Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Is It Possible To Get Shingles More Than Once

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

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

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.

Does The Vaccine Help Prevent It

The CDC suggests getting the shingles vaccine Shingrix if you’re a healthy adult ages 50 or older, or if you are19 years of age and older and are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy.. It was approved in 2017 and has been found to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and the complications caused by the disease. Even if you’ve already had shingles, the CDC says the vaccine can help prevent a second round of it. Shingrix is preferred over an earlier vaccine, Zostavax, which was removed from the market in 2020. You should also get it if you previously had the Zostavax vaccine.

Shingrix is also approved for those 18 years or older who may be immunodeficient or immunosuppressedbecause of an illness or treatment.

Talk to your doctor about when to get the vaccine. If you’ve just gotten over shingles, the CDC recommends waiting at least until the shingles rash has disappeared.

You should not get the Shingrix vaccine if you:

  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Are allergic to the vaccine
  • You tested negative for immunity to chickenpox if so, you should ask about the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles Recurs More Often Than Thought

Recurrences Are More Likely in Those Who Have More Than 2 Months of Shingles Pain

“The risk of getting shingles again, once you already have it, is about one in three,” says Barbara Yawn, MD, director of research at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minn. “That’s about the same chance of getting shingles once in your lifetime.”

People who suffer pain for 60 or more days after their shingles attack are nearly five times more likely to suffer a recurrence, Moore says.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America .

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox.

In many people, the virus remains dormant in the nerves. But in some, especially older people and those with compromised immune systems, it can reactivate as shingles.

“We don’t know what causes reactivation of the dormant virus,” Moore says.

The reawakened virus initially causes numbness, itching, severe pain, and even fever, headaches, and chills, followed by the blistering rash characteristic of shingles. The skin rash usually occurs within three to five days after symptoms begin.

Shingles can result in persistent pain lasting for months and even years after the rash has gone away.

“But unless someone has a compromised immune system, we didn’t think they would actually have a recurrent attack,” Moore says.

Recommended Reading: How Long After Shingles Vaccine Do Side Effects Begin

Vaccinate To Decrease Your Shingles Risk

Your chances of getting shingles increase as you get older. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults age 50 and older get vaccinated against shingles.

Two vaccines, recombinant zoster vaccine and zoster vaccine live are available in the United States to prevent shingles. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine.

The CDC recommends Shingrix for adults 50 years and older, whether or not they have already had shingles or previously received the Zostavaxvaccine, which has been used since 2006. You should get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. Shingrix is also 90% effective in helping to prevent PHN in those who get shingles despite being vaccinated.

While Zostavax is still available, studies show it is less effective than Shingrix.Zostavax may be used in some healthy adults 60 years and older, for example, in those who are allergic to Shingrix.

There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine. But its probably best to hold off until the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.

About the Author

Urmila Parlikar, Associate Director, Digital Health Products, Harvard Health Publishing

When Should I See A Doctor

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See your doctor at the first sign of shingles. Getting treated early can help it go away faster and may help you avoid related problems. For instance, shingles on the face can cause hearing or sight problems, including blindness.

If you have a weak immune system and can’t get the vaccine, early treatment is your best defense against shingles.

Sometimes what seems to be shingles is really herpes simplex. Though it usually appears as “cold sores” around the mouth or genitals, this form of herpes can show up elsewhere. A different treatment is used to clear it up. Your doctor can do tests, such as a viral culture, to confirm whether you have shingles and to get you the right treatment.

Also Check: Can Shingles Cause Shortness Of Breath

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.

How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.

  • First, a few days before the rash appears, you may feel pain in an area on your skin. The pain is described as itching, burning, stabbing or shooting. This usually happens before the rash comes.
  • Next, the raised rash appears as a band or a patch, usually on one side of your body. The rash usually appears around your waistline or on one side of your face, neck, or on the trunk , but not always. It can occur in other areas including your arms and legs.
  • Within three to four days, the rash develops into red, fluid-filled, painful, open blisters.
  • Usually, these blisters begin to dry out and crust over within about 10 days.
  • The scabs clear up about two to three weeks later.
  • Recommended Reading: How Long Does Shingles Pain Last After Rash

    Why Is It Important To Receive A Vaccination Against Shingles

    About 33% of adults in the U.S. will develop shingles at some point in their lives. Shingles can cause painful blisters, a rash, chills, and fever, among other symptoms. Many people who have shingles later develop PHN, which can cause long-lasting pain that is difficult to treat.

    Getting the Shingrix vaccine can help individuals avoid shingles and PHN and help prevent shingles from spreading to vulnerable people.

    Can You Get Shingles More Than Once

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

    Shingles is a severe skin rash caused by the herpes zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Those affected typically only experience the condition once . However, in rare cases, shingles recurs.

    Estimates vary as to how common recurrence is. Some populations, including those that are immunocompromised, are more prone to it. One wide-ranging study found that as many as 5% of those who experience the condition develop it again within eight years.

    Clearly, its worth looking at why this happens, what the risk factors are, as well as how to prevent shingles relapse.

    librakv / Getty Images

    Read Also: When To Get The Second Shingles Shot

    Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

    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 your 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.

    If You Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Youre 100% Protected From Getting Shingles

    No. Just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated with a shingles vaccine doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles.

    Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.

    Also Check: What To Expect After Shingles Vaccine

    Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse

    In some cases, shingles causes long-term complications. Treatment depends on the specific complication.

    • Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that lasts months or even years after the shingles rash heals. Certain medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids, can relieve pain. Most cases of PHN resolve within a year.
    • Disseminated zoster is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment may include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
    • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye, which could threaten your sight. You should seek prompt treatment from an ophthalmologist for this condition. Treatment may include rest, cool compresses, and antiviral medicines.
    • If the shingles virus affects the nerves originating in the brain , serious complications involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on the nature and location of the complication.

    What Is The Connection Between Chickenpox & Shingles

    What Does Shingles On Your Legs Look Like

    Chickenpox is a very contagious disease that causes a blister-like rash typically all over the body, itching, and fever. Before the chickenpox vaccine, nearly everyone in the United States got chickenpox. The chickenpox virus can reactivate, causing shingles. People with shingles may have pain, itching, tingling, and blisters in one area of the body that can last for weeks.

    You may be among the 99% of people over the age of 50 years who is at risk for shingles, since the virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles when it reactivates. One in three people will get shingles in their lifetime.

    Chickenpox

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

    Usually, shingles develops on just one side of the body or face, and in a small area. The most common place for shingles to occur is in a band around one side of the waistline.

    Most people with shingles have one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Fluid-filled blisters
    • Tingling, itching, or numbness of the skin
    • Chills, fever, headache, or upset stomach

    For some people, the symptoms of shingles are mild. They might just have some itching. For others, shingles can cause intense pain that can be felt from the gentlest touch or breeze. Its important to talk with your doctor if you notice any shingles symptoms.

    If you notice blisters on your face, see your doctor right away because this is an urgent problem. Blisters near or in the eye can cause lasting eye damage and blindness. Hearing loss, a brief paralysis of the face, or, very rarely, inflammation of the brain can also occur.

    Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

    The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for those 50 years of age and older who are in good health.

    You should get the Shingrix vaccine even if:

    • Youve had shingles already.
    • Youve been previously vaccinated with Zostavax . If youve been vaccinated with Zostavax, wait at least eight weeks before getting vaccinated with Shingrix.
    • You dont know for sure if youve ever had chickenpox.

    Ask your healthcare provider, who knows your entire health history if getting this vaccine is right for you.

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    What Problems Can Happen

    Most cases of shingles heal on their own, with or without treatment, and won’t lead to any other problems. In rare cases, shingles can lead to complications, including:

    • Ongoing pain : Damaged nerve fibers in the skin send confused messages to the brain, leading to pain. Pain can go on for a long time after the shingles rash is gone. This is the most common shingles complication.
    • Vision problems: Shingles near or in an eye can lead to vision loss.
    • Skin infections: A shingles rash can become infected with bacteria, leading to impetigo or cellulitis.
    • Nervous system problems: Shingles on the face can involve different nerves that connect to the brain. This can lead to nerve-related problems such as facial paralysis, hearing problems, and problems with balance. In very rare cases, shingles can lead to encephalitis .

    What Other Problems Can Shingles Cause

    Is Shingles Contagious? How Do You Get Shingles?

    Shingles can cause complications:

    • Postherpetic neuralgia is most common complication of shingles. It causes severe pain in the areas where you had the shingles rash. It usually gets better in a few weeks or months. But some people can have pain from PHN for many years, and it can interfere with daily life.
    • Vision loss can happen if shingles affects your eye. It may be temporary or permanent.
    • Hearing or balance problems are possible if you have shingles within or near your ear. You may also have weakness of the muscles on that side of your face. These problems can be temporary or permanent.

    Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation , or death.

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    How Is Eczema Treated

    See a doctor if you develop eczema symptoms for the first time. Your doctor can examine your skin and confirm if eczema is causing your symptoms.

    If your doctor thinks you have eczema, theyll explain how to manage your symptoms. This might include consulting a dermatologist.

    Similarly, if youve already been diagnosed with eczema, be sure to continue following your medical professionals recommendations.

    Like shingles, eczema has no cure, but treatment and self-care can help decrease flare-ups and protect your skin. This may include:

    Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox

    No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

    Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

    Can you get chickenpox more than once?

    Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

    Also Check: Are Shingles Contagious To Others

    How Often Does Shingles Return

    Experts don’t know exactly how many people get shingles more than once. They do know it comes back more often in people with weakened immune systems.

    If your immune system is healthy:

    • In the first several years, your chances of having shingles again are lower than it is for people who have never had shingles.
    • Over time, your chances of a second bout go up. One study found that within 7 years, the odds of getting it again may be almost 5%. That’s about the same as the odds of getting shingles the first time.

    You Can Get Shingles More Than Once

    Can I Get Shingles If I Had The Vaccine

    Most people will only have one outbreak of shingles in their lifetime, but “in rare cases, it can reactivate a second time and cause another episode of shingles,” says Amesh A. Adalja, MD, an infectious disease physician and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

    A second or third bout of shingles happens the same way as a first outbreak the virus reactivates and spreads to your skin. However, experts don’t know exactly what causes the virus to deactivate and reactivate.

    A study published in 2011 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that among more than 1600 shingles patients, about 5% experienced a second outbreak. It is possible to have a third outbreak of shingles, but this happens very rarely.

    Keep in mind that if you’ve already had shingles once, you can’t get infected again from someone with shingles or chickenpox. The only way that you can have multiple bouts of shingles is through the reactivation of the dormant virus in your own body.

    Recommended Reading: Shingles Images On Black Skin

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