and other activities during this period, because you can spread the virus to others through the fluid in the blisters. Otherwise, you can return to work when you feel comfortable doing so.
  • The blisters will scab over and begin to heal, which takes from 1 to 3 weeks, unless the rash is on your scalp in which case it can take several months.
  • As they heal, the blisters become smaller and less painful, generally over a period of 3 to 5 weeks.
  • About 10 to 15% of people with shingles will develop chronic nerve pain, which can be severe. Sensitivity to touch at the site of the rash is possible. The older you are, the more likely it is you will develop this disorder, called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN. The pain often lessens over time. Available treatments include anti-inflammatory injections, nerve blocks, certain tricyclic antidepressants, or capsaicin cream, which is made from chili peppers and can help ease nerve pain.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix

Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.

If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.

A Mild Case Of Shingles

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the chickenpox virus. If youve ever had chickenpox, you can develop shingles because the virus remains in your body. It can be dormant for many years and then unexpectedly become active again and cause shingles. People who are younger and have a healthy immune system typically have milder symptoms. But even a mild case of shingles can last several weeks. While there is no cure, treatment options are available.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

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When To Call A Doctor

if you:

  • Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
  • Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia .

If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have PHN. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

Will Shingles Go Away Without Treatment

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

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus . This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

This virus remains dormant in a part of your nervous system called the dorsal root ganglion. It can be reactivated during times of stress or illness, or when the immune system is weakened by an autoimmune disease or cancer.

The risk of developing shingles is relatively low for healthy young adults about 4 out of 1,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Its much higher for those above age 60. Shingles affects about 1 out of 100 people in this older age group, the CDC says.

Generally, a case of shingles rash resolves within 3 to 4 weeks. It can resolve without treatment, but antiviral treatment can shorten both the duration and severity of the rash.

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What To Do When Shingles Makes You Tired

If youre experiencing fatigue during or after shingles, try out some of the suggestions below to help you cope.

  • Set up a sleep routine. Pain from shingles or PHN can make it hard to sleep. However, setting up a regular sleep routine may help you get to sleep a little easier. Try setting a firm bedtime, or doing something relaxing before going to sleep.
  • Reduce stress. Stress can really sap your energy. Additionally, if you have shingles, stress may make your symptoms worse. Because of this, try to find ways to effectively reduce your stress levels.
  • Eat often. Eating often may help you keep your energy levels up while youre feeling tired. Try to space out meals and healthy snacks out so that youre eating something every few hours.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel fatigued or sluggish, so make sure youre getting enough fluids.
  • Reach out. Try to reach out to family and friends for their support and understanding. If fatigue is significantly affecting your mood and daily life, it may also be beneficial to engage with a support group or a mental health professional.

How Common Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

Varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. About 99% of Americans over age 40 have had chickenpox. About one in three people in the U.S. develop shingles in their lifetime. Some 10 to 18% of people who get shingles will develop postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles.

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If My Shingles Rash Is Mild Or Has Mostly Healed Do I Need To See A Doctor

Its a good idea to see a doctor whenever you have a case of shingles, no matter how mild.

Prompt antiviral treatment not only decreases the duration and severity of the rash but can also decrease the chance of developing post-herpetic neuralgia. Post-herpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles characterized by long-term, debilitating pain.

If your rash has mostly healed, its still a good idea to see a doctor so they can monitor the rash for changes or complications, such as a bacterial skin infection that forms on top of your existing rash. This is known as a superimposed infection.

What Causes Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia results from damage to nerve fibers during shingles infection. The nerve fibers at the skin in the affected area send exaggerated pain signals to your brain. Postherpetic neuralgia means nerve pain after herpes. Shingles is also called herpes zoster.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Once youve had chickenpox, the virus remains in your body for your entire life, but is dormant or silent for years. When the virus becomes reactivated, it causes shingles. A certain percentage of people who get shingles develop PHN.

Recommended Reading: How To Cover Shingles Rash

How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Diagnosed

Postherpetic neuralgia is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms, history of having shingles and physical exam. If youve had a recent case of shingles and have pain in the area where the shingles rash once was, you likely have PHN. Your provider may want to make sure your pain is not caused by something else, but in most cases, no other tests are needed.

What Should You Expect If You Get Shingles

Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and end symptoms earlier.

A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you’ve never had shingles in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

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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.

Prevent Shingles With Vaccination

How to treat shingles

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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Shingles Rash In The Eyes

Ophthalmic shingles, or herpes zoster ophthalmicus , is when the shingles rash is in and/or around the eye. It is a severe variant that affects 20% of people with the infection.

If you develop a shingles rash near your eye, contact your healthcare provider right away.

lauraag / Getty Images

HZO usually appears within two to four weeks after a shingles rash starts. People who have a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are at higher risk for developing this.

All parts of the eye can be affected. For example:

  • You can develop blisters around the eye that may cause the eyelids and surrounding area to swell.
  • The corneaâthe transparent part over the front of the eyeâcan be affected, causing calcification .
  • Blood vessels in the eye could become more pronounced blood flow to the eye could be impacted.

To reduce your risk of long-term eye complications, contact your healthcare provider right away if you have a shingles rash on your face.

Check If You Have Shingles

The first signs of shingles can be:

  • a tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
  • a headache or feeling generally unwell

A rash will appear a few days later.

Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.

The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.

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What Are Some Common Treatments For 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.

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.

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