What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine
CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.
Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.
Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.
Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include those:
- With a weakened immune system .
- Over the age of 50.
- Who have been ill.
- Who have experienced trauma.
- Who are under stress.
The chickenpox virus doesnt leave your body after you have chickenpox. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. Researchers aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
When To Contact Your Pediatrician
You should let your pediatrician know if you suspect your child may have shingles, even if the symptoms are mild. The location of the rash is important with regard to what complications may happen. Getting antiviral treatment within 72 hours may prevent complications and reduce the severity of the infection.
Other reasons to call your childs doctor might include if your child develops new or worsening symptoms, or if their rash and other symptoms dont go away within 2 weeks.
At your appointment, your childs doctor will ask about their health history and about any symptoms they have. From there, the doctor may perform a physical exam to look at the rash and other symptoms.
While a physical exam of the rash is
Other home care measures for shingles focus on managing pain and keeping your child comfortable.
- Offer a cool bath. Cool water can help ease the pain and itchiness on the skin. You might also consider an oatmeal bath for even more soothing power.
- Use a cool compress. A moist, cool compress can provide pain relief.
- Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing. Natural fibers like cotton allow your childs skin to breathe.
- Provide distractions. Your little one may be better able to cope with discomfort if theyre distracted by a book, game, craft, or television show.
- Ask your doctor about anti-itch creams.Calamine lotion, for example, may help dry out blisters and soothe your childs skin.
And be sure to cover your childs rash and wash their hands
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What If I’m Pregnant And I Haven’t Had Chickenpox
If you’re pregnant and you haven’t had chickenpox, or you’re not sure if you have, avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
If you do come into close contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles, get medical advice immediately.
A GP can do a blood test to check if you’re immune to the chickenpox virus .
If you are not, they may recommend antiviral medicine to reduce the risk of infection, and make the infection milder and not last as long.
Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles
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.
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What Are Chickenpox And Shingles Tests
These tests check to see if you are or have ever been infected with the varicella zoster virus . This virus causes chickenpox and shingles. When you are first infected with VZV, you get chickenpox. Once you get chickenpox, you can’t get it again. The virus remains in your nervous system but is dormant . Later in life, VZV can become active and can cause shingles. Unlike chicken pox, you can get shingles more than once, but it is rare.
Both chickenpox and shingles cause blistering skin rashes. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes red, itchy sores all over the body. It used to be a very common childhood disease, infecting nearly all children in the United States. But since a chickenpox vaccine was introduced in 1995, there have been far fewer cases. Chickenpox may be uncomfortable, but it’s usually a mild illness in healthy children. But it can be serious for adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems.
Shingles is a disease that only affects people who once had chickenpox. It causes a painful, burning rash that may stay in one part of the body or spread to many parts of the body. Nearly one-third of people in the United States will get shingles at some point in their lifetime, most often after the age of 50. Most people who develop shingles recover in three to five weeks, but it sometimes causes long-term pain and other health problems.
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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Do You Need To Stay Away From Children People Who Are Pregnant Have Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After You Get The Zostavax Vaccine
According to the CDC, its safe to be around babies and young children, pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system after you get the Zostavax vaccine. Even though the Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened live varicella-zoster virus, the CDC says theres no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine. And remember: You cant get shingles unless youve already had chickenpox.
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles Without A Rash
The symptoms of ZSH are similar to the symptoms of shingles, but without a rash. The symptoms are usually isolated to one side of the body and commonly occur on the face and neck, and in the eyes. Symptoms can also occur in the internal organs. Typical symptoms include:
Shingles isnt contagious. You cant give someone else shingles. If you have shingles and are in contact with someone who hasnt had chickenpox or wasnt vaccinated for chickenpox, you can give that person chickenpox. That person would have to come in direct contact with your shingles rash.
If you have shingles without a rash, you shouldnt be able to pass it to others. Still, its a good idea to avoid contact with people who havent had chickenpox as well as pregnant women until your other symptoms have cleared up.
You can only get shingles if youve had chickenpox in the past. Youre at an increased risk for shingles if you:
- are over age 50
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What Happens During Chickenpox And Shingles Testing
You will need to provide a sample of blood from your vein or from the fluid in one of your blisters. Blood tests check for antibodies to the VZV. Blister tests check for the virus itself.
For a blood test from a vein, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.
For a blister test, a health care provider will gently press a cotton swab on a blister to collect a sample of fluid for testing.
Both types of tests are quick, usually taking less than five minutes.
Symptoms Of Pediatric Shingles
Your child may experience discomfort like itching, tingling, or pain on some part of the body or face as the first sign of shingles. The discomfort may be in a band across one side of the trunk, including the stomach, chest, back, or buttocks. The sensation can range in intensity from
for shingles. Treatment is about making the child comfortable and possibly shortening the course and severity of the infection.
There are several antiviral medications available that may help if taken within 24 hours to 3 days of symptom onset. Antiviral medications can help shorten the overall course of shingles and reduce the level of pain. The key here is to get the medication as soon as possible. More research is needed to determine if taking antivirals 72 hours after onset is useful.
Depending on your childs age, your pediatrician may also suggest using over-the-counter pain or prescription pain medications to ease nerve pain.
Pcr Is The Most Useful Test
Laboratory testing may be useful in cases with less typical clinical presentations, such as in people with suppressed immune systems who may have disseminated herpes zoster . Polymerase chain reaction is the most useful test for confirming cases of suspected zoster sine herpete .
PCR can be used to detect VZV DNA rapidly and sensitively, and is now widely available. The ideal samples are swabs of unroofed vesicular lesions and scabs from crusted lesions you may also detect viral DNA in saliva during acute disease, but salvia samples are less reliable for herpes zoster than they are for varicella. Biopsy samples are also useful test samples in cases of disseminated disease. It is also possible to use PCR to distinguish between wild-type and vaccine strains of VZV.
Laboratory Testing For Vzv
Varicella zoster virus laboratory testing information applies to testing and diagnosis of primary VZV infection as well as reactivation or latent infection . See the information below from CDCs chickenpox/varicella site about VZV laboratory testing and about the CDC National VZV Laboratory.
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How Is Shingles Treated
Not all kids who get shingles need treatment. If a doctor decides a treatment may help, it should start right away. Treatment usually includes an antiviral medicine and pain-control medicines.
Antiviral medicines like acyclovir or valcylovir :
- help heal the skin rash
- stop the virus from multiplying
- help control pain
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.
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What Is Being Tested
Chickenpox and shingles are caused by an infection with the varicella zoster virus , a member of the herpes virus family. Varicella zoster virus tests detect either antibodies produced by the immune system in response to a VZV infection or detect the virus itself.
Tests for chickenpox and shingles may be performed to detect and diagnose a current or past infection with VZV. Most often, testing is not necessary to diagnosis an active infection because it can be made from clinical signs and symptoms, but in some people with atypical skin lesions, a diagnostic test helps to confirm the infection. In some people, especially organ transplant recipients and pregnant women, the tests may be used to diagnose a current infection or to determine whether or not they have developed immunity from prior infection or by vaccination.
Before the introduction and widespread use of a chickenpox vaccine in 1995, nearly everyone in the United States became infected by VZV by adulthood. While VZV is present in its latent form in many adults who were infected as children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of new cases of chickenpox has declined significantly. Two doses of the vaccine are about 98% effective in preventing the infection, and those who do become infected usually have milder symptoms.
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.
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Can You Prevent Pediatric Shingles
Theres no method to completely prevent shingles if you have already had exposure to VZV.
Researchers say that getting the chickenpox vaccine may provide protection against both chickenpox and shingles before age 17. In a 2019 study, children who had the chickenpox vaccine were 78 percent less likely to develop shingles than children who hadnt had the vaccine.
How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles
An antiviral medication can:
Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash
Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems
One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.
To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:
Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:
If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.
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.
Who Should Not Get The Shingles Vaccine
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
- Are not immune to the virus that causes chickenpox if you test negative for immunity, youll need to get the chickenpox vaccine
- Currently have shingles
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
If youre sick and have a fever of 101.3°F or higher, youll need to wait until youre feeling better to get the shingles vaccine.
Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:
- Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
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