Shingles Vaccine? Should You?

Shingles vaccine can reduce your risk of developing Shingles or Herpes Zoster.  This is a disease that is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus. Outbreaks cause a painful blistering rash that can last for several weeks and be very miserable.

Worldwide the incidence of shingles is 1.2-3.4 cases per 1,000 people per year. In people over the age of 65 that goes up to 3.9-11.8 persons per 1,000 people per year.






Will you develop shingles? There is no way to know.

Shingles will most commonly occur on one side of your trunk, back, or flank.

However, it can also break out on your face and extend into the mucous membranes of your mouth or nose.Outbreaks are even more serious when they involve your eye.

Burning, Itching, Tingling, Stinging

The symptoms of shingles most often start with burning, itching, tingling, stinging pain that begins without any understandable cause.

The pain and discomfort can vary from mild and annoying to severe and crippling. 

Blistering Rash

After a few days to a few weeks a blistering rash will appear and the burning, itching pain will continue. 

Outbreak of Shingles Day 4

Image thanks to Yesyouisnot via Wikimedia Commons


Nerve Pain??

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The blisters will eventually dry up and heal but severe cases can often leave permanent scarring of the skin. A shingles outbreak will most commonly last for 3-5 weeks but severe cases can last much longer. 

Risk of Shingles Complications and more Severe Symptoms

When you have an episode of shingles there is also a risk of complications such as infection or post herpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is nerve damage that occurs following a shingles outbreak. It can cause neuropathic nerve pain that is severe and can last for several months or in rare cases even longer. 

Shingles can cause severe and devastating symptoms that may last for months.

Shingles Vaccine

In recent years scientists have developed a vaccine that can reduce your risk of  shingles.

Clinical trials have shown that it lowers your risk of developing shingles by 50% and reduces your risk of developing post herpetic neuralgia by 67%. 

Recommended by the CDC

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that everyone over the age of 60 get the shingles vaccine and it is approved by the FDA for anyone over the age of 50. 

The Vaccine is not recommended for people
with weakened immune systems such as:

     • People with HIV/AIDS

     • People taking steroid medications such as prednisone

     • People being treated for cancer with chemotherapy or radiation

     • People with severe allergies to glycerin or other ingredients

Shingles Vaccine Poses Little Risk for Healthy People

There is little risk for healthy people when getting the vaccine. The most common side effects include tenderness pain and swelling at the injection site and possible headache. 

Not Foolproof

There is a chance that even after receiving the shingles vaccination you will still experience an episode of shingles and possibly post herpetic neuralgia.

However, after the vaccination they will likely be less severe and not last as long as they would have without the vaccine. 

You can read more about the shingles vaccine at the U.S. government website Center for Disease Control.



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