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How Often Can You Get Shingles Vaccine
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Shingles Vaccine And Virus: What You Need To Know
This article was reviewed by Scott Kaiser, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician and geriatrician at Providence St. John’s Health Center.
Our stories are vetted by medical professionals to ensure you get the most accurate and helpful information about your health and wellness. For more information, please visit our Medical Board.
Shingles is a painful rash that affects about a third of Americans during their lifetime, mostly adults over the age of 50. Although most people only get shingles once, you may get two or even three.
Here’s what you need to know about getting shingles multiple times and how to prevent outbreaks.
Shingrix Shingles Vaccine: Side Effects, Shortages, Age And More
Shingles, also called shingles, is a disease caused by the same virus as chickenpox. About 350,000 Americans get chickenpox each year, which causes an itchy rash that lasts about a week. But even after the symptoms stop, the virus does not leave your body.
Most viruses are killed by your immune system, but the chickenpox virus lies dormant in your nerve roots, which transmit pain and itching to your skin. When the virus is dormant, you don’t experience any symptoms because your immune system prevents the germs from multiplying.
But your immune system tends to weaken as you age. Like a broken dam, this weakened defense system allows a flood of viral microbes to enter your system, causing the virus to travel from the nerve roots to the skin, eventually leading to a shingles outbreak.
Most people only have one outbreak of shingles in their lifetime, but “in rare cases, it can reactivate and cause another outbreak of shingles,” says Amesh A. Adalya, MD, an infectious disease physician and senior scientist at the John Said Center for Medicine. Health Dr. Hopkins Safety.
Can You Get Shingles If You Never Had Chickenpox? Here’s What You Need To Know
A second or third outbreak of shingles works the same way as the first – the virus reactivates and spreads to your skin. However, experts do not know exactly what causes the inactivation and reactivation of the virus.
A 2011 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that about 5 percent of more than 1,600 people with shingles experienced a second outbreak. A third outbreak of shingles can occur, but this is rare.
Remember that if you’ve had shingles before, you can’t get it again from someone who has shingles or chicken pox. The only way to get multiple bouts of shingles is to reactivate the dormant virus in your body.
Experts don’t know exactly what causes the shingles virus to reactivate, but it could be related to a weakened immune system, Adalja said. Some factors that can weaken your immune system and cause a shingles flare-up include:
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If you have a second outbreak of shingles, treatment will be the same as for the original case, Adalya says.
To treat shingles, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir. These medications do not cure shingles, but they can help relieve symptoms.
The best way to avoid a first or second outbreak of shingles is to get the shingles shot.
The latest Shingrix vaccine prevents 85 to 90 percent of shingles and complications such as postherpetic neuralgia. You will need 2 doses 2 to 6 months apart.
Is Shingles Contagious? How Does Shingles Spread?
If you have had shingles in the past, or if you are over 50 and have had chicken pox in the past, it is important to get the Shingrix vaccine to prevent future outbreaks.
A second or third outbreak of shingles is relatively rare, but it can happen, especially if you are in a high-risk group.
If you are concerned that you are at risk for shingles, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated to protect yourself.
Madeline Kennedy is a health writer covering a wide range of topics including reproductive and sexual health, mental health, nutrition and infectious diseases. Before joining the company, Madeleine worked as a health news writer and domestic violence therapist at Reuters. She holds a master’s degree in social work from UPenn and is interested in the intersection of health and social justice. Herpes zoster, or shingles, is a disease characterized by a painful, sometimes blistering, rash on limited areas of the body. This can happen to people who have had chickenpox in the past. When a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus that causes chickenpox remains inactive in the body. Sometimes the virus is inactive forever, but sometimes it reactivates to cause shingles. Most people with shingles recover completely, but it can cause lingering pain even after the rash clears. This chronic pain condition is called postherpetic neuralgia and can have a serious impact on quality of life. The older you get shingles, the more likely you are to develop postherpetic neuralgia. In some cases, shingles can be treated with pain relievers and antiviral drugs. Shingles and postherpetic neuralgia can be prevented by vaccination.
U Of T Expert On The Importance Of Getting Shingles Vaccine If You’re 50 And Older
The shingles vaccine has been available in the United States since the approval of the live shingles vaccine in 2006. Since then, the vaccine has been recommended for all adults age 60 and older and approved for adults age 50 and older. The vaccine reduces the risk of shingles in adults age 60 and older by about 50 percent and reduces the risk of postherpetic neuralgia by about 67 percent. Because it is a live vaccine, it should not be given to people with weakened immune systems (such as those receiving chemotherapy or other strong immunosuppressive drugs).
In October 2017, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued guidelines for the use of a new shingles vaccine called recombinant shingles vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for adults age 50 and older. According to current evidence, the recombinant shingles vaccine is more effective than older vaccines, reducing the risk of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia by about 90% in adults age 50 and older. It is not a live vaccine and should be safer for people with weakened immune systems than older vaccines, but these data have not yet been published. So far, there are no published data on the effectiveness of the new vaccines in people with weakened immune systems. The recombinant shingles vaccine consists of a series of 2 doses given 2 to 6 months apart.
All adults over the age of 50 should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they remember having chickenpox or have had the chickenpox vaccine. If the blood test shows that you have not had chicken pox, you should get the chicken pox vaccine instead of shingles. However, it is not necessary to have a blood test for past chickenpox infection before the shingles vaccine. Even if you have had shingles before, you should get the shingles vaccine to prevent re-infection.
ACIP recommends that American adults age 50 and older who have received the older live shingles vaccine also receive the new recombinant shingles vaccine. The new recombinant vaccine is better than the old live vaccine for adults age 50 and older who have not received the shingles vaccine. This vaccine may be charged out of pocket. If you’ve ever had chicken pox in your life, you need to watch for symptoms of shingles.
Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine? Benefits Vs. Risks
When you get chickenpox, the virus that causes it remains in the nerve cells near your spine, but becomes inactive. But when the virus becomes active again, shingles can develop.
Most people who get chickenpox before the age of 40 are at risk of developing shingles, which can sometimes occur without any known triggers.
Shingles can occur at any age, but is most common in people over 50. Fortunately, most people only get shingles once.
The first signs of shingles are usually burning, tingling, or tenderness in an area of skin, followed by a red rash and fluid-filled blisters a few days later. The blisters slowly dry up, forming a crust that then heals.
How Long Does The Shingles Vaccine Last?
Symptoms of shingles can look like chicken pox. However, while it is usually more painful and less itchy than chicken pox, some people feel no pain, while others may experience pain but no physical discomfort.
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