What Should You Do If You Have Shingles
These simple steps can help you reduce the severity and spread of shingles:
- Cover the rash at all times
- Do not touch or scratch the rash
- Wash hands often to prevent the spread of the virus
- Before the rash develops crusts, avoid contact with:
- pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it
- premature or low birth-weight infants
- people with weakened immune systems including those receiving immunosuppressive medications or undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, and people with HIV.
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 .
Are Shingrix And Zostavax The Same
Both Shingrix and Zostavax can decrease the risk of shingles. However, they differ in effectiveness, administration, and side effects. Shingrix is a recombinant zoster vaccine and Zostavax is a live vaccine. Meaning, Shingrix contains an inactivated form of the varicella-zoster virus and Zostavax contains a live, weakened form of the virus. Another difference is that Shingrix is injected into the muscle while Zostavax is injected underneath the skin. Compared to Zostavax, Shingrix is a newer shingles vaccine.
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What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that usually develops on one side of your body or face. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning or shooting sensation. The rash is often a single strip that wraps around one side of your body or is on one side of your face. It consists of blisters that normally crust over in seven to 10 days. The rash generally clears up within a month.
For some people, the pain from the rash can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-term pain is called postherpetic neuralgia , and it is the most common complication of shingles.
A New More Effective Option
This isnt one of those new medicines that only offers small benefits over a previous version. Instead, it offers major benefits over the older vaccine.
First, its safer.
While the previous vaccine uses a live virus to prompt the immune system to create antibodies that defend against the virus, the new Shingrix vaccine contains no living organisms, so cannot cause viral infection even in a severely immune-compromised host.
Secondly, Shingrix is manufactured in yeast cells, by recombinant DNA technology. No aborted human fetal cell lines are used to make this vaccine. This removes a religious objection to the prior Zostavax vaccine.
Finally, Shingrix is much more effective at producing an immune response than the older vaccine. Even among adults older than 80, the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.
For all these considerations, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has recommended that this vaccine replace the older vaccine product.
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How Cdc Monitors Vaccine Safety
CDC and FDA monitor the safety of vaccines after they are approved or authorized. If a problem is found with a vaccine, CDC and FDA will inform health officials, health care providers, and the public.
CDC uses 3 systems to monitor vaccine safety:
- The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System : an early warning system, co-managed by CDC and FDA, to monitor for potential vaccine safety problems. Anyone can report possible vaccine side effects to VAERS.
- The Vaccine Safety Datalink : a collaboration between CDC and 9 health care organizations that conducts vaccine safety monitoring and research.
- The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project: a partnership between CDC and several medical research centers that provides expert consultation and conducts clinical research on vaccine-associated health risks.
Make A Plan To Get 2 Doses
- You can get Shingrix at your doctors office or pharmacy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting Shingrix.
- Plan to get your second dose of Shingrix 2 to 6 months after your first dose.
Five years later, I still take prescription medication for pain. My shingles rash quickly developed into open, oozing sores that in only a few days required me to be hospitalized. I could not eat, sleep, or perform even the most minor tasks. It was totally debilitating. The pain still limits my activity levels to this day.
A 63-year-old harpist who was unable to continue playing due to shingles
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Counseling Patients About Shingrix
Know the benefits and side effects of Shingrix so youre prepared to talk with your patients before administering the vaccine.
What to tell patients about Shingrix benefits:
- You can protect yourself against shingles. Shingles is a very painful disease, and your risk of getting it increases as you age. Also, you are more likely to have severe, long-term pain if you get shingles when you are older. About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime.
- Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and long-term pain from the disease. Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. So its very important that you get this vaccine.
What to tell patients about Shingrix side effects:
What to tell patients about dose two:
- You need to come back in 2 to 6 months for your second dose. We can make that appointment now.
- Even if you have side effects from the first dose, it is important to get the second dose to build strong protection against shingles. Your reaction to each dose may be different just because you have a reaction to the first dose does not mean that you will have a reaction to the second.
How Can I Get This Shot
If youre older than 50, its a good idea to ask your family doctor about getting the new shingles vaccine, which Beebe began offering in early 2018.
Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment with my office nurse to receive the vaccine if it is not available from your own doctor.
Scott Olewiler, MD, is an infectious disease specialist who is board certified in infectious diseases. He received his infectious disease training at The Temple University Department of Infectious Diseases in Philadelphia, and has been practicing in Lewes since 1996. To learn more about the services offered at Beebe Infectious Disease and Travel Medicine, call 645-3232 or visit www.beebemedicalgroup.org/locations/beebe-infectious-disease-and-travel-medicine.
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How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
People with a weakened immune system cannot have live vaccines. They will be offered a non-live vaccine called Shingrix. It activates the immune system but also contains an ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps to boost the response to the vaccine.
Very occasionally, people develop chickenpox following shingles vaccination . Talk to a GP if this happens to you.
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.
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Drug Interactions Of Shingrix Vs Zostavax
Immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus can decrease the effectiveness of vaccines. Steroids, like prednisone, and chemotherapy can also have immunosuppressive effects that can alter how vaccines work.
Those who are on immunosuppressive therapy should avoid Zostavax altogether Zostavax contains the live virus, which could result in an infection.
Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir and famciclovir can interfere with the effects of the Zostavax vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that people who are on antiviral drugs stop taking antiviral medications 24 hours before getting a Zostavax vaccine. Treatment with antiviral drugs should not be resumed for at least 14 days after vaccination with Zostavax.
Consult a healthcare professional for other possible drug interactions
What Else To Know About The Shingles Vaccine
Ready to get vaccinated? This is the essential info on how the shots are given, what to expect with side effects, and more.
You need two doses of Shingrix to get full protection from shingles. You should get your second dose 2 to 6 months after the first. Your doctor or pharmacist will inject the vaccine into the muscle of your upper arm, so wear clothes that give easy access to that area.
If it has been more than 6 months since you got your first dose, go ahead and get your second dose. You donât need to start over, Dooling says.
Because Shingrix is so new, experts arenât sure whether youâll eventually need another shot, or a booster, years down the road.
âThe CDC is actively following how protected people remain after the two-dose series,â she says. We know that after 4 years, protection remains above 85%. Only time will tell how durable that protection is.â
You do not have to wait between Shingrix and COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC has determined its safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as Shingrex, but recommends they be given in different arms. You should not get eithe vaccine if you have COVID.
Side effects are fairly common. You may have heard that people sometimes have unpleasant side effects soon after they get the shingles vaccine.
âShingrix tends to have has more side effects than some vaccines, like those for the seasonal flu,â says Kistler. The shingles vaccine may cause:
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Warnings Of Shingrix And Zostavax
Shingrix and Zostavax can cause hypersensitivity, or allergic, reactions in those with allergies to vaccine ingredients. Zostavax may cause severe allergic reactions in those with a known allergy to gelatin or neomycin. Severe allergic reactions can lead to severe rash and trouble breathing .
Zostavax should be avoided in those who take immunosuppressive agents and those who are affected by medical conditions that weaken the immune system.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other precautions before getting a shingles vaccine.
Who Should Get Zostavax
People 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine . They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine.
Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.. Zoster vaccine live has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine , has been in use since 2017 and is recommended by ACIP as the preferred shingles vaccine.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider.
Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about shingles vaccine. Shingles vaccine is available in doctors offices and pharmacies. To find doctors offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit Zostavax or HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
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Can Shingles Be Prevented
The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles or PHN is to get vaccinated.
The new recombinant zoster vaccine, Shingrix, and the zoster vaccine live, Zostavax, are both approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent shingles for most adults age 50 and older.
The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the Shingrix vaccine to protect against shingles and its potential complications. The vaccine is available in pharmacies and doctors offices.
How Long After Ive Received The Shingles Vaccine Am I Contagious
With the currently authorized shingles vaccine, Shingrix, you wont be contagious. The old vaccine, Zostavax, used a weakened form of the live varicella-zoster virus. Therefore, people worried about spreading the disease to the people around them.
Shingrix doesnt use a live version of the varicella-zoster virus. It is inactivated, which means it uses a dead version of the virus. Therefore, you have no risk of transmitting the disease to anyone.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
No one likes to get shots, especially for something youve already been vaccinated for. But the newer version of the shingles vaccine is one youll want to offer up your arm for. The Shingrix vaccine is more than 90% effective at helping you prevent shingles. Since most of us have had chickenpox in the past, the shingles vaccine is an easy way to prevent the dormant chickenpox virus from creeping up and hitting you again with shingles.
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Is Shingrix Or Zostavax More Effective
Shingrix and Zostavax have both been proven to prevent shingles. However, Shingrix is a newer vaccine that is considered more effective than Zostavax. Shingrix is even recommended for those who have already received the Zostavax vaccine in the past.
Clinical trials have shown that Shingrix is 97% effective at preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old. Shingrix is also effective in preventing shingles in older adultsadults over the age of 70, Shingrix is 91% effective.
Zostavax has a 70% efficacy rate in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old, according to the Zoster Efficacy and Safety Trial . Results from the Shingles Prevention Study showed that Zostavax is 51% effective against shingles. Compared to Shingrix, the effectiveness of Zostavax decreases in older age groups. Based on the SPS results, Zostavax is 64% effective in adults aged 60 to 69 years old 41% effective in adults aged 70 to 79 years old and 18% effective in adults aged 80 years and older.
Your healthcare provider will most likely recommend Shingrix over Zostavax. Shingrix is especially recommended for immunocompromised patients since it is a non-live vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which shingles vaccine is right for you.
Considerations For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax
Studies have not examined the safety and immunogenicity of Shingrix administered less than 5 years following Zostavax vaccination. However, there are no data or theoretical concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or less effective when given at an interval shorter than 5 years following Zostavax. Since the risk of herpes zoster increases with age, providers should weigh a patients risk of herpes zoster with the age-specific protection expected from Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix.
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New Shingles Vaccine Over 90% Effective
Shingles is a painful rash on the skin that comes from the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Recently, shingles has made headlines because of a new vaccine that was approved in 2017: the recombinant zoster vaccine, or Shingrix.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , two doses of the new vaccine are more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and its side effects.
Shingles is a painful, often debilitating rash that affects roughly 1 million people each year. Luckily, getting vaccinated can help you prevent it and stop shingles from spreading.
To help explain more about how shingles spreads and what it is, weve gathered key information from MedlinePlus and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. The rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7-10 days. Shingles typically takes 2-4 weeks to clear up.
People often feel pain, itching, or tingling in the area 1-5 days before the rash appears.
Most commonly, shingles forms a single stripe of rash on either the left or right hemisphere of the body. Occasionally, the rash occurs on one side of the face. Less commonly, the rash looks similar to chickenpox and is spread more liberally . Shingles can sometimes affect the eyes and cause loss of vision.
Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach.
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