As many of you already know, vaccines are biological preparations aimed at providing protection to people from several types of diseases and microbial infections. Even as adults, many men, and women continue to support this misconception that they do not require vaccines. Well, fact of the matter remains that even adults need vaccination; for example, in case of seasonal influenza, bacterial infections of tetanus, pertussis or diphtheria, pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis.
This article throws light on the shingles vaccine that will help you understand the need and importance of getting this vaccination, especially if you are above 60 years of age. This vaccine is the key that aids in avoiding the initial attack of shingles, also its recurrence.
A Brief Introduction To Shingles
Shingles, also known as Herpes zoster is a disease of viral origin. The hallmark feature of the infection caused by varicella-zoster virus is the development of an agonizing skin rash, frequently accompanied by skin blisters.This is the virus which is responsible for causing chickenpox. Unfortunately, even after chickenpox entirely resolves, the varicella-zoster virus still remains in the tissues (in a dormant or inactive state) of the nervous system.
The risk factors that maybe responsible for reactivation of this virus range from somatic or emotional stress, environmental factors, immunosuppressant drugs, cancer to the natural process of aging.
Role Of Shingles Vaccine
Regardless of whether you have experienced herpes zoster infection or not, adults (especially those at or above the age of 60) must opt for the Shingles vaccine. This has been confirmed and strongly emphasized upon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although the use of this particular vaccine has received full approval for use in individuals belonging to the age slot of 50-59 years, for some unknown reason, the CDC does not recommend its administration to people until they reach sixty.
Zostavax is the name of the Shingles vaccine and consists of an attenuated form of varicella zoster virus. The vaccine, thus, offers protection to the individual by preventing the latent virus from reactivation. It does so by promoting the stimulation of the immune system such that it fights the viral disease initiated by Herpes zoster virus. According to scientific studies, those who have taken Zostavax vaccine are at a lowered risk of suffering from shingles (by at least fifty percent).
However, you must note that the shingles vaccine does not prevent shingles attack in each case. A few people develop the painful condition despite receiving vaccination. The good news is that such patients who develop shingles post vaccination experience an abridges duration of nerve pain (also called post-herpetic neuralgia) in comparison to the non-vaccinated ones.
Contraindications Of Shingles Vaccine
The use of herpes zoster vaccine is contraindicated in case you have any of the below mentioned conditions.
Patients who already have a deteriorated immune system owing to ailments, such as leukemia or HIV/AIDS do not stand to benefit from this vaccine. The same goes for people who are currently on immunosuppressant medications; for example steroids, Infliximab or who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. Females who are planning to conceive soon or are pregnant must not get the vaccination.
Side Effects of Shingles Vaccine
Some of the common adverse reactions one may notice at the site of infection (usually the arm) include swelling, pruritus or skin redness.
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