Shingles and the Zostavax Vaccine

shingles vaccine

Shingles is a viral infection that results in a painful rash. This can occur anywhere on the body. However, shingles most often appears as a simple strip of blisters that wraps around either side of your torso. We will discuss the symptoms of shingles, causes of shingles and prevention of shingles.

Shingles: Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms of Shingles

Signs and symptoms of shingles include the following:

  • one-sided stabbing pain
  • tingling, itching or burning sensation that precedes the appearance of the rash by a few days
  • headache
  • fever and chills
  • nausea
  • body aches
  • fluid-filled blistering red rash, generally on the torso or face

Causes of Shingles

The varicella-zoster virus—the same virus that causes chickenpox—causes shingles. Any who has had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles. After recovering from chickpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years.

Eventually, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin, which produces shingles. However, not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles.

While the reason for shingles is unclear, it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as your grow older. Shingles is more common in older adults and in individuals who have weakened immune systems.

Prevention of Shingles

What is Zostavax Vaccine?

The Food and Drug Administration approves of the Zostavax vaccine for adults age 50 and older. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent isn’t recommending Zostavax vaccine until you reach age 60 or older. This is because the risk of shingles and its complications is highest once you reach this age.

The Zostavax vaccine is only a prevention strategy. The intention of this vaccine to prevent disease before it occurs. Zostavax vaccine contains live virus. Therefore, our doctors will not be administer it to people who are pregnant or have weak immune systems.

Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine (Zostavax Vaccine)?

The shingles vaccine is essential for people 60 years of age or older. The vaccine is necessary whether or not you recall having had chickenpox. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox. There is no maximum age for receiving the shingles vaccine Zostavax.

Even if you have had shingles, you can still get Zostavax vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There’s no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before getting the vaccine. However, typically, you need to make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before receiving the vaccine.


For more information about shingles or the Zostavax vaccine, contact us here at Brashear Family Medical with the link below!

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