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What To Expect After Shingles Shot

New Shingles Vaccine Shingrix Much More Effective

Shingles on the Hand Even After Shingles Shot | Auburn Medical Group

This past fall, a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, was approved by the FDA and marked the first major development in the prevention of this devastating disease in over 10 years. The excitement about this new vaccine, coupled with the fact that one in every three adults will suffer from the shingles, has generated a lot of buzz and a lot of questions among my patients here at Methodist Physicians Clinic Indian Hills.

When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

You can get the shingles vaccine even if you do not know if you had chickenpox. You can also get the vaccine even if you have already had shingles.

  • The recombinant zoster vaccine is a 2-dose series. The second dose is given 2 to 6 months after the first dose. Adults 50 years or older and adults 19 years and older with a weakened immune system may get the vaccine. You can also get this vaccine if you were given the live zoster vaccine before. This vaccine does not contain any live virus.
  • The live zoster vaccine is no longer used in the US but may be used in other countries. This vaccine may be used if you have not received the shingles vaccine before. The vaccine is given in 1 dose to adults age 60 years or older. The vaccine may also relieve pain if you get shingles even after you get the vaccine.

Does The Shingles Vaccine Contain Thimerosal

You may be concerned about additives to the shingles vaccine, like thimerosal.

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury. Its added to some vaccines to prevent bacteria and other germs from growing in them. The shingles vaccine contains thimerosal.

The worry about thimerosal arose when early research linked it to autism. This connection has since been found to be untrue.

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When Should I See A Doctor Because Of The Side Effects I Experience From Shingrix

Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system, so it may produce short-term side effects. These side effects can be uncomfortable, but they are expected and usually go away on their own in 2 or 3 days. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms are not improving or if they are getting worse.

In clinical trials, Shingrix was not associated with serious adverse events. In fact, serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. For example, for every 1 million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people might have a severe allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction happen within minutes or hours after vaccination and include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness. If you experience these or any other life-threatening symptoms, see a doctor right away.

Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Online and Print Materials

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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What You Can Do To Help Recover From Shingles

There is no cure for shingles, but there are medications, including antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, to help fight the infection.

While your shingles is active, you should:

  • Rest and relax. Try moderate activities, such as walking and listening to music that can help take your mind off the pain. For severe pain, your doctor may prescribe narcotic pain relievers, corticosteroids, and anticonvulsants.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Keep the rash clean and dry. Do not cover it or use ointments, which can prevent the blisters from bursting and beginning to scab over.
  • Try cool compresses, calamine lotion, or an oatmeal bath to ease the itching and pain of the rash.
  • Dont share bedding, clothing or towels in order to avoid spreading the infection while you have blisters.

There are effective vaccinations available to prevent shingles, so if you have had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting protected from shingles.

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 There A Shingles Vaccination

Theres the new Shingrix shot thats on the market. Its for shingles. Its a series of two injections about four to six months apart. Its a lot more effective than the older vaccine that we had out. The old vaccine was a live virus so people who were immunocompromised could not get it. So if you were on chemo, you couldnt get it. But this newer one is actually a dead virus, so its offered for all those people and helps prevent shingles. Thats a really good vaccine as well.

What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine

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

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.

Some people with shingles also experience additional symptoms including fever, headache, chills or upset stomach.

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.

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What Does The Shingles Vaccine Do

The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles. Every year, about 1 million people in the United States get shingles. Anyone whos had chickenpox can get shingles. Thats because the varicella-zoster virus lives silently in your nervous system after you’ve had chickenpox. The virus can reactivate later in your life if your immune system is weakened. Your risk of getting shingles goes up as you get older. In the United States, 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.

Important Facts About Shingles

The virus that causes shingles is the varicella zoster virus , which is the same one that causes chickenpox. After someone recovers from chickenpox and the rash goes away, the VZV virus still remains in the body. It stays dormant, but it is possible for it to reactivate later in a persons life, which is what causes shingles.

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How Does The New Vaccine Work

Shingrix contains broken-down parts of the virus which then allow the body to build up immunity to the virus. When the body confronts the actual virus in the future, it mounts a response to keep the infection at bay. The vaccine also contains molecules that make the bodys immune response stronger and last longer.

For these reasons, Shingrix provides better and longer-lasting protection against both shingles and PHN than the older vaccine, Zostavax.

Protection from the older vaccine wore off after approximately eight years, but we believe Shingrix to last much longer.

Allergic Reaction To Shingles Vaccination

Shingles Online and Print Materials

There is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine, as there is with other vaccines.

Anaphylaxis is very serious and potentially life-threatening, but it can be treated. All healthcare staff that deliver vaccinations are trained in this. With prompt treatment, people fully recover from anaphylaxis.

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What Can I Expect After Getting The Vaccine

Shingrix is a two-part vaccine with the second dose given 2-6 months after the first. If you miss this timeframe, then you do not have to repeat the series. The vaccine is given into the muscle, much like an influenza, pneumonia or tetanus vaccine.

Once you get the vaccine, you are more likely to experience fatigue, achy muscles, fever, shivering or upset stomach compared to the older vaccine. Approximately 11 percent of people who get the vaccine reported these flu-like symptoms and another nine percent reported mild pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. These symptoms are more likely to occur after the second dose and typically resolve in a few days.

Shingrix represents a real opportunity to protect ourselves against a debilitating disease with remarkable and long-lasting effectiveness. Speak with your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider about being vaccinated.

The Stages Of Shingles Recovery

After the rash develops, which usually appears on only one side of the body, it forms blisters. You may feel like you have the flu or a mild fever. As you recover, you will typically go through these stages:

  • Blisters begin to burst or weep about 5 days after they develop, and lasts from 7 to 10 days. You should take time off from work and other activities during this period, because you can spread the virus to others through the fluid in the blisters. Otherwise, you can return to work when you feel comfortable doing so.
  • The blisters will scab over and begin to heal, which takes from 1 to 3 weeks, unless the rash is on your scalp in which case it can take several months.
  • As they heal, the blisters become smaller and less painful, generally over a period of 3 to 5 weeks.
  • About 10 to 15% of people with shingles will develop chronic nerve pain, which can be severe. Sensitivity to touch at the site of the rash is possible. The older you are, the more likely it is you will develop this disorder, called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN. The pain often lessens over time. Available treatments include anti-inflammatory injections, nerve blocks, certain tricyclic antidepressants, or capsaicin cream, which is made from chili peppers and can help ease nerve pain.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix

Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.

If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.

Side Effects Of Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Vaccine Info

The most common shingles shot side effects include pain and soreness at the injection site. Some people also notice a bit of redness, swelling or itching at the site of the shot. Other side effects of the shingles vaccine may include fatigue, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. According to the CDC, side effects are more common in younger people than older people.

Most people can resume their regular activities immediately after vaccination. However, about 1 out of 6 people develop flu-like symptoms that last anywhere from 1 to 3 days.

Side effects can occur after the first, second, or both doses of Shingrix vaccine. If possible, it is a good idea to schedule vaccination the day before some downtime, so you can rest if you develop side effects.

If you develop flu-like symptoms after shingles vaccination, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control your fever and improve comfort. Those who develop flu-like symptoms after their first dose of vaccine may want to pre-medicate with ibuprofen or acetaminophen an hour or so before their second dose. Your healthcare provider can answer your questions about shingles vaccine side effects and pre-medication for vaccination.

Serious side effects are rare, but not impossible, after shingles vaccination. If you develop hives, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, or sudden dizziness or weakness, and seek medical care immediately.

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Am I At Risk For Shingles

Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:

  • Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
  • Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.

Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.

How To Prevent Transmission

You cant catch shingles, and you cant give shingles to someone else. But you can give others chickenpox.

After you have chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus stays dormant in your body. If this virus reactivates, shingles occurs. Its possible to transmit this virus to others who arent immune while the shingles rash is still active. You are contagious to others until all areas of the rash are dried up and crusted over.

To catch the varicella-zoster virus from you, a person has to have direct contact with your rash blisters.

You can help prevent your transmission of the varicella-zoster virus by:

  • keeping the rash loosely covered
  • practicing frequent handwashing
  • avoiding contact with people who may not have had chickenpox or who havent been vaccinated against chickenpox

Last medically reviewed on August 24, 2017

10 sourcescollapsed

  • Cohen KR, et al. . Presentation and management of herpes zoster in the geriatric population.

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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.

How Well Does Shingrix Work

New Shingles Vaccine: Victim of Its Own Success

Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.

  • In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
  • In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
  • In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.

In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.

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