How Can I Avoid Developing Shingles
Shingles is far from pleasant. If youre not keen on the idea of developing it, you may be looking for ways to prevent it. While theres no sure-fire way to make sure you dont get it, there are ways you can make it less likely.
What Are The Risk Factors For Internal Shingles
Many of the risk factors for internal shingles are the same as those for the skin rash of shingles. They include:
- Having a weakened immune system. Diseases and conditions such as HIV/AIDS, organ transplant, and autoimmune conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease can make you more susceptible to shingles.
- Undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer, along with radiation and chemotherapy, also weaken your immune system and can increase your risk of a herpes zoster infection.
- Being older than 60. Shingles can occur in people of any age. However, its more common in older adults. About half the cases of shingles develop in people over 60 .
- Taking certain medications. Drugs that lower your chance of rejecting an organ transplant or treat autoimmune diseases will increase your risk of shingles. Examples include cyclosporine and tacrolimus . Extended use of steroids will also increase your risk. These medications suppress your immune system, making your body more vulnerable to infection.
Not receiving the shingles vaccine will also increase your chances of getting the condition. Even if you dont remember ever having chickenpox, you should get the shingles vaccine. Studies have shown that 99 percent of people over 40 have had chickenpox. According to the
Is Shingles Prevention Possible Is There A Shingles Vaccine
Prevention of shingles in people who have contracted chickenpox is difficult, since the factors that trigger reactivation are not yet defined. However, if a person is never infected with the virus, shingles will not develop. Furthermore, there are at least two methods that are currently used to reduce the incidence of shingles.
First, the VZV vaccine, otherwise known as the chickenpox vaccine, may decrease the incidence of shingles by enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight off VZV or keep this virus inactive. This vaccine is usually administered to children, but the immunity may decline in about 15-20 years. The single-dose vaccine dose is given to babies 12-18 months of age. Most vaccine side effects, if they occur, are mild and range from a rash, skin redness, and swelling to small chickenpox lesions, usually at the injection site. Boosters of this vaccine for use in adults are now being investigated and may help prevent shingles in the future.
Shingrix is the vaccine the CDC currently recommends as the preferred shingles vaccine. Two doses about 2-6 months apart are more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and PHN, and it is recommended for use in people 50 and over. Side effects of Shingrix may occur and last about 2-3 days and may include redness and swelling at the inoculation site. Some individuals may experience muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea.
Read Also: Can You Show Me What Shingles Look Like
Home Care For Shingles
Colloidal oatmeal baths are an old standby for relieving the itch of chickenpox and can help with shingles, as well. To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Gentle exercise or a favorite activity may help keep your mind off the discomfort.
Who Would Have Thought Amandas Story
The first time I had shingles, I noticed my left leg was extremely itchy just hours before leaving for work. I didnt think much of it I just thought I had an itch, so I kept scratching. But soon, my leg wasnt just itchy, I began to feel a lot of pain in the area I was scratching. The clinics werent open because it was the weekend, so I went to the emergency room. The ER doctor diagnosed me with shingles and prescribed Acyclovir®. With the help of Acyclovir, this first episode of shingles cleared up quickly, only lasting about four or five days. I didnt have any residual effects or pain after the first episode. I thought I was done with it. That was seven years ago.
Don’t Miss: Pictures Of What Shingles Look Like
Aloe Vera And Cayenne Pepper
Aloe Vera is a remedy rich with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also contains great antimicrobial qualities and can help in regeneration of damaged cells in the body. It also contains vitamin E that helps keep the skin moisturized and reduces itching. The following is how to apply aloe Vera to accelerate the healing of shingle rash
- Extract the aloe Vera gel from the aloe leaf, and mix it in equal amounts as cayenne pepper
- Apply the mixture on the affected area of the skin and rub gently
- Leave it on for about an hour and then rinse it off with water
- Repeat this procedure once a day- it helps stop the infection and prevent further attacks from varicella zoster virus
Soothing Lotions And Creams
These lotions and creams dont speed up the healing process, but they can increase your comfort level. . You can apply topical ointments containing the natural ingredient capsaicin up to three or four times a day. This is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it contains anti-inflammatory effect to help ease the pain. When you apply the cream, the pain will increase and then go away slowly. This cream works by reducing pain signals sent to your brain.
In addition, you can apply calamine lotion after baths and showers to soothe irritated skin and help dry out blisters.
Read Also: Does Walgreens Give Shingle Shots
You May Like: What Do Pictures Of Shingles Look Like
What Are The Causes Of Shingles On The Scalp
Shingles forms due to a virus called varicella-zoster. Although its uncomfortable and itchy, it goes away within a few weeks. However, when chickenpox goes away, youre not free from the virus. The virus stays behind in your body, without you ever realizing it.
Once chickenpox subsides, the virus travels to clusters of nerves called ganglia. These ganglia are present all over the spinal cord and the brain. Once the virus arrives at the ganglia, it sits there quite harmlessly, and often for many years.
While its lying dormant, you wont even be aware that the virus is still there. In its dormant state, it doesnt cause any symptoms. But eventually, without any warning, the virus might reactivate. This is what causes shingles.
When the varicella-zoster virus comes out of hibernation, it starts multiplying. It then moves along the nerves towards the skin which the nerves attach to. Once it reaches the skin, shingles come out in the form of blisters.
Its not clear why shingles can suddenly develop, after years of the virus being dormant. Doctors estimate that roughly 20% of people who have had chickenpox will develop shingles at some point.
It just depends on which nerves the shingles virus attached to. So if it lies dormant in the nerves in your head, youll develop shingles on your scalp!
S Of The Shingles Rash
If you have a rash of blisters on your skin or a rash that looks like any shown below, see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. If you have shingles, its important to get treatment, preferably within 2 to 3 days.
If youve had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, its still important to see your doctor.
A typical shingles rash
Doctors often refer to this rash as the shingles band because it looks like a band that appears on one area of your body, as shown here.
A rash on one side of the body
A key that you have shingles is that the rash only develops on one side of your body.
Close-up of a shingles rash
The shingles rash often causes a cluster of tiny blisters. You may notice that the skin beneath the blisters is red and inflamed, as shown here.
The rash will also feel painful.
Blistering shingles rash on a man’s chest
Although the rash can begin in one area, you may notice that a few scattered blisters develop in other areas, as shown here.
Shingles rash on the palm of a man’s hand
While shingles tends to develop on your body or face, it can appear anywhere on your skin.
You May Like: Does Medicare Cover Shingles Shots At Cvs
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.
Can You Get Shingles From The Covid
There have been a few reports of shingles happening in people who were vaccinated against COVID-19. The varicella-zoster virus was reactivated in these people.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youve had chickenpox, youre at risk of developing shingles later in life. Shingles causes a rash that is contagious and painful. The disease can have serious complications. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk is to get the shingles vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective.
Don’t Miss: When Can I Get My Shingles Shot
You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox
You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.
But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.
When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.
This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.
Tingling Pain Or Numbness
During the first stage of shingles, before anything appears on your skin, a particular area of your body may begin to feel different. “When a shingles outbreak is starting, you may feel itching, burning, or pain,” Kim says. Often you will feel this on only one side of your body.
The initial signs of shingles may feel different for each person. In some cases, shingles can cause intense sensitivity, making it painful to even wear clothes over your skin, while in other cases, your skin may feel numb.
Also Check: How To Treat Shingles Blisters
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.
Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
Do not get the shingles vaccine if:
- You have a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to any ingredient of a vaccine or to a previous dose of Shingrix
- You have shingles now.
You are sick with an illness and a fever of 101Â°F or higher.
- You should also consider delaying the vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about its safety for expectant and lactating women.
- You have had a negative test for varicella this would be uncommon for adults eligible for the vaccine, as most adults worldwide ages 50 and older have been exposed to the virus. You do not have to be tested before getting the vaccine.
Recommended Reading: Does Rite Aid Give Shingles Shots
Shingles On Scalp No Rash
Is it possible to have shingles without rash? Yes, it is possible, it is however rare. With this kind of shingles on scalp, it can be very difficult to diagnose the shingles since the primary symptoms of the condition is the rash, which in this case is not present.
Just like the common form of shingles one with the rash), the virus that causes chicken pox is also responsible for the formation of this type of shingles . The virus, in this case, is known as herpes zoster.
The difference between chicken pox and shingles is this: chicken pox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, once infected by this virus, it remains dominant in your nerve cells. Until now, medical experts are yet to understand why the virus reactivate. Now, the virus reactivates to from shingles, in such case, the virus is known as herpes zoster.
Research, however, shows that shingles often occur in people with weak or compromised immune system. This would include people undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, HIVAIDS, those taking high doses of corticosteroids, and people with high level of stress.
The symptoms of shingles on scalp with rash are the same to those of the shingle without the rash. The main difference is the lack of rash. The symptoms can be seen on scalp, in most case, the symptoms are often isolated on one side of the body. In most case, the symptoms can be seen on face, neck and around eyes.
Typical symptoms of shingle without a rash will include:
Shingles Risks And Pregnancy
Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described previously are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. Women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen in the later stages of pregnancy, but acetaminophen is considered safe. Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection.
You May Like: What Age Can You Get Shingles Vaccine
Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 As Soon As You Suspect Shingles
You might need medicine to help speed up your recovery and avoid longer-lasting problems.
This works best if taken within 3 days of your symptoms starting.
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
Get an urgent GP appointment
A GP may be able to treat you.
Ask your GP surgery for an urgent appointment.
Am I At Risk For Shingles
Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:
- Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
- Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.
Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.
Recommended Reading: Is It Ok To Take Ibuprofen After Shingles Vaccine
Shingles Symptoms: Before The Rash
The pain of shingles may develop even when there is no rash. The patient may experience tingling, burning pain, or sensitive skin for several days to a week before the rash appears. It may be difficult to determine the cause of the severe pain in the absence of a skin rash.
Characteristics of Pre-Rash Shingles Pain
Other Symptoms That May Occur Before Shingles Rash