Shingles is a painful condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. It can cause a painful rash on one side of the body, leading to serious complications like postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and hospitalization. Fortunately, there is a shingles vaccine that can help prevent this condition. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of the shingles vaccine and why getting vaccinated is important.
What is the Shingles Vaccine?
The shingles vaccine, also known as the herpes zoster vaccine, is a vaccine that helps protect against shingles. It is made from a weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus and is given as a shot in the upper arm.
The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies can help prevent the virus from reactivating and causing shingles.
Who Should Get the Vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults aged 50 and older get the shingles vaccine. The vaccine is also recommended for people who have had shingles before, as it can help prevent recurrent episodes of the condition.
The vaccine is generally safe and effective, but it may not be suitable for everyone. People with certain medical conditions or who are allergic to any of the vaccine’s components should consult with their healthcare provider before getting vaccinated.
Benefits of Getting the Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccine has several benefits, including:
Prevention of Shingles and Related Complications
The shingles vaccine can help prevent shingles and reduce the risk of developing serious complications like PHN. PHN is a painful condition that can last for months or even years after the shingles rash has healed. Vaccination can lower your risk of developing this condition and help you avoid hospitalization due to shingles.
Boosting the Immune System
The vaccine can also help boost the immune system and better equip it to fight the virus. This can help prevent the virus from reactivating and causing shingles in the future.
Protection Against Recurrent Episodes of Shingles
People who have had shingles before are at risk of developing recurrent episodes of the condition. The vaccine can help prevent these episodes by boosting the immune system‘s ability to fight off the virus.
While the vaccine would protect the user against further bouts of Shingles, a topical ointment such as EMUAIDMAX® First Aid Ointment 2oz comes highly recommended for symptomatic relief in the meantime.
How Effective is the Shingles Vaccine?
The shingles vaccine is highly effective at preventing shingles and related complications. Clinical studies have shown that the vaccine can reduce the risk of shingles by up to 90%. The vaccine also reduces the risk of PHN by up to 67%.
The vaccine protects for several years but may not provide lifelong immunity. People who have been vaccinated should still be vigilant for any signs of shingles and should consult with their healthcare provider if they develop any symptoms.
Possible Side Effects of the Vaccine
The shingles vaccine is generally safe, but it can cause side effects like all vaccines. The most common side effects include soreness at the injection site, headache, and fatigue. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Less common side effects include fever and a rash at the injection site. These side effects are also usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
What to Expect During and After Getting the Shingles Vaccine
Before getting the shingles vaccine, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have and any medications you are taking. You should also let them know if you have had any previous allergic reactions to vaccines.
The vaccine is administered as a shot in the upper arm. The injection site may be sore for a few days after the vaccine is given, and you may experience mild side effects like headache or fatigue. These side effects usually go away on their own within a few days.
It’s important to note that the vaccine may not start working immediately. It can take a few weeks for the immune system to produce enough antibodies to provide protection against the virus. During this time, it’s still possible to develop shingles.
Getting vaccinated against shingles is an important step in protecting yourself against this painful condition. The shingles vaccine can help prevent shingles and related complications, boost the immune system, and protect against recurrent episodes of the condition. It’s highly effective and generally safe, with only mild side effects. If you’re over the age of 50, talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated against shingles. It’s a simple and effective way to protect your health and avoid the pain and discomfort of shingles.