How Is Shingles Spread
You do not “catch” shingles it comes on when there’s a reawakening of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body. The virus can be reactivated because of a range of issues, including advancing age, medicine, illness or stress.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.
Read more about the causes of shingles.
Should I Get The New Shingles Vaccine
There are two vaccines to prevent shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia in patients age 50 and up. If you are wondering whether to get vaccinated and which vaccine to choose, here are the facts to help you make an informed decision.
A large number of vaccines are recommended for children not so many for adults. Lately a new shingles vaccine has been added to the schedule for adults over the age of 50. The first shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was released in 2006. Now the FDA has approved another vaccine, Shingrix. You may be wondering if you really need to be vaccinated and if so, which vaccine to choose. Here are the facts, so you can make an informed decision.
Who Should And Shouldnt Get The Vaccine
Shingrix is approved for all adults with normal immune systems who are 50 years old or older. This is 10 years younger than the recommendation for the older vaccine Zostavax, which marks a major change in vaccination practices and provides added protection against shingles earlier in life.
If you have already been vaccinated against shingles with Zostavax, dont worry we recommend you be revaccinated with the new Shingrix vaccine to give you added protection. There should be at least two months between the time you received Zostavax and the time you receive Shingrix.
If you have already had shingles, you arent immune from getting it again! Shingles can occur more than once in a lifetime and already having the infection does not protect you against future infections. We recommend you also be vaccinated with Shingrix if you have a healthy immune system. If you recently recovered from shingles, we recommend you wait until your rash and symptoms have resolved before getting the vaccine.
If you do not have a normal immune system , then we recommend you speak with your primary care provider to see if the shingles vaccination is right for you. If you are one of the rare few adults who has never had chicken pox, then we recommend you talk with your provider about getting the varicella vaccination instead.
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Know Your Risk Of Getting Shingles And Complications
About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime.
If youve had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. More than 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember it.
Your risk of getting shingles and having serious complications increases as you get older.
About 1 in 10 people who get shingles develop nerve pain that lasts for months or years after the rash goes away. This is called postherpetic neuralgia and is the most common complication of shingles.
Shingles may lead to other serious complications involving the eye, including blindness. Very rarely, it can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation or death.
When Should You Get Immunised Against Shingles
Anyone aged 60 years and over who wants to protect themselves against shingles can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.
Shingles immunisation is recommended for:
- adults aged 60 years and over who have not previously received zoster vaccine
- adults aged 70 years to 79 years, for free under the National Immunisation Program
- adults aged 50 or over who live in the same household as someone who has a weakened immune system.
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Know The Benefits And The Side Effects
Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and long-term nerve pain. You may experience some short-term side effects because Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system.
After getting Shingrix:
- Most people had a sore arm.
- Many people had redness and swelling where they got the shot .
- Many felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea.
About 1 out of 6 people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities like yardwork or swimming. Side effects usually go away after 2 to 3 days. Remember that the pain from shingles can last a lifetime, and these side effects should only last a few days.
Whos Most At Risk Of Shingles
People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers cannot even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.
The pain of shingles can also linger long after the rash has disappeared, even for many years. This lingering pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia .
Also Check: How To Avoid Shingles Virus
Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine
There are a few situations in which shingles vaccination may not be right for you. You should not get Shingrix if youâve ever had a severe reaction to a vaccine. This means you had trouble breathing or swelling in your mouth or airway, a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.
You should also skip Shingrix if:
- You have allergies to any parts of the vaccine. These include gelatin and the antibiotic neomycin. If you have other allergies, tell your doctor or pharmacist about them before you get Shingrix.
- You currently have shingles or another illness. You can get the vaccine when youâre well.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should wait until youâve stopped breastfeeding to get vaccinated.
- You happened to test negative for VZV, the virus that causes chickenpox. If youâre older than 50, you probably had chickenpox even if you donât remember it. The CDC does not recommend testing for this. However, if a blood test shows youâve never had the childhood illness, you should get the chickenpox vaccine instead.
If you have a disease or take medications that affect your immune system, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of Shingrix.
âItâs an individualized decision based on factors such as the specific medications and conditions of the person sitting in front of you,â Kistler says. She often consults with her patientsâ specialist doctors to make decisions about Shingrix.
How Well Does The Vaccine Work
The vaccine lowers your chances of getting shingles.
If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have much less pain and for a much shorter time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the shingles vaccine for adults ages 50 and older and for adults 19 and older who have a weakened immune system.footnote 1
- Redness, swelling, or soreness at the spot where the needle went in.
- A high fever or serious allergic reaction .
Getting the vaccine has some risks. For example:
- You might get shingles anyway. But it probably won’t be as painful or last as long.
- You may need another vaccine later in life.
You shouldn’t get the vaccine if:
- You are ill with more than a mild cold or you have had an allergic reaction to the first dose.
- You have a test that says you have never had chickenpox.
- You have shingles.
- You are age 50 or older.
- You are 19 or older and have a weakened immune system.
- You have had shingles before.
- You have a chronic condition, such as chronic kidney failure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or COPD.
- You live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
- The vaccine can lower your chances of getting shingles.
- If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have less pain for a shorter time.
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Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit Update
Our law firm is handling Zostavax and Shingrix vaccine lawsuits. These vaccines were intended for the prevention of herpes zoster which is more commonly known as the shingles virus.
These herpes lawsuits allege that the shingles vaccine was unsafe for patients. The key injury, incredibly, is that the Zostavax shingles vaccine causes shingles and zoster-related injuries. So the very thing meant to protect them against shingles actually caused shingles.
The Zostavax shingles suits make a lot of allegations against Merck. Many of the extraneous claims have already been dismissed. Lawyers make a lot of claims when they file lawsuits like this, sometimes too many. But the core of it is plaintiffs attorneys allege that Merck knew or should have known of the risks and reactions associated with their product.
Because Merck knew of the risks, it had a legal obligation to provide warnings. These should have fairly and accurately depicted the severity of the risks associated with the Zostavax. This is particularly true because there were better options available than Zostavax on the market.
- Speculation about Zostavax claims settlement value based on the value of similar types of cases and injuries
- Shingrix recall
The Shingles Virus The New Jersey Lawsuit
This lawsuit filed in New Jersey alleges that nearly 1,000 victims took Zostavax vaccine to avoid shingles, but instead developed a recurring strain of herpes zoster, which is more difficult to treat than usual.
Zostavax MDL Update
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 Does The Shingles Vaccine Do
The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles. Every year, about 1 million people in the United States get shingles. Anyone whos had chickenpox can get shingles. Thats because the varicella-zoster virus lives silently in your nervous system after you’ve had chickenpox. The virus can reactivate later in your life if your immune system is weakened. Your risk of getting shingles goes up as you get older. In the United States, 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.
Who Is A Candidate For The Shingles Vaccine
Healthy adults aged 50 years and older are candidates for the shingles vaccine Shingrix. There is no age limit, and you can get the Shingrix vaccine even if you have already had shingles, have had the Zostavax vaccine, or do not remember whether you have had chickenpox in the past.
If you have already had shingles, getting the Shingrix can help protect you from the disease coming back. Studies have reported that almost every American aged 40 years and older have more than a 99% chance of having had chickenpox, and people who have had chickenpox are more likely to develop shingles in the future because both are caused by the same virusthe varicella-zoster virus.
After having shingles, there is no duration that you need to wait before getting vaccinated, although you should wait until the rash has completely disappeared. Shringrix is given in 2 doses 2-6 months apart.
Side effects are usually mild and may last for two to three days. No severe side effects for Shingrix have been reported so far.
Recommended Reading: How To Care For Someone With Shingles
Vaccine Safety And Side Effects
Vaccines are very safe, and they can help keep you from getting serious or life-threatening diseases. The most common side effects for all these vaccines are mild and may include pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was given.
Before getting any vaccine, talk with a doctor or pharmacist about your health history, including past illnesses and treatments, as well as any allergies. A health care provider can address any concerns you have.
Its a good idea to keep your own vaccination record, listing the types and dates of your shots, along with any side effects or problems.
Should You Get The New Shingles Vaccination A Resounding Yes
A new shingles vaccine promises to prevent 90 percent of cases in people 50 and older. The vaccine called Shingrix was just licensed by the Food and Drug Administration last month and is already being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as the go-to vaccination for the prevention of the debilitating condition.
This is good news for seniors, said Dr. Violeta Mihailescu, a geriatrician with . The new vaccine offers better protections for people older than 70. Not only did it reduce the incidence of shingles by 90 percent, it also decreased the severe pain associated with shingles by 89 percent.
Shingles, also known as the herpes zoster virus, will affect nearly 1 in 3 Americans, the CDC says. Each year, an estimated 1 million people will get shingles and about half the cases occur in people 60 or older.
The virus that causes the chickenpox also causes shingles. Years after a person recovers from the common and highly contagious childhood ailment of chickenpox, the dormant virus can reactivate in a persons body and trigger a shingles outbreak causing blistering rash that may cause chronic pain. And for some people, the pain can last for months, even years.
Even after the blistering rash subsides, patients may have persistent pain and itchiness, Mihailescu said. Ideally, if we can treat the rash within the first 48 hours with an antiviral, we can prevent further complications.
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Who Should Get Shingrix
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.
Who Should Get The New Shingles Vaccine
On the heels of approval of a better vaccine for the painful condition shingles, adults over 50 should plan to roll up their sleeves — again.
The new vaccine, Shingrix, will likely be recommended even for those already inoculated with an older vaccine.
An advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Wednesday that all adults 50 and older receive the new two-shot vaccine, just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of Shingrix.
Shingrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles, a painful skin disease that afflicts about one of every three people in the United States during their lifetime.
If the CDC adopts the panel’s recommendation, Shingrix will supplant the only other shingles vaccine available, the single-dose Merck product Zostavax.
“The new shingles vaccine represents a major step forward,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. “The efficacy of this vaccine is significantly higher than Zostavax, and those vaccinated with Zostavax should benefit from revaccination with Shingrix.”
Shingles is a painful itching rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same bug behind chickenpox. The virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue of people who’ve had chickenpox, and years later can reactivate as shingles.
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