Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral skin infection. It commonly appears in the summer, then goes away on its own after 15- 20 days. Sometimes, it can leave scars or blackish marks on the infected skin. Shingles is not serious. But, this condition can cause painful rashes on the skin areas of mouth, neck and chest. This is really embarrassing and annoying. In fact, there is no cure for shingles. Vaccination is the most effective solution for this condition.
Shingles is a contagious skin infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Varicella-zoster virus is one type of the virus that can lead to chickenpox. In particular, after having chickenpox, varicella-zoster virus still remains in human body. Then, people have weakened immune systems because of stress, certain medicinal treatments, and injuries. This virus can occasionally be reactivated. At that time, this virus completely works as shingles.
As a result, people previously exposed to the varicella zoster virus will have more chances to get shingles. Also, the older you are, the more chances you get. So, shingles commonly occur in adults between 60 and 80 years old. But, children can also contract it.
There are many visible symptoms of shingles. At first, singles comes with a 37- 38 degrees Celsius fever, fatigue, headache, and flu. Also, this condition causes some tingles, itchiness and even pain in a particular area of your body. For example, the skin areas around stomach, mouth, face, shoulder and chest. There are also some painful rash and blisters on the infected skin areas. Shingles is contagious. So, these rashes can also be spread by skin- to- skin contact. In harder cases, the blisters may cause swelling or inflammation. This can leave some nerve sequels.
But, shingles can develop several potential complications. These are:
- Heart attack and stroke
- Post herpetic neuralgia can lead to disability and depression.
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome. This complication may lead to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, ear pain and dizziness.
- Bacterial skin infection.
- Eye involvement. Some serious rashes around eyes can lead to blindness.
- It is the inflammation of the brain.
Shingles vaccination is the most effective method for shingles
Shingles can be handled by antiviral or pain medicines, topical creams and natural remedies. But, these methods can only relieve its symptoms. Shingles can possibly come back two or more times. Thus, prevention is always necessary.
Many experts believe vaccination is really effective for shingles. Vaccination can reduce shingles risk by more than half. Also, it cuts the risk of further complication known as post herpetic neuralgia by two-thirds.
Who should get shingles vaccine?
Anybody who has had the chicken pox vaccine or chicken pox can develop shingles. The risk of shingles and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) raise as you get older. In fact, the possibility increases dramatically after age 50. And, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sufferers to get vaccinated at the age of 60 or older. Shingles vaccine lasts about 5 years. Thus, if you get vaccinated before 60, the vaccine may not work for your condition.
Who should not get shingles vaccine?
Commonly, shingles vaccination is not recommended for people who:
- Have ever had a serious allergic reaction to antibiotic neomycin, gelatin and any other ingredients of shingles vaccine.
- Have a pregnancy. Women should not get pregnant until after 4- week vaccination.
- Have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, HIV/AIDS …
Types of shingles vaccination
Zostavax is currently the only vaccine for shingles. It has been available for use in the United States since 2006. Zostavax reduces the risk of shingles by 51 percent. This vaccine also cuts the chance of having PHN by 67 percent. Even if you get shingles after vaccination, Zostavax can relieve its severe symptoms soon.
Side effects of shingles vaccination
Like any medicines, shingles can have some small side effects. But, it causes no serious harm or death. These side effects are:
- Headache (1.5%)
- Soreness, itchiness, swelling, or redness at the injected site (33.3%)
How to prevent shingles?
Maintain good personal hygiene.
Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox or shingles.
Shingles is contagious through skin contact. So, if you get shingles, do not contact others until after your condition is completely healed.
Shingles generally lasts between two and six weeks. Then, it goes away on its own. Most people catch shingles only once. But, it can possibly come back two or more times. Even if you get vaccinated, you may have chances for this condition. Shingles vaccine can reduce the risk of shingle and further complications by more than 50%. But, it sometimes depends on each person. People at the age of 60 or older, yet, need to have shingles vaccination. Since it is the most effective method to deal with this condition.