Shingles in itself may not be a life-threatening condition but it can be very painful, especially for children. People then want to prevent its appearance in lives, not only because of the painful symptoms but also because of the risk of scars.
But can shingles be prevented? Unfortunately, not 100% despite up-to-date chickenpox and shingles vaccinations. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can skip on these vaccinations because of the absence of a 100% guarantee, as explained below.
Reduction of Risks
The modern world has significantly benefited from the development and distribution of vaccines for a wide range of diseases from polio to the human papilloma virus. Millions of lives worldwide have been saved because of these vaccines, which can partly explain the popular idea that vaccines will ensure the immunity of the vaccinated persons against the diseases.
But this isn’t so! Vaccines are crucial in the reduction of the risks of certain diseases but these don’t guarantee 100% immunity because it just isn’t the way that these things work. Vaccines are still essential, nonetheless, because these can reduce the risk of complications and the severity of the illness, if it does strike an individual.
Doctors recommend two types of vaccines in reducing the risk of shingles, namely:
- Chickenpox vaccine, a routine childhood immunization for the prevention of chickenpox.
- Shingles vaccine, a live varicella-zoster vaccine recommended for adults 60 years old and above whether they have prior shingles or not.
The shingles vaccine for adults can reduce the severity and duration of shingles, as well as reduce the risk of postherpetic neuralgia. But it also has its side effects, such as pain, tenderness, redness, itching and swelling in the injection site, usually the upper arm, and headaches. Some adults even experience chickenpox-like rashes after being vaccinated but it’s normal unless the symptoms persist for a few days after the injection.
Your doctor is the best person to ask whether you’re a good candidate for either of these vaccines.
Reduction of Symptoms
But if you still get shingles despite the vaccine, you don’t have to worry because early treatment will likely increase the speed of the healing process and decrease the risk of complications. Your doctor will prescribe certain medications for this purpose, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir as well as capsaicin cream, anticonvulsants, and lidocaine.
You can also take a cool bath on a regular basis and apply cool compresses on the blisters to relieve the pain and itching. You just have to ride out the symptoms, so to speak, since these will be gone in a few days and all will be right in your body again.