Shingles And Chickenpox Are Caused By The Same Virus
Its called the varicella zoster virus, and you usually come into contact with it during childhood. Thats when chickenpoxor varicellais most common. Its characterized by an itchy rash of pink blister-like bumps scattered all over the body, and it often causes fatigue, fever, and other common symptoms of a viral infection.
Once youve had chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus hangs around in your body. The virus will hide there for many, many yearsand then we see it show up as shingles in some people, says Margaret E. Parsons, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Reactivated, the virus affects the nerves, creating a painful red rash.
Dab Calendula Oil To Ease Itching And Promote Healing
Calendula or marigold is known for its healing properties. Homeopathy recommends the use of calendula oil or gel to relieve itching and encourage healing of blisters caused by chickenpox and shingles.8 Calendula has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to quicken wound healing as well as improve the texture of skin. Flavonoids present in this herb are thought to be responsible for this effect.9
Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox
Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who didnt.
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What Are Shingles Symptoms
Common symptoms of shingles are pain and a rash in a belt-like form that stops at the midline of the body affecting only one side. Symptoms of shingles progress from burning and itching sensations to severe pain at the location of the rash. Early shingles symptoms may include burning, tingling, or a numb sensation on the skin accompanied by headache, upset stomach, and chills.
Later stages include painful fluid-filled blisters that cause severe pain, fever, and severe itching.
Can I Give Shingles To Others
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.
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Who Should Not Be Vaccinated With Shingrix
You shouldnt receive the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergy to this vaccine or any ingredient in this vaccine.
- Are breastfeeding or pregnant.
- Currently have shingles.
- Are ill and have a high fever.
- Have tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus .
Ask your healthcare provider if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh any potential risks.
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.
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What Should I Expect Will Happen To Me If I 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 reduce the duration of your symptoms.
A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you never had shingles or had a bout of them 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.
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Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix
The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for those 50 years of age and older who are in good health.
You should get the Shingrix vaccine even if:
- Youve had shingles already.
- Youve been previously vaccinated with Zostavax . If youve been vaccinated with Zostavax, wait at least eight weeks before getting vaccinated with Shingrix.
- You dont know for sure if youve ever had chickenpox.
Ask your healthcare provider, who knows your entire health history if getting this vaccine is right for you.
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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.
Using Essential Oils To Treat Shingles
Dr. Van Groningen recommends capsaicin, peppermint oil, or geranium oil as complements to the medications prescribed by your doctor. There are many brands of over-the-counter capsaicin lotions, patches, and ointments. You can also buy essential oils at your local health food stores.
Birgitta Lauren, a holistic health expert based in California, recommends mixing about 10 drops each of thyme, geranium, and lemon essential oils into about a tablespoon of high-quality coconut oil. Then apply the mixture to your blisters.
Stress may trigger shingles, she says, so even just taking time for self-care can provide benefits. Rubbing the mixture on areas that hurt can temporarily ease pain. Plus, the moisturizing effects of the coconut oil can help prevent itching and cracking. Work this essential oil mixture into your skin daily, and you may be able to keep the pain at bay.
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Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include those:
- With a weakened immune system .
- Over the age of 50.
- Who have been ill.
- Who have experienced trauma.
- Who are under stress.
The chickenpox virus doesnt leave your body after you have chickenpox. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. Researchers aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
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.
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A Vaccine For People 60+ Is Key
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can be a painful rash that goes away after a few weeks no fun, but manageable. Or it can be hellish.
Half of everyone who reaches age 85 will have experienced shingles some time along the way. Heres what you need to know about preventing and treating the condition.
Q: What is shingles? If Ive had chickenpox, will I definitely get shingles?
A: Shingles is a viral infection of the nerves. After a bout of chickenpox, leftover varicella virus hides out in the nervous system in an inactive state, held in check there by the immune system. If the immune system weakens, the snoozing virus can come roaring back to life, replicate and cause the havoc we experience as shingles. Its not clear why the virus remains dormant in some people but not others.
Q: What symptoms should I watch out for?
A: The primary symptom is a rash, which often appears as a red band on one side of the torso, and is followed by blisters. Chills, nausea, headache and a tingling pain or itch on one side of the body are additional possible symptoms. Shingles may affect nerves in other parts of the body, including those in the arms or legs and may result in muscle weakness in the affected limbs. Some of the worst cases involve nerves around the eye, which can lead to inflammation in the cornea and even vision loss.
Skin Care And Itch Relief For Shingles
To relieve itching and discomfort, try:
- A cool, wet compresses on the affected skin
- Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion
- Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin
- Antihistamines to reduce itching
Keep your skin clean. Throw away bandages you use to cover your skin sores. Throw away or wash in hot water clothing that has contact with your skin sores. Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.
While your skin sores are still open and oozing, avoid all contact with anyone who has never had chickenpox, especially pregnant women.
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General Measures To Alleviate Shingles Symptoms
Loose-fitting cotton clothes are best to reduce irritating the affected area of skin. Pain may be eased by cooling the affected area with ice cubes , wet dressings, or a cool bath. A non-adherent dressing that covers the rash when it is blistered and raw may help to reduce pain caused by contact with clothing. Simple creams may be helpful if the rash is itchy. Calamine lotion can help to cool the skin and reduce mild itchiness.
Is There A Shingles Vaccine
In the UK there is a shingles vaccine immunisation programme for people aged 70 years to protect against herpes zoster. There is also a catch-up programme which offers the vaccine to certain people aged between 70 and 79 years who may have previously missed out on immunisation. The vaccine is licensed for people aged over 50 years, and if you are not eligible for the vaccine on the NHS, your pharmacist may be able to provide the vaccine as a private service.
The chickenpox vaccine is not routinely given to children in the UK but is offered to people who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications â eg, people with a weakened immune system.
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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.
Treat Your Body And Mind
You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.
5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:
- Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
- Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
- Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.
6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:
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Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles
Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.
Other things you can do include:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products.
These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.
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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Treatment Of Postherpetic Neuralgia
Apply to affected area every 4 to 12 hours as needed.
10 to 25 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 25 mg every 2 to 4 weeks until response is adequate, or to maximum dosage of 150 mg per day.
10 to 25 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 25 mg every 2 to 4 weeks until response is adequate, or to maximum dosage of 125 mg per day.
25 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 25 mg every 2 to 4 weeks until response is adequate, or to maximum dosage of 150 mg per day.
25 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 25 mg every 2 to 4 weeks until response is adequate, or to maximum dosage of 150 mg per day.
100 to 300 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage until response is adequate or blood drug level is 10 to 20 g per mL .
100 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 100 mg every 3 days until dosage is 200 mg three times daily, response is adequate or blood drug level is 6 to12 g per mL .
100 to 300 mg orally at bedtime increase dosage by 100 to 300 mg every 3 days until dosage is 300 to 900 mg three times daily or response is adequate.
*Additional modalities include transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation , biofeedback and nerve blocks.
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What Is The Prognosis For Shingles What Are Possible Shingles Complications
Many cases of shingles go away by themselves, with or without treatment. The rash and pain should be gone in two to three weeks. However, shingles may last longer and be more likely to recur if the person is older, especially older than 50 years of age, or if they have a serious medical problem.
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What If I Have Shingles And A Poor Immune System
If you have a poor immune system and develop shingles then see your doctor straightaway. You will normally be given antiviral medication whatever your age and will be monitored for complications. People with a poor immune system include:
- People taking high-dose steroids. per day for more than one week in the previous three months. Or, children who have taken steroids within the previous three months, equivalent to prednisolone 2 mg/kg per day for at least one week, or 1 mg/kg per day for one month.)
- People on lower doses of steroids in combination with other immunosuppressant medicines.
- People taking anti-arthritis medications which can affect the bone marrow.
- People being treated with chemotherapy or generalised radiotherapy, or who have had these treatments within the previous six months.
- People who have had an organ transplant and are on immunosuppressive treatment.
- People who have had a bone marrow transplant and who are still immunosuppressed.
- People with an impaired immune system.
- People who are immunosuppressed with HIV infection.
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.
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