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What Brings On Shingles Attack

How Can I Learn About Or Participate In Clinical Research

Online Health Series: Signs and Symptoms of Shingles
  • Clinical trials are research studies on humans that are designed to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies, to test new ways of using known treatments, or to find out more about a disorder. Clinical studies and trials involving the zoster virus and postherpetic neuralgia may lead to better understanding of shingles and identify potential treatments. Both healthy individuals and people with disorders are needed to advance the understanding of diseases and how to treat them. For more information about clinical trials and how you may participate in a study, see
  • ClinicalTrials.gov provides information about ongoing and completed federally and privately supported clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including shingles.
  • NIH Clinical Research Trials and You provides information about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate, including links to search for a trial or enroll in a research matching registry.

Where Can I Find More Information About Research On Shingles

In addition to the NINDS, several other NIH organizations support research relevant to understanding, treating, or preventing shingles and its complications, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute on Aging .

  • NIH RePORTER is a searchable database of current and previously funded research supported by NIH and some other federal agencies. RePORTER also includes links to research results such as patents and publications citing support from these projects.
  • PubMed allows users to search millions of journal article abstracts in biomedical research fields. The full text of many articles describing research funded by NIH and other sources is also freely available through PubMedCentral

Are Chickenpox And Shingles Serious Illnesses

The symptoms may be more severe in newborns, persons with weakened immune systems, and adults. Serious problems can occur and may include pneumonia , brain infection , and kidney problems. Many people are not aware that before a vaccine was available, approximately 10,600 persons were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died, as a result of chickenpox in the U.S. every year.

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Who Is At Risk For Shingles

Anyone who had previously had chickenpox is at risk for shingles. About 25 percent of all adults, mostly otherwise healthy, will get shingles during their lifetime, usually after age 50. The incidence increases with age so that shingles is 10 times more likely to occur in adults over 60 than in children under 10. People with compromised immune systems, a natural consequence of aging or from use of immunosuppressive medications such as prednisone, are at increased risk of developing shingles. Immune-suppressive drugs are used to treat serious illnesses such as cancer or from chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or from infection with HIV. Some individuals can also have re-eruptions and some, particularly those with significantly impaired immunity from drugs and diseases, may have shingles that spread over the body.

Youngsters whose mothers had chickenpox late in pregnancy5 to 21 days before giving birthor who had chickenpox in infancy have an increased risk of pediatric shingles. Sometimes these children are born with chickenpox or develop a typical case within a few days .

Most people who get shingles have it only once, but it is possible for the outbreak to appear again.

Is There A Vaccine Against Shingles

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Shingix is currently the only shingles vaccine available in the United States. Its given to people over age 50.

Previously, an additional vaccine, Zostavax, was used, but it was phased out in the United States as of November 2020.

According to the CDC, two doses of Shingrix are over 90 percent effective at preventing shingles. Youll retain at least 85 percent protection for 4 years after being vaccinated.

If you get shingles after being vaccinated, your symptoms will likely be less severe. Youll also have a lower chance of developing postherpetic neuralgia a complication where pain remains even after a shingles rash goes away.

Shingles usually follows a pattern of development. It typically progresses with the following symptoms:

  • First, you may notice a tingling or burning sensation in your skin.
  • One to 5 days later a rash appears as small red spots.
  • Fluid-filled blisters develop a few days later.
  • After 7 to 10 days, the lesions crust over.
  • The rash disappears over the next 2 to 4 weeks.

In some cases, pain may persist for several months or even years after the rash has disappeared. This complication, known as postherpetic neuralgia , can be severe enough to affect your quality of life.

Certain antiseizure medications can help manage the pain. Gabapentin and pregabalin are two that are commonly used.

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What Can You Do To Prevent Shingles

While you may not be able to control certain factors that might trigger shingles, there are strategies you can use to prevent shingles. The most important is vaccination. Research shows that the shingles vaccine Shingrix is 90% effective in preventing an outbreak of shingles. Even if you do get shingles after being vaccinated, Shingrix greatly reduces your risk of developing persistent pain in the affected area, known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

In addition to getting vaccinated, its always a good idea to take steps to keep your body healthy, such as choosing healthy foods, staying active, and getting sufficient sleep. Its not clear if healthy lifestyle habits like these can prevent shingles, but even if they dont, theyre worthwhile because they will benefit your body in many other ways.

Can Infection With Vzv During Pregnancy Harm The Baby

Some infections can be transmitted across the mothers bloodstream to the fetus or can be acquired by the baby during the birth process. Chickenpox during pregnancy poses some risk to the unborn child, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. During the first 30 weeks, maternal chickenpox may, in some cases, lead to congenital malformations . Most experts agree that shingles in a pregnant woman is even less likely to cause harm to the unborn child.

If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox between 21 to 5 days before giving birth, her newborn can have chickenpox at birth or develop it within a few days. But the time lapse between the start of the mothers illness and the birth of the baby generally allows the mothers immune system to react and produce antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies can be transmitted to the unborn child and thus help fight the infection. Still, a small percent of the babies exposed to chickenpox in the 21 to 5 days before birth develop shingles in the first 5 years of life because the newborns immune system is not yet fully functional and capable of keeping the virus latent.

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Is Treating Relapse The Same

The approaches to treating shingles and any relapse are the same. In the latter case, healthcare providers may become particularly interested in isolating the cause of the weakened immunity thats causing the recurrence. That said, there is no outright cure for this disease, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms.

These approaches include:

  • Antiviral medications, such as Zovirax , Famvir , and Valtrex , can help, especially if given within 72 hours of symptom onset.
  • Over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol or Motrin or Advil can also help manage discomfort and pain.
  • Compresses and creams are among other approaches that help relieve itching these include applying wet compresses, using calamine lotion, and taking colloidal oatmeal baths.

Who Is Most Likely To Get Shingles Again

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You’re more likely to get it again if:

  • You had severe pain from shingles that lasted more than 30 days. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia .
  • You are a woman.
  • You were age 50 or older when you had shingles the first time.
  • Your immune system is weak from conditions like leukemia, lymphoma, or HIV, or you take medicines that suppress your immune system.

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Stress Management Tips For Shingles Patients

Avoid stress and you may be able to avoid worsening shingles symptoms.

Stress doesnt technically causeshingles, but it can cause your immune system to weaken and a weakened immune system can put you at risk for shingles.

A viral illness, shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus lives in your body and reactivates more readily when your immune system is suppressed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 million people in the United States experience a shingles outbreak every year.

If you get shingles, stress also can exacerbate your misery, by making the itching, burning, painful rash seem worse and lengthening your recovery time.

Shingles and Emotional Stress

Emotional stress is considered a trigger for shingles because it has been shown to weaken the body’s immune system. This can happen in those who have undergone a sudden shock, such as the death of a loved one, or people who face chronic work or life stress. An immune system weakened by stress provides the shingles virus with a window of opportunity. This is particularly true of people who already have challenged immune systems, either because they are older or because they have an immune deficiency or a chronic disease.

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What Other Problems Can Shingles Cause

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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What Illnesses Does Varicella

Chickenpox first occurs as a blister-like skin rash and fever. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. The sores commonly occur in batches with different stages present at the same time. The blisters usually scab over in 5 days. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. Children with weakened immune systems may have blisters occurring for a prolonged time period. Adults can develop severe pneumonia and other serious complications.

Shingles occurs when the virus, which has been inactive for some time, becomes active again. Severe pain and numbness along nerve pathways, commonly on the trunk or on the face, are present. Clusters of blisters appear 1 to 5 days later. The blisters are usually on one side of the body and closer together than in chickenpox. Shingles does not spread as shingles from one person to another. If people who have never had chickenpox come in contact with the fluid from shingles blisters, they can develop chickenpox.

Foods To Avoid When Suffering From Shingles

Causes and Treatments for Nerve Pain from Shingles ...

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Shingles is no fun at all for adults its caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, which can become dormant for years and reappear as this painful nerve condition. Those with shingles develop a very painful and itchy rash that can last for weeks or months.

There are some treatments available for shingles, and even vaccines to help prevent it, but one thing you can do to alleviate some of the symptoms is to change your diet. The best way to help relieve shingles and help speed up the recovery process is to avoid these 6 foods

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