Shingles, that painful viral infection that affects a nerve root and leaves a nasty rash in those of us who had chicken pox. Sure, chicken pox was enough when we had it during our youth or worse, in adulthood.
What happens next is the virus, named Herpes Zoster may again offer a second round of misery after hibernating in our nervous system with a condition known as shingles. According to Wikipedia, Shingles is described this way
“Shingles, also known as zoster, herpes zoster, or zona, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters involving a limited area. Typically the rash occurs on either the left or right of the body or face in a single stripe. Two to four days before the rash occurs there may be pain or tingling in the area. Otherwise there are typically few symptoms. The rash usually heals within two to four weeks; however, some people develop ongoing nerve pain which may last for months or years, a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. In those with poor immune function the rash may occur widely. If the rash involves the eye, vision loss may occur.”
You can read more about this condition here
The public has been told that Zostavax vaccine is available that will help us avoid the condition, except for one thing; it is only about 50% effective according to the NY Times. For those who believe all vaccines are good at preventing the what if diseases, 50% is a rather poor showing for the risk/benefit of taking a vaccine that may offer a side effect of a milder case. We now know that this vaccine According to doctors who support the vaccine, people are less likely to develop chronic pain known as post herpetic neuralgia after having Shingles. We now understand that this vaccine was even less effective in people over the age of 70. Apparently, this vaccines side effects were also a problem and attorneys were now actively looking for clients for a class lawsuit. As with any vaccine, the benefits should always outweigh the risks.
There is now a newer vaccine available called Shingrix. This vaccine requires two injections 6 months apart and causes an immune response. The side effects are greater with the newer vaccine and the CDC is recommending people take this vaccination but should they? Do you decrease the risk while increasing the risks of discomfort or worse than can last 2-3 days and are there long term side effects that you will have to live with?
Getting Shingles Despite the Shingles Vaccine
By Roni Caryn Rabin
October 8, 2015 5:45 am
Q: I got the shingles shot and still got shingles. How come?
A: It’s not really surprising that you got shingles after being vaccinated. No vaccine is 100 percent effective and while childhood vaccinations get close, the shingles vaccine only cuts the risk of shingles by half for people who receive it at age 60 or older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a single dose for those 60 or older, though the vaccine is approved for use starting at age 50.
Even though the vaccine is not always effective, it still protects a lot of people, since nearly one in three adults develops shingles during their lifetime. And if you do get shingles, you may have a milder episode because you were vaccinated. A large clinical trial found that the vaccine reduces the risk of having very severe, long-lasting pain, a syndrome called postherpetic neuralgia.
“It’s these extreme, prolonged painful episodes that the vaccine works better at preventing,” said Dr. Rafael Harpaz, a medical epidemiologist in the division of viral diseases at the C.D.C. “What would motivate me to run out and get the vaccine,” he said, would be “to protect myself from being that rare person who gets 10 years of life-shattering pain.”