There has been much debate about whether the shingles vaccine is as effective as it is thought to be. Learn about the pros and cons of using this vaccine, and if it is safe to be administered to patients…
There’s been a confusion between shingles and chickenpox being slightly similar in the way the two break out over one’s skin. The difference between the two is that shingles is a painful rash that erupts along a certain nerve line in one part of the body, usually along the spine. It sometimes forms a cavalcade of rash eruptions that travel from one part of the body to the other in a grouped fashion. As the disease progresses, blisters and rashes are then evident like in the case of chickenpox.
Chickenpox is a curable condition, where the virus that causes it (varicella zoster) remains inactive within the body’s cells, and can at any given time start off a reaction. It is a much serious condition when it occurs in older people, since the immune system takes a back seat as we age. Those who’ve already had chickenpox are predisposed to the shingles breakout more so than others.
While it easier to identify shingles as a painful rash in the initial stages, chickenpox is a breakout of droplet like bumps scattered all over the body. It is important to identify the two separately so that the immediate treatment method can be given. The problem with shingles is that there is only medication to help control the disease, where if left unattended it can lead to problems like glaucoma, urinary retention, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, the possibility of suffering from immense pain for months and even years and so on.
Causes of Shingles
Before we explore the pros and cons of this condition, we first take a look at what causes this breakout. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, the main culprit that brings on a case of the shingles, is the varicella zoster virus, which lays torpid and waiting within one’s cells causing a breakout without so much as a warning. Shingles or herpes zoster as it is alternately labeled, cannot be cured but there are medications to help with the pain and the complications of the condition if left untreated. The fueling factors that play a role in activating the virus are:
⇢ Stress related problems
⇢ Diseases (since this can weaken the immunity system)
⇢ Being aged
⇢ Those who have shingles, can pass on chickenpox to those who’ve never had it (future possibility of then having shingles themselves)
Symptoms and Treatment of Shingles
The symptoms that ensue are classic signs of the disease which are easily identifiable and can be taken up with a doctor immediately when spotted. One needs to keep a close eye on those who’ve had chickenpox in the past and are showing signs of shingles, or the aged who also have had chickenpox in their medical history as well.
⇢ Sudden pain on one particular area of the body
⇢ Feeling weak
⇢ Sensitive to harsh light
⇢ Fluid filled, crusty blisters
⇢ Tingling sensation in one particular area of the body
⇢ Rash starts to spread out
⇢ Itchy sensation around a certain area on the body
⇢ Rash formation around the facial region
Treatment options consist of medications that help patients cope with the pain of the disease, and the avoidance of severe complications if left like I said, untreated. Medication includes antidepressants, antiviral medicines (for pain), skin creams and other prescribed medicines that your doctor will have you on. Over the counter medication is also available to help with the pain.
Pros and Cons of the Shingles Vaccine
The zoster vaccine (Zostavax) as it is also called, has been out for distribution since as early as 2006, where those who are in desperate need for a cure are turning to this vaccine for help. Is it worth it though? Are you or those you know going to benefit from the vaccine’s doubtful outcome? Let’s find here about the shingles vaccine pros and cons to help you decide.
|✔ Pros||✖ Cons|
|There is a 60% percent chance that one will get over the shingles disease.||The vaccine is made for those who are above the age of 60.|
|The vaccine is advised by doctors to be taken even if you don’t have a history of shingles/chickenpox. It helps in not contracting it at all in the future.||Not allowed for women who are pregnant|
|–||Those who have TB / a high fever need to recover before taking the vaccine.|
|–||Insurance companies are not willing to insure the vaccine, since the chances of it working are pretty slim.|
|–||Side effects include the onset of a headache in rare cases, or a tender injection puncture wound.|
Every vaccine has its downside and upside, where ineffectiveness is a commonly feared scenario. The important part is to get the necessary medical treatment for the condition done, before the complications of this disease take hold.