Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What Can Shingles Do To You

Can I Give Shingles To Others

Shingles: What You Should Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine

No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from:

  • Anyone who has never had chickenpox
  • Babies under 12 months old
  • Very sick people

Tell your doctor if you live with children who have not had chickenpox. They may need to be vaccinated.

Can You Spread Shingles Over Your Own Body

Shingles cannot be spread over different areas of your body. For example, if you have an active shingles rash on your back, the fluid from the blisters cannot cause a new rash on your arm.

However, the fluid could potentially spread VZV to someone else if theyve never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine.

One caveat here is that some people can develop disseminated herpes zoster, which is when the shingles virus causes a rash over multiple areas of the body. This can happen in people who have weakened immune systems from autoimmune disease, cancer, or immunosuppressant medications.

Which Shingles Vaccine Is Best

Eventually, your doctor will start mentioning the shingles vaccine which can help prevent shingles from developing, as well as reduce its severity if it does still develop. The shingles vaccine can also reduce your risk of postherpetic neuralgia, one of the most common complications of shingles.

“Because shingles becomes increasingly more common as a person ages, the shingles vaccine is currently recommended for people over the age of 50. There are two vaccine options, Shingrix and Zostavax, with Shingrix being the newer of the two vaccines and the preferred choice as it is more effective.”

When it comes to how the shingles vaccine works, Shingrix is a shot that requires two doses administered six months apart. There are temporary side of effects of this shingles vaccine that can be unpleasant, however. Shingles vaccine side effects typically don’t last more than three days, but include:

  • Redness or swelling

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Who Should Not Get Shingrix

You should not get Shingrix if you:

  • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
  • Currently have shingles.
  • Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.

If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.

Seek Treatment Right Away

Can You Get Shingles More Than Once?

Many people have the mistaken impression that, like poison ivy, shingles is a nuisance rash that fades on its own. But in fact a shingles rash should alert people, especially in middle or old age, to seek immediate medical help, says Dr. Oaklander.

Rapid treatment with one of three antiviral drugs, acyclovir , valacyclovir , or famciclovir , can shorten a shingles attack and reduce the risk of serious damage, such as:

  • Long-term pain. Pain that lingers in the area of a healed shingles rash is called postherpetic neuralgia. This often-disabling pain can last several months to a year.
  • Prolonged itching. Many people are left with an itchy area from their shingles, which can be as disabling as chronic pain. It is most common on the head or neck.
  • Damage to vision and hearing. Pain and rash near an eye can cause permanent eye damage and requires an urgent ophthalmological exam. When the nerve to the ear is affected, it can permanently damage hearing or balance.
  • Strokes and heart attacks. A PLOS Medicinestudy that tracked about 67,000 people ages 65 and older who were newly diagnosed with shingles found that stroke risk more than doubled in the first week after the shingles diagnosis. The same study reported an increased risk for heart attacks in the three months after shingles, but the additional risk dissipated after six months.

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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Shingles

A dermatologist can often diagnose shingles by looking at the rash on your skin.

If there is any question about whether you have shingles, your dermatologist will scrape a bit of fluid from a blister. This will be sent to a lab where a doctor will look at the fluid under a high-powered microscope.

When you have shingles, the fluid contains the virus that causes shingles. Seeing the virus confirms that you have shingles.

Your dermatologist will also ask about your symptoms. Shingles tends to be painful.

When the shingles rash spreads to an eye, it can affect your eyesight

You can reduce this risk by seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.

How Dangerous Is Shingles

Shingles isnt considered a dangerous health condition.

Each year about 1 million new cases of shingles are reported in the United States. Most people recover and resume their normal activities once theyre no longer infectious.

However, if shingles isnt treated, particularly severe cases can lead to death.

People with autoimmune conditions and people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk for shingles complications.

Women who are pregnant may also be concerned if they develop shingles. You and your baby will most likely be safe. However, talk with your healthcare provider if youre pregnant and suspect you have shingles.

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What Makes Shingles So Painful

The most common complication of shingles is a condition called postherpetic neuralgia . People diagnosed with PHN have severe pain for at least 90 days after the shingles rash has cleared up. The pain can lead to a lower quality of life for many people. As people get older, they are more likely to develop PHN, and the pain is more likely to be severe.

Is There Anyone Who Should Not Have The Shingles Vaccination

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

There are 2 shingles vaccines available in the UK:

  • Zostavax, a live vaccine given as 1 dose
  • Shingrix, a non-live vaccine given as 2 doses

If Zostavax is not suitable for you, a GP or practice nurse will decide whether to offer you Shingrix instead.

You should not have the shingles vaccine if youâve had a serious allergic reaction in the past to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine, or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or to a previous dose of varicella vaccine.

If you have a weakened immune system a GP or practice nurse will assess which vaccine is suitable for you. Discuss any health concerns with the GP or practice nurse before you have the vaccine.

Zostavax is not suitable for people who have a weakened immune system due to a condition, treatment or medicine.

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Shingles On Your Face

Shingles usually occurs on one side of your back or chest, but you can also get a rash on one side of your face.

If the rash is close to or in your ear, it can cause an infection that could lead to:

  • loss of hearing
  • issues with your balance
  • weakness in your facial muscles

Shingles inside your mouth can be very painful. It may be difficult to eat and may affect your sense of taste.

A shingles rash on your scalp can cause sensitivity when you comb or brush your hair. Without treatment, shingles on the scalp can lead to permanent bald patches.

What Problems Can Happen

Most cases of shingles heal on their own, with or without treatment, and wont 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 .

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What Are Risk Factors For Shingles

A weakened immune system might wake up the virus. After youâve had chickenpox, youâre more likely to get shingles if you:

  • Are 50 or older
  • Are under a lot of stress
  • Have cancer, HIV, or another disease that lowers your bodyâs defenses
  • Have had a serious physical injury
  • Take long-term steroids or other medicines that can weaken your immune system

But many people who get shingles donât fit into any of these categories.

Can I Put New Shingles Over My Old Ones

Treat Shingles Naturally at Home

The answer is yes, you can lay new roof shingles over old ones. You cant do it with wood or slate, for example, and you should never mix materials, such as laying asphalt shingles over cedar shakes. Also, the old roofing has to be in pretty good condition.

Can you put shingles back on roof?

Asphalt shingle roofs, when properly installed, typically require very little maintenance one of the main benefits of a shingle roof. However, there may be the odd occasion where a little fix is needed, and, fortunately, asphalt shingles can easily be removed and replaced in just seven steps.

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How Long Does Shingles Last

Most cases of shingles last three to five weeks.

  • The first sign is often burning or tingling pain sometimes it includes numbness or itching on one side of the body.
  • Somewhere between one and five days after the tingling or burning feeling on the skin, a red rash will appear.
  • A few days later, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.
  • About one week to 10 days after that, the blisters dry up and crust over.
  • A couple of weeks later, the scabs clear up.

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Check If You Have Shingles

The first signs of shingles can be:

  • a tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
  • a headache or feeling generally unwell

A rash will appear a few days later.

Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.

The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.

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Are There Any Home Remedies For Shingles

Care of the skin rash can be provided at home, and this can offer some symptom relief.

  • Topical calamine lotion can be applied to the rash in order to decrease itching.
  • Cool wet compresses against the painful rash can sometimes be soothing, and for some individuals, a compress with aluminum acetate solution may also be helpful.
  • For some, colloidal oatmeal baths may also provide relief from the itching.
  • It is important to maintain good personal hygiene, avoid scratching the rash, wear loose-fitting clothes, and try to keep the affected area clean in order to prevent secondary bacterial infection of the skin.
  • The rash should be covered to decrease the risk of transmissibility should you come into contact with susceptible individuals.

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When To Contact A Doctor

How to treat shingles

Its important to visit your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have shingles, especially if youre somebody at an increased risk of developing it.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends visiting a dermatologist or other healthcare professional within 3 days to prevent long-term complications.

Shingles typically clears up within a few weeks and does not commonly recur. If your symptoms have not lessened within 10 days, contact a doctor for a follow-up and reevaluation.

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Preventing The Virus Spreading

If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.

You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.

Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:

  • women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
  • people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
  • babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus

Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.

If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital

Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:

  • Youll be in a contact isolation room.
  • The door will be kept closed.
  • A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
  • The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.

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What Are The Treatments For Shingles

There is no cure for shingles. Antiviral medicines may help to make the attack shorter and less severe. They may also help prevent PHN. The medicines are most effective if you can take them within 3 days after the rash appears. So if you think you might have shingles, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

Pain relievers may also help with the pain. A cool washcloth, calamine lotion, and oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.

Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Shingrix Vs Zostavax

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

For adults aged 50 years and older, only plans with Medicare Part D coverage will cover the Shingrix vaccine. However, there may still be a copay even with Medicare Part D coverage. The average cash price for one Shingrix dose is $167, though you may be able to use a prescription discount card to lower this cost. Check with your local pharmacy to see if you can use a Shingrix SingleCare card.

Like Shingrix, Zostavax is primarily covered by Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans with Medicare Part D coverage. The copay for Zostavax with insurance can vary. With an average cash price of $278, Zostavax can be expensive with or without insurance. Using a prescription discount card for Zostavax may be able to reduce this cost.

*

*not reportedFrequency is not based on data from a head-to-head trial. This may not be a complete list of adverse effects that can occur. Please refer to your doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.Source: DailyMed , DailyMed

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When To Seek Medical Advice

Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.

You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.

How Is It Treated

It is best to start treatment as soon as possible after you notice the rash. See your healthcare provider to discuss treatment with antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir. This medicine is most effective if you start taking it within the first 3 days of the rash. Antiviral medicine may speed your recovery and lessen the chance that the pain will last for a long time.

Your provider may also recommend or prescribe:

  • medicine for pain
  • antibacterial salves or lotions to help prevent bacterial infection of the blisters
  • corticosteroids

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Who Is At Risk For Shingles

Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for getting shingles. But this risk goes up as you get older shingles is most common in people over age 50.

People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting shingles. This includes those who:

Your immune system may be weaker when you have an infection or are stressed. This can raise your risk of shingles.

It is rare, but possible, to get shingles more than once.

When Should I See My Doctor

How Can You Prevent Shingles

See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.

See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:

  • symptoms that affect your eye area
  • a temperature of 38°C or higher

You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

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