Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Why Do You Get The Shingles

Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

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

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.

When To Seek Medical Advice

Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.

You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.

How Can I Take Care Of Myself

  • Take a pain-relief medicine such as acetaminophen. Take other medicine as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Put cool, moist washcloths on the rash.
  • Rest in bed during the early stages if you have fever and other symptoms.
  • Try not to let clothing or bed linens rub against the rash and irritate it.
  • You develop worsening pain or fever.
  • You develop a severe headache, stiff neck, hearing loss, or changes in your ability to think.
  • The blisters show signs of bacterial infection, such as increasing pain or redness, or milky yellow drainage from the blister sites.
  • The blisters are close to the eyes or you have pain in your eyes or trouble seeing.
  • You have trouble walking.

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Who Should Not Get Shingrix

You should not get Shingrix if you:

  • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
  • Currently have shingles.
  • Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.

If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.

Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles

Treating Shingles Organically Treating Shingles Naturally For Pain

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.

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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.

What’s The Difference Between Chickenpox And Shingles

Chickenpox and shingles are two infectious diseases that are often confused with one another. Thats because theyre caused by the same virus, called varicella-zoster.

Varicella is a highly contagious virus that spreads through coughing and sneezing, or through direct contact with an infected skin lesion. It commonly spreads in schools, due to the high volume of students potentially in close contact. Adults can get infected with varicella, too, and these cases tend to be more serious than in those of healthy children.

Vaccinating against chickenpox is very common in the U.S. Theres also a vaccine available for shingles for people who are 50 and older.

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Why Young Adults Can Develop Shingles

Shingles can develop in anyone whos had chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, VZV remains dormant within nerve cells in your body.

In some cases, VZV is triggered to reactivate. When this happens, the virus begins to replicate again and move along the affected nerves. When it reaches your skin, the characteristic shingles rash develops.

What causes VZV to reactivate is unknown. However, reactivation is associated with a weakened immune system.

A weakened immune system can occur due to age. But in younger adults, the immune system can be compromised by acute or chronic illness or extreme stress.

People who are immunocompromised have a higher risk of developing shingles regardless of age.

What Problems Can Happen

How to treat shingles

Most cases of shingles heal on their own, with or without treatment, and won’t lead to any other problems. In rare cases, shingles can lead to complications, including:

  • Ongoing pain : Damaged nerve fibers in the skin send confused messages to the brain, leading to pain. Pain can go on for a long time after the shingles rash is gone. This is the most common shingles complication.
  • Vision problems: Shingles near or in an eye can lead to vision loss.
  • Skin infections: A shingles rash can become infected with bacteria, leading to impetigo or cellulitis.
  • Nervous system problems: Shingles on the face can involve different nerves that connect to the brain. This can lead to nerve-related problems such as facial paralysis, hearing problems, and problems with balance. In very rare cases, shingles can lead to encephalitis .

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When Should I Seek Emergency Care For A Shingles Rash

While most cases of shingles are mild, several potential complications may require emergent care:

  • Facial rash. A shingles rash on the face is concerning because eye involvement can lead to blindness. This requires an urgent assessment from an ophthalmologist.
  • Loss of hearing or facial movement. Rarely, shingles can lead to hearing loss or facial nerve paralysis.
  • Disseminated herpes zoster. This widespread shingles rash can also affect your organs. It requires hospitalization with intravenous antiviral treatment.
  • Fever. Shingles in addition to fever can be concerning. It may mean you have a superimposed bacterial infection, which could require antibiotics and close observation.
  • Confusion or seizures. Shingles in addition to confusion or seizures could indicate brain inflammation, which requires hospitalization for IV antiviral treatment and close monitoring.

Dr. Megan Soliman is an ABMS board certified internal medicine physician whose main focus in her clinical practice is patient advocacy. Her research interests include adverse effects of medications and herbal supplements. Soliman is enthusiastic about bread and butter medicine, which includes treating patients with the most common diseases. She also has a passion for reaching underserved communities, including both U.S. and international rural communities.

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.

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Stages Of Chickenpox And Shingles

The progress of each disease can be marked through stages. Some stages will last longer for some, depending on your age, immune system, and other factors.

Stages of chickenpox

The main stages in chickenpox are:

  • Exposure to the virus: It takes 10 to 21 days after exposure for symptoms to start.
  • Initial symptoms: Feeling unwell, body aches, fever, and headache are usually the first symptoms to set in.
  • Small red bumps on the body: These usually develop on the torso or face first, eventually covering the body.
  • Bumps develop into blisters: The itchy lesions will fill with fluid and become blisters.
  • Blisters scab over and heal: After all your blisters scab over, youre no longer contagious.
  • Stages of shingles

  • Feeling unwell: You might develop fever, headaches, or body aches before developing the rash.
  • Tingling pain: Its common to feel tingles, pain, or itchiness in the area the rash will develop.
  • Burning rash: Anywhere from 1 to 5 days after the tingling started, the rash will start to develop.
  • Blisters: The rash will start to blister and then crust over.
  • You may still feel mild or extreme pain after the rash is gone, due to a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia . You can develop shingles more than once, but it is rare.

    What Are The Side Effects

    Do you suffer from Postherpetic Neuralgia after having Shingles ...

    The shingles vaccines are very safe.

    Common side effects to the vaccines include headache as well as soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. Itching and a rash may also occur after getting Zostavax® II. Other reactions that may occur after getting Shingrix® include fever, muscle soreness, fatigue, shivering, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue, or lips. The chance of true anaphylaxis is about 1 in 1 million vaccine doses. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Learn more about anaphylaxis on our vaccine side effects page.

    It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.

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    How Well Does Shingrix Work

    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.

    Treatments For Chickenpox And Shingles

    There are vaccines available for both shingles and chickenpox. Today, theyre widely used in the U.S. and around the world.

    Shingrix is a vaccination for shingles thats recommended for healthy adults over the age of 50. Varicella is the vaccine used for chickenpox. Its usually administered to children between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and then again between 4 and 6 years old.

    A cool bath infused with baking soda, oatmeal, or colloidal oatmeal may help soothe the skin lesions caused by chickenpox and shingles. Applying calamine lotion can also help calm the skin and reduce itchiness.

    Resist scratching your skin while you have chickenpox or shingles, because it can leave the wounds open to infection and cause scars on your skin.

    Aspirin is not recommended for pain relief when you have chickenpox. Its use has been associated with Reyes syndrome in children who have chickenpox. Reyes syndrome is a serious disease that affects the brain and liver.

    If you have shingles, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to ease symptoms and speed healing. These medicines are most effective when taken as soon as the rash develops:

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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.

    Why Can’t You Get The Shingles Vaccine Before 50

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  • Why Can’t You Get the Shingles Vaccine Before 50? Topic Guide
  • Shingles is a painful belt-like patterned rash caused by varicella-zoster virus . Shingles is more common in adults over 50 years of age and in people with conditions that weaken the immune system.

    The varicella-zoster virus is a type of herpesvirus. Other herpesviruses include the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores and genital herpes.

    The shingles vaccine is available for adults 50 years and older to reduce the chance of developing shingles. Shingrix requires two doses administered two to six months apart. The two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Protection from the Shingrix shingles vaccine stays above 85% for at least four years after vaccination.

    The Shingrix shingles vaccine is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people under 50 years of age. However, adults 19 years and older with weakened immune systems may also get two doses of shingles vaccine, due to a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

    The vaccine has only been tested in adults 50 years and older and The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices , a committee that is part of the Centers for Disease Control , does not recommend zoster vaccination for people younger than age 50 years regardless of their history of shingles.

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    I’m Pregnant And Have Recently Been Exposed To Someone With Chickenpox How Will This Exposure Affect Me Or My Pregnancy

    • Susceptible pregnant women are at risk for associated complications when they contract varicella. Varicella infection causes severe illness in pregnant women, and 10%-20% of those infected develop varicella pneumonia, with mortality reported as high as 40%.
    • Because of these risks, pregnant women without evidence of immunity to varicella who have been exposed to the virus may be given varicella-zoster immune globulin to reduce their risk of disease complications.
    • If you are pregnant and have never had chickenpox, and you get chickenpox during the:
      • First half of your pregnancy, there is a very slight risk for birth defects or miscarriage.
      • Second half of your pregnancy, the baby may have infection without having any symptoms and then get shingles later in life.
    • Newborns whose mothers develop varicella rash from 5 days before to 2 days after delivery are at risk for neonatal varicella, associated with mortality as high as 30%. These infants should receive preventive treatment with varicella-zoster immune globulin .

    How Often Do You Need The Shingles Vaccine

    Two doses of RZV are required. Once you take the first dose, your physician will call you for the second dose after 2 to 6 months. The vaccine is an injection and will be injected intramuscularly into your shoulder. You must take two doses even if you have received the varicella vaccine or Zostavax , or have had chickenpox before.

    If you have weakened immunity, you are at risk for shingles at younger ages. Your physician may give you the second dose of shingles vaccine a month after the first dose to build your protection faster. They may also do this if you are going to be immune-suppressed because of chemotherapy or an organ transplant.

    The earlier vaccine, Zostavax, was a live virus vaccine, and you only needed one dose. That vaccine has not been available in the USA since November 2020.

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    Can Shingles Be Prevented

    There are 2 vaccines available to reduce the likelihood of developing shingles, Zostavax and Shingrix. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60 and is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79.

    Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. The vaccine used to protect against shingles is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.

    What Causes Shingles

    What Causes a Shingles Outbreak

    A virus causes shingles. Its the same virus that causes chickenpox.

    In fact, to get shingles, you must have the chickenpox virus inside your body. Anyone who has had chickenpox has this virus. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus moves to nerves inside your body, where it goes to sleep. You will always have the virus inside your body. If the virus wakes up, you get shingles.

    Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot get shingles because they dont remember having chickenpox. If you were born in the United States before 1980, you likely had chickenpox.

    More than 99% of people born in the United States before 1980 have had it, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .3 Many people simply dont remember having chickenpox. They may have been too young to remember or had a very mild case.

    Same virus, different names
    • Varicella-zoster virus

    • Human herpesvirus 3

    Both names are correct. Despite the word herpesvirus in one of these names, this virus cannot cause genital herpes or cold sores.

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    How Does It Occur

    If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.

    What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.

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