Do I Need To Stay Away From Children Pregnant Women People With Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After I Get The Zostavax Vaccine
According to the CDC, it is 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 there is no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine.
Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of Your Body
The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of your body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area. It doesnt spread over your whole body. Your torso is a common area, as is your face.
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.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles
The signs and symptoms of shingles typically occur over one side of the face or body.
The generalized signs and symptoms in the body may include:
- Pain is usually the first symptom in shingles and can vary in intensity.
- Burning sensation, numbness or tingling and itching.
- Raised red rash which usually appears a few days after the pain.
- Multiple blisters which appear in a stripe pattern.
- The blisters contain fluid and they break open with crusting.
The typical shingles rash is seen as blisters following pain, itching, and tingling. It is usually limited to one side of the face and body.
- Shingles on the face, scalp, mouth, and ear:
Rash and blisters of shingles appear on one side of the face extending to the scalp and ear.
Shingles can occur in the mouth and is usually very painful, causing pain while eating and change in taste.
- Shingles of the eye and forehead:
Rash and blisters appear around the eye, over the eyelids and one side of the forehead, extending to the tip of the nose. This rash may involve the eye.
- Shingles on the waist and back:
- Shingles on the buttocks:
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Is There A Way I Can Keep From Being Infected With Chickenpox
Yes, make sure all your vaccines are up to date, especially if you are planning a pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those you love. If you are not immune, you should be vaccinated. You will receive two doses of varicella vaccine one month apart. You should avoid becoming pregnant for at least one month after the last vaccination. Varicella vaccine should not be given to pregnant women. If you are pregnant, have your healthcare provider give you the varicella vaccine after your baby is delivered.
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.
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Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles
Occasionally some patients dont get the rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments that can be given early in the disease. If it turns out you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider allows any condition that you do have to be discovered and treated early in its course.
The shingles rash appears on the abdomen and face, neck and shoulders.
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Is That Rash From Chicken Pox Cases Still Crop Up
Chicken pox, also called varicella, is a highly contagious disease that mainly strikes children. In the early stages of chicken pox, youll see fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and headache. A day or two later the disease causes an itchy rash with blisters.
If you ask most adults if theyve had chicken pox, theyll share a story about how the disease spread through their elementary school classroom and their family. They may remember missing a week or more of school, staying home and struggling not to scratch their itchy blisters.
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What Precautions Have To Be Taken To Avoid Acquiring Chickenpox Or Shingles
Shingles vaccine is available for adults. It can be administered as a precautionary measure or as a treatment. The shingles vaccine can help alleviate the symptoms faster. Even healthcare professionals have to be checked for their immunity against the varicella-zoster virus. Refrain from getting too close to people who are suffering from shingles, especially if you have never had chickenpox, or never had the vaccine for chickenpox. If circumstances force you, then make sure to wear a mask and use a hand sanitizer afterward.
It is important that you maintain a distance from your close friends and family members until your condition clears up. Consult your doctor to understand more about the infectious nature of shingles and the measures you need to take to avoid infecting other people. Try to keep the blisters covered at all times, use a hand sanitizer regularly, and try to avoid touching items at home such as the refrigerator or the TV remote.
Ringworm Or Shingles Virus: A Case Of Mistaken Identity
Ringworm is an infectious skin disease that, despite its name, is caused by a fungus, whereas the shingles rash is caused by a virus. Ringworm infection causes red, itchy, scaly patches on your skin, often in several places at once. Sometimes the patches blister and ooze, much like the shingles rash. Ringworm is most common in children, and it spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact or contact with an item contaminated with the fungus, like dirty clothes or a shower floor.
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Why Doesnt Having Chickenpox Earlier In Life Provide Immunity Against Having Shingles Later
After having chickenpox, your body does not rid your system of the virus. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of the spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. In most people, the virus simply stays there quietly and doesnt cause problems. Scientists arent always sure why the virus gets active again, but they know stress can be a cause.
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Psoriasis Forms Red Patches On The Skin
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that is easy to confuse with the shingles rash. As with the shingles virus, psoriasis forms red patches on the skin, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. One type of psoriasis pustular can lead to the development of blisters. Areas of skin affected by psoriasis often develop into silvery scales on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Treatment can help control the condition.
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What About A Shingles Vaccine
Vaccines are available, but due to a lack of data, these vaccines are not yet recommended for use in the cancer patient group. Also in development is a shingles vaccine that uses an inactivated form of the virus.
These advances suggest that vaccines show promise as a way to prevent shingles and its complications in cancer patients. As always, we recommend those diagnosed with breast cancer consult your oncologist at the first sign of shingles.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults aged older than 50 years however, Zostax, a live-virus vaccine, may not be suitable for patients with immunodeficiency or immunosuppression, including those with cancer. The vaccine combines glycoprotein E with an adjuvant system that enhances immunologic response.Read More.
A 65-year-old female patient with breast pain, severe edema, irritation and itching in the left breast was admitted to the emergency department.
This patient had a history of breast cancer four years previously, which metastasized to the lungs and lymph nodes on her neck. This patient was treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy and total mastectomy for several years. The breast often appeared swollen, erythematous and red, or inflamed.Read More.
How Do I Protect Myself From Shingles
The best protection from shingles is vaccination. People can still get shingles after receiving the varicella vaccine but they are 4 to 12 times less likely to do so than if they havent been immunized. The vaccine is recommended for most people 60 and older.
Some people should not receive the vaccine for example, those with certain allergies or who are taking certain medications. A health professional can advise who should not be vaccinated due to contraindications to the vaccine.
People between 50 and 59 years can request the vaccine from their health professional.
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Who Is At Risk For Shingles
About 1 in 3 Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Cases are more common in older adults, but doctors say even children get shingles.
Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in their body. The virus can reactivate later, causing shingles.
Ã¢Not everyone who had chickenpox will develop shingles,Ã¢ Wigand-Bolling noted.
Two other things to keep in mind: You cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles, the CDC says. However, you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles if youÃ¢ve never had chickenpox or never received the chickenpox vaccine.
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What Does Early Stages Of Shingles Look Like
Shingles progress through several stages as the virus replicates in your body. Shingles start as a rash with red bumps, known as papules, distributed most frequently over your back and torso.
Within several days, grouped blisters are present. Within seven to ten days, the vesicles dry up and crust.
The early stage of shingles looks like small, red, raised, solid pimples or an inflamed rash. These are tiny, raised bumps on the skin. Eventually, these bumps blister and later crust. The beginning stages of shingles create tingling and localized pain.
The early stages of shingles are also described as itching, burning, or deep pain. People who have had shingles also described the early stages as similar to the beginning of the flu.
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What Should You Expect If You Get Shingles
Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and end symptoms earlier.
A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you’ve never had shingles in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.
Outlook For People With Shingles In The Eye
Your shingles rash should heal within one to three weeks. Symptoms around your face and eyes can sometimes take up to a few months to heal.
In the early stages of the disease, your doctor will check you every few days. After youve received treatment for the infection, youll probably need to see your eye doctor every 3 to 12 months to check for glaucoma, scarring, and other long-term problems that can affect your vision.
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Other Conditions That May Cause A Rash Under The Breast
Other conditions may cause a rash under the breast. These may have symptoms that distinguish it from shingles. For example:
You cant get shingles unless youve already had chickenpox.
Anyone who has had chickenpox, either as a child or adult, can get shingles.
The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox doesnt leave the body, even after the illness resolves. Instead, it lodges in the nerve endings located near the spine and brain. Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus becomes reactivated. The triggers for reactivation are not completely understood.
Most people whove had chickenpox will not get shingles. Some people have additional risk factors which put them at increased risk. Others may get shingles, even though they do not have additional risk factors.
How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated
Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.
If your pain doesnt lessen, you might try therapies like nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine. Your provider might suggest an implantable nerve stimulator device for severe, ongoing pain that hasnt responded to other treatments.
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Dont Shrug Off Shingles
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Mens Health Watch
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
If you had chickenpox as a kid, there is a good chance you may develop shingles later in life. In fact, one in three is predicted to get shingles during their lifetime, says Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, director of the Nerve Unit at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
The same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. After the telltale spots of chickenpox vanish, the virus lies dormant in your nerve cells near the spinal cord and brain. When your immunity weakens from normal aging or from illnesses or medications, the virus can re-emerge. It then travels along a nerve to trigger a rash in the skin connected to that nerve. The rash often appears on only one side of your body. The most common locations are the chest, back, or stomach, or above one eye.
Shingles Symptoms: After The Rash
Just like the blisters of chickenpox, the blisters in shingles eventually burst, and the area starts to ooze. The blisters will then crust over and heal. Before the blisters crust over, the VZV virus can be spread to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox through vaccination or previous infection. Herpes zoster spreads when a person who lacks immunity has direct contact with the blisters of someone who has the virus. The scabs eventually fall off, and the rash disappears. Sometimes scarring may result.
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When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine
The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.
You should get the shingles vaccine if you:
- Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
- Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
- Dont remember having had chickenpox
Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.
You should not get vaccinated if you:
- Currently have shingles
- Are sick or have a fever
- Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine
If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting 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.