Shingles or herpes zoster is a disease characterize by painful rashes with blisters usually at the chest. It is the reborn of the chicken pox virus, which most people are exposed to during childhood and usually dormant among adults. When the immune system weakens, the varicella-zoster virus reactivates and spreads at the nerve fibers of the skin. The most common problem that shingles patients complained about is the agonizing pain. People who are immuno compromised are more prone to the illness.
Up to now, there are no available measures yet that could totally prevent the disease. The vaccine, which was developed in 2006, only reduces by fifty percent the risk of developing herpes zoster and the seriousness of its pain. One dose of shingles vaccine was recommended for each adult, age ranging from 60 and older, whether they had the disease or not, because the age is the number one risk factor of herpes zoster. The vaccine was already proven with few side effects. The most common shingle vaccine side effects are confined at the injection site, which usually the upper arm. This includes tenderness, swelling, pain, itching, and redness at the injection site.
The patient may also experience muscle pain, headache, runny nose, fever, diarrhea, and respiratory infection like colds. These are just minor shingle vaccine side effects and can easily be treated. However, the vaccine may also cause adverse effects like heart problems and severe allergic reactions. If this occurred, you have to consult with your physician immediately. Shingles vaccine is not prescribed to a person who has allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine like gelatine and neomycin, presently receiving immune-suppressing drugs, a chemotherapy patient, pregnant or trying to become pregnant women, and a tuberculosis patient.
Shingles is not a life threatening diseases. However, some people who suffered shingles developed permanent nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia. Accordingly, it is caused by the severity of the painful rash. Some patients may also have shingles like rashes for more than a month after receiving the vaccine. Doctors prescribed medications like painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. There are also some over the counter remedies for itching like Vitamin E oil or gel.
There are only few shingles vaccine side effects but why there are also few adults that were vaccinated? Up to date, there still a small population of Americans ages 60 and above who actually received the vaccine. Health practitioners sited possible reasons of this. It can be because there are only few who are aware that there is a vaccine available, majority are not concerned of the disease itself or doesn’t know the extent of the disease until they have it, and lastly because the vaccine costs too much. One adult will have to pay about $100 to $195 for one dose of this vaccine, far more expensive than any vaccines for highly contagious diseases. Until now, health insurance companies in the United States are still contemplating if they can afford to cover the vaccine.