Thursday, February 29, 2024

Why Did I Get Shingles

The Link Between Crohns Disease And Shingles

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

If you’ve never had chicken pox, as a child or as an adult, and you’re exposed to the virus let’s say you touch someone at the contagious, blister stage of shingles transmission could occur and you’d get chicken pox.

If you haven’t had chicken pox, you can’t get shingles. But someone who has never had chicken pox or been vaccinated for it can contract chicken pox through close contact with someone who has shingles.

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

Shingles On The Rise Among Younger People

Sept. 4, 2018 — In May 2015, Jackie Shelton, a public relations professional and mother of two in Reno, NV, noticed a rash on the back of her leg. She’d been working in her yard and thought nothing of it. Then she awoke in the middle of the night in excruciating pain.

“The pain was emanating from inside my leg and radiating up to the surface,” she says. “It was like fire ants inside my body, on my nerves.”

A trip to urgent care led to an unexpected diagnosis: She had shingles.

Shelton was 50 years old. At the time, she was considered 10 years too young to get the Zostavax shingles vaccine, which was recommended for people ages 60 and older.

“I had really not paid any attention to shingles until I found out I had it. Everything I read said it affected older people, so that was a surprise,” she says.

Katie Ochoa was just 28 when she got the telltale rash. “I called the doctor’s office and said, ‘I think I have shingles.’ They laughed and said, ‘You don’t have shingles.’ As soon as I pulled up my shirt they were like, ‘Wow, this is shingles.’ “

Shingles is known as a disease that mainly strikes older adults, because the varicella zoster virus that causes it often emerges from its slumber late in life. Varicella is the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox in childhood, the virus lies dormant in your nerve cells. It can reawaken as the painful, blistering shingles rash when your immune system naturally weakens with age.

Also Check: What Does Shingles Look Like

Who Should Get Shingrix

Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.

You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:

  • Received varicella vaccine

There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.

If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.

Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.

Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.

If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.

* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.

Incubation Period And Prodrome

What Causes a Shingles Outbreak

The average incubation period for varicella is 14 to 16 days after exposure to a varicella or a herpes zoster rash, with a range of 10 to 21 days. A mild prodrome of fever and malaise may occur 1 to 2 days before rash onset, particularly in adults. In children, the rash is often the first sign of disease.

Recommended Reading: What Do I Do If I Have Shingles

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Shingles

Often the first shingles symptoms happen in the area where the rash will appear. A person may have tingling, itching, or pain in this area. When the rash shows up, the pain may be mild or severe.

The rash starts as groups of tiny pimples on one side of the body or the face. It’s often in the shape of a band or belt. The pimples change to pus-filled blisters that break open and scab over in about 710 days. The scabs usually heal and fall off about 24 weeks after the rash starts.

Some kids with shingles also may have a fever and a headache, and might feel tired and achy. Rarely, a child has the pain of shingles without the rash. More severe symptoms can happen, but usually in people over age 50.

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.

You May Like: Can You Put Lotion On Shingles

I Got The Shingles Shot And Still Got Shingles How Come

Reader Question 741 votes

A

Its not really surprising that you got shingles after being vaccinated. No vaccine is 100 percent effective and whilechildhood vaccinations get close, the shingles vaccine only cuts the risk of shingles by half for people who receive it at age 60 or older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a single dose for those 60 or older, though the vaccine is approved for use starting at age 50.

Even though the vaccine is not always effective, it still protects a lot of people, since nearly one in three adults develops shingles during their lifetime. And if you do get shingles, you may have a milder episode because you were vaccinated. A large clinical trial found that the vaccine reduces the risk of having very severe, long-lasting pain, a syndrome called postherpetic neuralgia.

Its these extreme, prolonged painful episodes that the vaccine works better at preventing, said Dr. Rafael Harpaz, a medical epidemiologist in the division of viral diseases at the C.D.C.What would motivate me to run out and get the vaccine, he said, would be to protect myself from being that rare person who gets 10 years of life-shattering pain.

The vaccine may be most effective at younger ages. If you get it in your 60s, it reduces cases by nearly two thirds, or 64 percent it reduces risk by 41 percent if you are in your 70s when vaccinated and by 18 percent if you are in your 80s.

Do you have a health question? Submit your question to Ask Well.

How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

How to treat shingles

It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.

  • First, a few days before the rash appears, you may feel pain in an area on your skin. The pain is described as itching, burning, stabbing or shooting. This usually happens before the rash comes.
  • Next, the raised rash appears as a band or a patch, usually on one side of your body. The rash usually appears around your waistline or on one side of your face, neck, or on the trunk , but not always. It can occur in other areas including your arms and legs.
  • Within three to four days, the rash develops into red, fluid-filled, painful, open blisters.
  • Usually, these blisters begin to dry out and crust over within about 10 days.
  • The scabs clear up about two to three weeks later.
  • You May Like: What Can You Do If You Have Shingles

    When Should I See My Doctor

    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.

    Is That Rash By My Eye Really Shingles

    Shingles tends to show up most frequently on the torso, just because of the laws of probability, notes Joseph Safdieh, MD, a professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. In that area of your body, there are 24 nerves that can host the virus, compared with the 10 in your lower back.

    Often, its not what the rash looks like, but what it feels like before and after it shows up, that signals the condition. Up to several days before the shingles rash appears, pain, itching, or tingling often occurs in the area where it will develop.

    In the days before the rash appears, a variety of other flu-like symptoms of shingles can occur. You may experience:

    You may even experience the pain but not the rash. Because the pain of shingles originates in the nerves, it may have a different quality than any other pain you have experienced before.

    Neuropathic pain is burning, says Dr. Safdieh. Its both numb and painful at the same time, and can be provoked by touching the skin. Your skin may be so sensitive that even sunlight can bring on a stabbing sensation.

    Even if you arent sure you have shingles, you should still see a doctor right away, because immediate treatment can prevent complications like long-term nerve pain.

    Don’t Miss: Does Shingles Always Have A Rash Or Blisters

    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.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

    Treating Shingles Organically Treating Shingles Naturally For Pain

    Early symptoms of shingles may include:

    Other signs and symptoms that appear a few days after the early symptoms include:

    • An itching, tingling or burning feeling in an area of your skin.
    • Redness on your skin in the affected area.
    • Raised rash in a small area of your skin.
    • Fluid-filled blisters that break open then scab over.
    • Mild to severe pain in the area of skin affected.

    You May Like: Can Stress Bring On Shingles

    Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox

    No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

    Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

    Can you get chickenpox more than once?

    Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

    Is The Zostavax Vaccine Still Being Used

    Yes. The CDC, however, recommends Zostavax for adults age 60 and older, but not routinely for people aged 50 to 59. Zostavax is given as a single-dose shot versus the two-dose shot for Shingrix. Zostavax is less effective than Shingrix in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia .

    You can consider Zostavax if you are allergic to Shingrix or if Shingrix is unavailable because of supply shortage and you want some immediate protection from a possible case of shingles and/or postherpetic neuralgia. Because its a weakened live vaccine, it may be dangerous if you have cancer, HIV, or take steroids, chemotherapy or other medications that suppress your immune system. Ask your healthcare provider if the Zostavax vaccine is an option for you.

    Don’t Miss: What Does Shingles Look And Feel Like

    How Long Will The Effects Last

    The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.

    If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.

    Shingles Vaccine And Insurance

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Don’t suffer with shingles

    Private health insurance plans often cover vaccination costs. Still, a patient might have a charge depending on the specific insurance plan.

    Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine cost.Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but there may be a cost to the patient depending on the plan. Usually, the fees are less than $50 per dose.

    Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.

    Don’t Miss: Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine

    Is There A Vaccine Against Shingles

    Shingix is currently the only shingles vaccine available in the United States. Its given to people over age 50.

    Previously, an additional vaccine, Zostavax, was used, but it was phased out in the United States as of November 2020.

    According to the CDC, two doses of Shingrix are over 90 percent effective at preventing shingles. Youll retain at least 85 percent protection for 4 years after being vaccinated.

    If you get shingles after being vaccinated, your symptoms will likely be less severe. Youll also have a lower chance of developing postherpetic neuralgia a complication where pain remains even after a shingles rash goes away.

    Shingles usually follows a pattern of development. It typically progresses with the following symptoms:

    • First, you may notice a tingling or burning sensation in your skin.
    • One to 5 days later a rash appears as small red spots.
    • Fluid-filled blisters develop a few days later.
    • After 7 to 10 days, the lesions crust over.
    • The rash disappears over the next 2 to 4 weeks.

    In some cases, pain may persist for several months or even years after the rash has disappeared. This complication, known as postherpetic neuralgia , can be severe enough to affect your quality of life.

    Certain antiseizure medications can help manage the pain. Gabapentin and pregabalin are two that are commonly used.

    Stay Away From Certain Groups Of People If You Have Shingles

    You cannot spread shingles to others. But people who have not had chickenpox before could catch chickenpox from you.

    This is because shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus.

    Try to avoid:

    • pregnant people who have not had chickenpox before
    • people with a weakened immune system like someone having chemotherapy
    • babies less than 1 month old unless you gave birth to them, as your baby should be protected from the virus by your immune system

    Don’t Miss: How Do I Treat Shingles

    How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles

    An antiviral medication can:

    • Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash

    • Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems

    One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.

    To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:

    Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:

    If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.

    You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox

    6 Foods To Avoid With Shingles: Measures To Prevent

    You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.

    But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.

    When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.

    This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.

    Don’t Miss: Does Humana Rx Plan Cover Shingles Vaccine

    What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Shingles

    Most people get shingles once, but its possible to get it again.

    If you have a healthy immune system, the blisters tend to clear in 7 to 10 days. The rash tends to go away completely within 2 to 4 weeks. The pain may last longer, but usually stops in 1 or 2 months.

    For some people, the pain will last longer than the rash. When it does, its called postherpetic neuralgia , which can come and go or be constant. PHN can last for months, years, or the rest of your life. Treatment can help reduce the amount of pain you feel.

    Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have pain. Treatment can help you feel more comfortable.

    For anyone who has a shingles rash, the right self-care can help ease your discomfort. Youll find out what dermatologists recommend at, Shingles: Self-care.

    ImageGetty Images

    ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention . About shingles. Page last reviewed 10/17/2017. Last accessed 4/1/2019.

    Dooling KL, Guo A, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018 67:103-8.

    Madkan V, Sra K, et al. Human herpes viruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008: 1204-8.

    Straus SE, Oxman MN. Varicella and herpes zoster. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1885-98.

    Popular Articles
    Related news