If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from the Shingles condition, you may be wondering what the best treatment is. Thankfully, there is now a vaccine available that can help reduce your risk of getting shingles.
In this article, we will cover more about the zoster vaccine. We will answer some common questions about the vaccine and tell you whether it is the best treatment for the Shingles rash.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in an inactive (dormant) state. For unknown reasons, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles. Most people with shingles are older than 50 years of age.
However, anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, and certain blood disorders, are at increased risk for developing shingles.
How does the Shingles infection begin?
Shingles typically start with pain, itching, or tingling in one particular area of the face or body. Within a few days, a rash of fluid-filled blisters develops. The blisters eventually crust over and scab. The rash usually lasts about two to four weeks. In some people, the pain associated with shingles can last for months or even years after the rash has healed. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN is more common in older adults.
Shingles can be a very painful condition. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help relieve the pain and other symptoms. In addition, there is now a vaccine available that can help prevent shingles.
What is the zoster vaccine?
The zoster vaccine is a vaccine that is used to help prevent shingles. It is made from a live virus, which allows the body to build up immunity to the virus. The zoster vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose being given after two to six weeks.
How does the zoster vaccine work?
The zoster vaccine works by helping the body build immunity to the virus. The vaccine allows the body to create antibodies and proteins that fight off infections. When exposed to the virus, these antibodies will help protect you from getting sick.
Who should get the zoster vaccine?
The zoster vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of 50. It is also recommended for people who have weakened immune systems, such as those who are pregnant or have HIV/AIDS.
Is the zoster vaccine effective?
Yes, the zoster vaccine is effective. The zoster vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing shingles in clinical trials. Additionally, the zoster vaccine has been shown to reduce the severity of shingles symptoms in people who get the disease.
What are the side effects of the zoster vaccine?
The zoster vaccine is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are mild and include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Serious side effects are rare but can have allergic reactions.
What type of zoster vaccines are available?
There are two types of zoster vaccines available:
This is a single-dose vaccine given as an injection. It is recommended that people 60 years of age or older should get this vaccine.
This is a two-dose vaccine given as an injection. Shingrix is recommended for adults aged 50 and older to prevent shingles and related complications, whether they’ve already had shingles or not.
What other alternative treatments can I get to tackle Shingles?
Some other treatments can help ease your symptoms, given you are not keen on taking the zoster vaccine. It is essential to know that these alternatives alleviate the pain and discomfort of Shingles. However, that certainly does not guarantee that your Shingles condition will disappear.
- Antiviral medications
These can help shorten the duration of the illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.
- Pain relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help ease pain and inflammation.
These can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Calamine lotion or ointments
This over-the-counter medication can help soothe the itchiness and pain associated with shingles.
- Cold compress
Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help ease pain and swelling.
Other alternative treatments exist to help ease your symptoms, but the zoster vaccine is the best treatment for the shingles condition. It is safe, effective, and has fewer side effects. If you are over the age of 50 or have a weakened immune system, you should talk to your doctor about getting the zoster vaccine as soon as possible.