Shingles Vaccine for Herpes Zoster Prevention in Raleigh, NC
Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is an uncomfortable condition which is estimated to affect 1 in 3 people. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. In fact, shingles could even be considered a recurrence of chickenpox in that it is a reactivation of the same virus; however, a previous case of chickenpox is not required in order to develop shingles. Varicella-zoster never goes away; it infects neurons in the nervous system and lies dormant. If the virus re-emerges or emerges for the first time in an adult, it manifests as shingles. Common shingles symptoms include:
- Painful rash and blisters on one side of the body
- Flu-like symptoms
- Pain from inflamed neurons (if the pain doesn’t recede and is chronic, a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) persists)
The risk of developing shingles is far greater in adults who have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, and risk also sharply increases with age. In fact, over 50 percent of shingles cases occur in people aged 60 or older. A compromised or stressed immune system also increases the risk of acquiring shingles. Luckily, there is a shingles vaccine which can help to prevent herpes zoster from manifesting called the Zostavax® vaccine. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Raleigh that can administer the Zostavax® vaccine, call (919) 301-0841 or contact Family Wellness Clinic & Regenesis MD online.
The Zostavax® Vaccine
Zostavax® is an FDA-approved vaccine designated for people aged 50 and older to help reduce the risk of developing shingles. Studies have shown it can reduce shingles infection by 51 percent, and PHN by 67 percent. This herpes zoster vaccine can offer 5 years of protection, and even after an initial infection, booster doses of the vaccine can help to prevent recurrences and reduce the likelihood of developing PHN. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 60 receive the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they have ever previously had chickenpox.
The Zostavax® vaccine helps protect your immune system from developing the shingles virus. It contains a weakened varicella-zoster virus so that your immune system produces antibodies against the virus. The shingles vaccine is available by prescription as a single dose, and is injected under the skin. There is minimal pain associated with the injection; however, discomfort in the days following your vaccination is common.
Zostavax® Vaccine Safety Information
Like any vaccine, there are associated risks including redness, itching and swelling at the injection site. Headaches can also occur, as well as a small chicken pox like rash, which should remain covered if it occurs. If you have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the vaccine such as gelatin or neomycin, you should not receive the vaccination. If you have allergies, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before receiving the shingles vaccine, to prevent any adverse reactions.
There are some people who should not be given the vaccine, including anyone with a severely compromised immune system. Pregnant women should also avoid the vaccine, and women should avoid conceiving until at least 4 weeks after vaccine administration. Make sure to inform your healthcare provider if you will be around any infants, expectant mothers or those with a compromised immune system in the weeks that follow your Zostavax® vaccine administration. Since the vaccine contains a weakened chickenpox virus, it is important to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Shingles, unfortunately, is a latent virus, so to prevent it from rearing its painful effects, consider vaccination. Treatment with an antiviral once you have shingles is an option, but PHN is a risk if shingles becomes activated, and chronic pain is a life-long sentence. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Raleigh that can provide you with additional shingles vaccine information, call (919) 301-0841 or contact Family Wellness Clinic & Regenesis MD online.
Family Wellness Clinic & Regenesis MD
Address8020 Creedmoor Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27613