Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters. It is also called Herpes Zoster. A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Its main symptom is pain, which can be quite severe. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. Very rarely, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death.
| For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up.
This is called post-herpetic neuralgia.|
Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Only someone who has had a case of chickenpox – or gotten chicken- pox vaccine – can get shingles. The virus stays in your body. It can reappear many years later to cause a case of shingles.
You can’t catch shingles from another person with shingles. However, a person who has never had chickenpox (or chickenpox vaccine) could get chickenpox from someone with shingles. This is not very common. Shingles is far more common in people 50 and older than in younger people. It is also more common in people whose immune systems are weakened because of a disease such as cancer, or drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles.
2. A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006. In clinical trials, the vaccine prevented shingles in about half of people 60 years of age and older. It can also reduce the pain associated with shingles.
A single dose of shingles vaccine is indicated for adults 60 years of age and older.
4. What are the risks from shingles vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. However, the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
No serious problems have been identified with shingles vaccine.
5. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?
What should I look for?
Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness. These usually occur within the first few hours after vaccination.
What should I do?
6. How can I learn more?
VAERS does not provide medical advice. department of health and human services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Shingles Vaccine (9/11/06) Vaccine Information Statement (Interim)