Now that shingles is a vaccine-preventable disease, we hopefully won’t have as many people getting shingles.
Unfortunately, shingles isn’t yet vaccine-preventable for everyone, as you have to be at least 50 years old to get the Shingrix vaccine.
What to Do if You Have Shingles?
So what do you do if you have shingles, a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which also causes chicken pox?
“If you have shingles, direct contact with the fluid from your rash blisters can spread VZV to people who have never had chickenpox or never received the chickenpox vaccine. If they get infected, they will develop chickenpox, not shingles. They could then develop shingles later in life.”Shingles Transmission
The first thing you should do is cover your shingles rash and avoid touching it, which can help reduce your risk of spreading it to others. And avoid anyone who is still susceptible to chickenpox, especially newborns and infants who are too young to be vaccinated (the first dose of chickenpox vaccine is typically given when kids are 12 months old), and toddlers/preschoolers who are too young to be fully vaccinated (the second dose of chickenpox vaccine is typically given when kids are 4 to 6 years old), and anyone with a weakened immune system.
Next, talk to your health care provider about treatment, which might include an antiviral medication, like acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir, and a pain reliever if necessary.
Symptomatic treatments can also be helpful to relieve itching, including wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths.
“Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and fully clears up within 2 to 4 weeks.”Shingles Signs & Symptoms
While it may take a little longer before the rash clears up, you are no longer contagious once the blisters crust.
“The most common complication of shingles is long-term nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).”Complications of Shingles
And you should talk to your health care provider if you have any complications or persistent symptoms, like pain where the shingles rash was.
Lastly, if you have recovered from shingles and are at least 50 years old, talk to your health care provider about getting the Shingrix vaccine. After all, you don’t want to get shingles again, do you?
“Shingrix provides strong protection against herpes zoster and PHN. Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing herpes zoster and PHN. Protection stays above 85% for at least the first four years after vaccination.”Shingles Clinical Overview
And yes, you can get the Shingrix vaccine if you have had shingles before!
More on Shingles
- 5 Reasons to Get a Shingles Vaccine
- Can the Shingles Vaccine Cause Shingles?
- What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Shingles
- Does the Chicken Pox Vaccine Protect You from Shingles?
- Can You Still Get Shingles After Having the Chicken Pox Vaccine?
- Is the Chicken Pox Vaccine Creating a Shingles Epidemic?
- 10 Myths About Chicken Pox and the Chicken Pox Vaccine
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- How Do You Get Shingles?
- Chickenpox Vaccine and Shingles Risk
- CDC – Shingles for Healthcare Professionals
- CDC – Shingles Clinical Overview
- IAC – Shingles Vaccines
- CDC – Shingles Transmission
- CDC – Shingles Signs & Symptoms
- CDC – Complications of Shingles
- Should I Get the New Shingles Vaccine?
- Herpes zoster
- The Burden of Shingles
- The Scariest Reason To Get The Shingles Vaccine
- The impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on quality-of-life