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Old 01-29-2012, 10:09 AM   #41
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In most cases, I agree completely.
Bt this one is different. Remember that you only get shingles if you were infected with the virus from chicken pox earlier in your life (same virus).
So that didn't give you any immunity. The virus takes up permanent residence, and flares up when it wants to.
Which makes me so curious as to why the shingles vaccine works!
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:17 AM   #42
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My brother, a friend and a co-worker all had shingles in their late 30's. Stress related, but it really makes me want to get the vaccine. I'll look into it, but I don't know how old you have to be.

Currently approved for 50+

FDA: Shingles Vaccine OK at Age 50 and Up
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:51 AM   #43
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Which makes me so curious as to why the shingles vaccine works!
From a couple of online references:

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How Does Zostavax Work?
Shingles is caused by a virus, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The initial infection of varicella-zoster virus causes a case of chickenpox. After the case of chickenpox, the virus never goes away. It remains inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again (which usually occurs as people age and their immune systems are less able to suppress the virus). Zostavax is a live (but weakened) version of the varicella-zoster virus. It causes the body to produce an immune system response to the virus, which helps prevent shingles.
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The vaccine boosts immune system activity to eradicate the active virus and maintain the virus in its dormant state.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #44
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Day 4
After four days of anti viral drugs. My lymph nodes no longer hurt. The rash is now confined to 5 red bumps on my left forehead. These bumps never really blistered and now seem to be drying up. I can touch my head and comb my hair without pain. I still have an occasional headache, but is completely manageable.

Things are looking good. Early diagnosis is key.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #45
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braumeister - So I guess after the initial case of chicken pox, the virus "hides" and is not "seen" by the immune system to cause it to create an immune response to protect against future outbreaks.

I guess we take the immunization to load our body with weakended virus the immune system can "see" to cause it to create an immune response.

I wonder what happened to the iimmune response that was created when we got the initial case of chicken pox? I guess it wears off and needs to be reactivated.

Brdofpray - Looks like your immune system is in pretty good shape. Maybe not strong enough to prevent the outbreak but strong enough to fight off the virus with a little assistance from anti-virals.

Wouldn't you think that having a recent outbreak would create the same immune response as getting the vaccine? Apparently that's not the case if your physician is recommending the vaccine. Things that make you go "hmmmmm."
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:31 PM   #46
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That is a good point. I will be following up with my physician next week after the anti virals are gone. I will review this thread, and ask him some additional questions. I will report back.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:30 PM   #47
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Day 4
After four days of anti viral drugs. My lymph nodes no longer hurt. The rash is now confined to 5 red bumps on my left forehead. These bumps never really blistered and now seem to be drying up. I can touch my head and comb my hair without pain. I still have an occasional headache, but is completely manageable.

Things are looking good. Early diagnosis is key.
Sorry I'm late to this discussion. Glad to hear you're on the mend. Hope all continues well.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:17 AM   #48
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Final Update:

Just finished the last of my anti viral meds. Since my shingles were primarily on my left temple, I went to the eye doctor today to check my left eye. My doctor wanted to make sure the cornea was not impacted in any way. (Shingles near the eye could lead to blindness in extreme cases, so watch out).

I was given a clean bill of health for the eye. The rash is a fading memory. I have five small red spots, that look like old mosquito bites, with no pain. When I furrow my forehead, I can feel some residual pain up into the scalp. Nothing bad at all. They say that may remain for another week or so.

From what I understand, once you get chicken pox, you are a candidate for shingles. You never get rid of the chicken pox virus, it lives in the nerve endings. (Where, apparently, your defenses can't get to it.) Over time, your defenses relax, stress or some other compromise to your immune system will allow the hiding virus to grow. This is when it expresses itself as shingles. Shingles is only contagious to those who have not had chicken pox. You can never pass shingles, however, you can pass chicken pox while the virus is active (open lesions).

The vaccine is recommended for people 50 and over. The vaccine is a weakened version of the chicken pox. This will raise your defenses and help prevent a shingles outbreak. (They say it decreases your risk of getting shingles by 51%) I am not sure if they recommend a second shot after a period of years. One would think your defenses would begin to diminish, once again, allowing the virus to grow. (Should of asked that question.)

Once you have had shingles, you can get it again. (1-5% will) However, once you have had shingles, and fought it off, your body's defenses are high. You won't need the vaccine for a few (indeterminate) years.

In my case I was very lucky. I have heard of many horror stories talking about disabling pain. Quick diagnosis is key! If you ever have the start of a rash, some pain associated with it, on just one side of your body, (Shingles will only be on the right or left side. It will never cross the midline.) go to the doctor and check it out. If he doesn't know for sure what you have, suggest shingles as an option. If caught in the first 72 hours, pain is significantly reduced! I can attest to that.

I hope my experience with shingles will benefit at least one other.

My work here is done.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:30 AM   #49
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So glad to read of this great outcome! Shingles can be so dreadful and it is nice to read your posts illustrating how that can be alleviated by early diagnosis and treatment.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:55 PM   #50
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Thank you for the follow-up. Good to know the information about the immune system being in high gear after an outbreak. The recommendation to get the vaccine soon after defeating an outbreak did not make sense.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:31 AM   #51
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Quick diagnosis is key! If you ever have the start of a rash, some pain associated with it, on just one side of your body, (Shingles will only be on the right or left side. It will never cross the midline.) go to the doctor and check it out.
Worth repeating. If you even suspect shingles, get a prescription for an antiviral (like Valtrex) immediately.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:56 AM   #52
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I got my shot last week during my Dr visit. Didn't cost me anything. I will say it was the first vaccine that I had a bit of a reaction to: soreness that lasted several days, redness and feeling of warmth at the injection site, but after hearing about what some of you have gone through, a very small price to pay.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:14 AM   #53
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I am glad you are over this ordeal without being too badly damaged. Shingles are a nasty disease. I have had the vaccine myself. It was expensive, but less expensive than suffering through shingles like some friends of mine have. The cost of shingles (in pain, time lost, and money) far exceeds the cost of the vaccine.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:35 AM   #54
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Our daughter contracted it in her early 20's. She is high-strung and was under a lot of stress, which can trigger it we were told.

Anyone who has not got it yet, take the vaccine! (with your Dr's recommendation, etc. I am not a doctor, but I slept at a Holiday Inn and now think I can walk on water.)
I also had shingles in my mid 20's, in a bad marriage, and self employed. My doctor told me the stress was killing me, either get rid of my job, or my husband. I made the right choice and kept my job!
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