Thursday, April 11, 2024

How Long Does Shingles Pain Usually Last

Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

Shingles Pain withDallas Pain Specialist Dr. George Farhat

Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.

Shingrix® is given as a two-dose shot in the upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.

Due to high levels of demand for the Shingrix vaccine and a supply shortage, the vaccine manufacturer is managing the timing and distribution of the vaccine throughout the United States. It plans to continue to manage the availability of the vaccine and hopes to make available the same or increased number of doses and to shorten the wait time for delivery this year .

Who Should Avoid The Shingles Vaccine

Some people should not receive the shingles vaccine, including pregnant women and those with significantly suppressed immune systems.

Pregnant Women

The shingles vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. It is recommended that a woman wait three months before trying to become pregnant after she has received the shingles vaccine.

People With Weakened Immune Systems

People with weakened immune systems due to immune-suppressing medications, HIV disease, cancer treatment, or organ transplants should not receive the shingles vaccine because it contains live, weakened virus particles.

People Under Age 60

There is not enough information available to determine whether Zostavax may be generally beneficial in people younger than 60 years of age.

What You Can Do To Help Recover From Shingles

There is no cure for shingles, but there are medications, including antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, to help fight the infection.

While your shingles is active, you should:

  • Rest and relax. Try moderate activities, such as walking and listening to music that can help take your mind off the pain. For severe pain, your doctor may prescribe narcotic pain relievers, corticosteroids, and anticonvulsants.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Keep the rash clean and dry. Do not cover it or use ointments, which can prevent the from bursting and beginning to scab over.
  • Try cool compresses, calamine lotion, or an oatmeal bath to ease the itching and pain of the .
  • Dont share bedding, clothing or towels in order to avoid spreading the infection while you have blisters.

There are effective vaccinations available to prevent shingles, so if you have had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting protected from shingles.

Don’t Miss: Is New Shingles Shot Covered By Medicare

What Increases The Risk Of Long

The risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia increases with age. Four weeks after getting shingles,

  • 27% of 55- to 59-year-olds and
  • 73% of over 70-year-olds had nerve pain.

Women seem to be more likely to have longer-lasting nerve pain than men. Post-herpetic neuralgia is also more likely to develop if your eyes were affected by shingles.

How Postherpetic Neuralgia Is Treated

How long does shingles last? Timeline and treatment

Many effective treatments are used to treat PHN, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and a range of alternative therapies. There is no one approach to treatment that will work for everyone. A combination of treatments often is needed to reduce pain.

Medications

Your doctor may first recommend drugs you can get at the drugstore without a prescription, such as acetaminophen , or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Capsaicin creammade from hot chili pepper seedsis also something you may want to try. When applied to the affected skin it may help reduce PHN-related pain. All of these treatments may cause side effects, including the capsaicin cream, so it is important to talk to your doctor about the correct way of using them.

If these medications arent strong enough to treat your PHN symptoms, your doctor may suggest some of the following prescription medications:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These include drugs such as amitriptyline , nortriptyline , and desipramine these drugs take a few weeks to start working.
  • Anticonvulsants: These drugs include gabapentin , carbamazepine , and pregabalin .
  • Antivirals: These drugs include valacyclovir and acyclovir.
  • Lidocaine patches: Placed on your skin, the lidocaine in the patches penetrate your skin and go to the nerves sending the pain signals.
  • Capsaicin patches : These prescription patches contain very high concentrations of capsaicin and is applied in the doctors office for one hour every three months.

Recommended Reading: What Works For Shingles Pain

How Does Someone Get Shingles

Only people who have carry a dormant infection can contract shingles because the viral illness sticks around in nerve tissue that can reactivate later in life. While people of all ages can develop shingles, its most common in people who are over age 60.

Risk factors for shingles include increased age, leukemia, lymphoma, and HIV infection. People who receive steroid treatments and cancer chemotherapy are also part of the high-risk category. At the same time, people with underlying conditions that affect their bodys ability to fight infection are also at risk. This can include people with diabetes or other conditions.

What Else To Expect With Postherpetic Neuralgia

Not everyone with PHN will experience the same type of pain symptoms.Researchers found that patients with PHN report three major types of pain:

  • Constant pain described as burning, aching, or throbbing
  • Intermittent pain described as stabbing, shooting, or like electric shocks
  • Pain triggered by but disproportionate to a stimulus 5
  • The length of time PHN lasts also varies. Many patients report symptoms lasting from one to three months, but some patints may experience symptoms up to a year or longer.6

    Because you may have to live with a certain degree of pain and discomfort for many weeks or months if you have PHN, expect some effect on your daily living.

    • Physical impacts: may include fatigue, weight loss, reduced mobility, physical inactivity, and insomnia.
    • Psychological impacts: may include anxiety, emotional distress, depression, difficulty concentrating, and fear.
    • Social impacts: may include withdrawing from social engagement, isolation, attending fewer social gatherings, loss of independence, change in social role.
    • Functional impact: may include difficulty with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and eating, as well as activities such as cooking, shopping, and travelling.7

    Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Clear Up Shingles

    Your Good Health: Nerve

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 78-year-old woman, and I am in my 10th week of shingles. I have them on my left chest and back and on my upper arm. I cant go anywhere because I cant stand when my clothes or bra touches me. I now have severe shooting pains on my arm area, mostly at night but also during the day. The rash on my chest, although mostly healed, is still very painful. Im desperate for help. I use lidocaine, which helps for an hour or so. This is my second bout of shingles. I had them 10 years ago. I was advised by my internist not to get the shingles vaccine after that last bout. Is there anything I can do?

    P.C.

    Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the recurrence of the chickenpox virus after years or decades of the virus being dormant. The herpes virus can escape the immune system during times of stress or simply as we age.

    Pain around the time of shingles is nearly universal, but the duration of time is variable. The type of pain you have now is caused by damage to the nerve and is called acute neuritis.

    Once the pain has lasted more than four months, the diagnosis of postherpetic neuralgia is made. Unfortunately, postherpetic neuralgia can last a very long time for people over 65 with persistent, active PHN, the average duration of symptoms was about three and a half years.

    K.J.

    People with HSV-1 and HSV-2 may both donate blood, but its recommended not to do so during an outbreak.

    Can Shingles And Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented

    How to Treat and Prevent Shingles with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

    Shingles can only be prevented if you never have chickenpox, or if you have very good immunity against the chickenpox virus . Most people in the UK have chickenpox as a child. However, immunity to the chickenpox virus reduces as you become older.

    There is a vaccine against the varicella-zoster virus which is now offered routinely to people in the UK aged 70-79 years. The efficacy of the vaccine declines with age and so it is not recommended for people aged 80 years or older. This vaccine is the most effective way of preventing the development of PHN. It is a very effective and safe vaccine.

    Don’t Miss: What Age Can You Get Shingles

    How Do You Prevent Shingles

    Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect against shingles in most people. The shingles vaccine should not be given to people who are immunocompromised.

    For more information on shingles immunisation, see Shingles immunisation service.

    Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox. The risk of spreading the disease is low if the rash is covered. When the rash has developed crusts, you are no longer infectious.

    If you have shingles, you should:

    • cover the rash
    • avoid touching or scratching the rash
    • wash your hands often to prevent the virus from spreading.

    Avoid contact with these people until the rash has developed crusts:

    • pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine
    • premature or low birthweight babies
    • children who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine
    • people with weakened immune systems, such as people who:
    • have had chemotherapy
    • are taking other medicines that weaken their immune system
    • have had a transplant
    • are living with HIV.

    What You Need To Know About Peripheral Neuropathy

    The number of peripheral neuropathy sufferers just cited only reflects the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, in years to come peripheral neuropathy, which is right now increasing in prevalence at a mind-blowing rate, has the potential to become one of the most widespread scourges humanity has yet known.

    Why be alarmed? Because peripheral neuropathy strikes individuals without pity. It strikes for a vast variety of reasons, both exotic and distressingly common-place . And if you develop neuropathy and only put your trust in contemporary medicine, youll be rather unapologetically told that neuropathy is virtually without cure or treatment.

    As a result, neuropathy sufferers are usually desperate. Nothing has worked for them. The painkilling medicines generally suggested as the only real course of action by most doctors cause awful side effects. They are prescribed with the caveat that there is nothing else we can do. Indeed, in all my years of experience I have yet to meet a neuropathy patient who was completely satisfied with their progress or how the doctor was handling their case.

    Fortunately, as a friend and neuropathy treatment coach, my message to these neuropathy sufferers is simply this: Be of good cheer! There is a solution.

    Indeed, my program is designed to help the neuropathy sufferer finally gain the upper hand in the fight against this devastating epidemic.

    You May Like: How To Get A Free Shingles Shot

    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?

    Popular Articles
    Related news