Should I take the Shingles Vaccine?

November 12, 2012

Should I take the Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, it is called varicella – zoster virus and the reason that this occurs is that after a child has chicken pox the virus doesn’t leave the body, it just lies dormant until a trigger revitalises it and it manifests itself in the adult body as shingles. The actual trigger for shingles can be unknown but emotional stress or a compromised immune system both make it more likely to happen. The symptoms associated with shingles includes a sore red rash, blisters which go through phases from moist and contagious to dry and crusty and the contagious stage has passed. It can also cause severe nerve pain which will remain for up to one month. A shingles vaccine is now available and although some doctors will give it at age 50 the CDC recommends people over 60 being vaccinated. The shingles vaccine works in the same manner as many other vaccinations. It is a weakened strain of the varicella – zoster virus and it is simply injected into the upper arm. There can be some side effects but they are normally very mild and in most people it is only a slight reddening of the injection site. There are limitations to the shingles vaccine, because it has been newly developed no one know how long it is effective for. And although it is called a shingles vaccine it does not protect from shingles completely, although anyone vaccinated would expect to have a far milder form of shingles and recovery would be faster than an unvaccinated person. If you are wondering if the shingles vaccine is for you then the medical professionals recommend that if you have any of the following then you should avoid it; weakened immune system caused by HIV or cancer treatments, are allergic to gelatine or other substances in the vaccine or are allergic to the antibiotic neomycin. You should also avoid it if you are pregnant or have a history of cancers which affect the lymphatic system or bone marrow or have active tuberculosis. It is also recommended that all over 60’s should get it and the safety of the vaccine makes the minor side effects far more preferable than a case of full blown shingles which will cause the individual to be ill for up to one month and can leave the patient suffering from pain and side effects for a long time after.


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