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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can vaccination be done to prevent shingles?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15761 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Question: Yesterday, 7/21, I went to the doctor with a headache that I had since Friday 7/18. I felt terrible with body aches and at time a very low grade fever. I also told him that I had a poision ivy rash. He asked to see this rash and immediately stated this was Shingles and prescribed the anti viral medication Valacyclovir. I will take this medication three times a day for 7 days (21 tablets). This rash is located in my left rib area and at this stage itches. I presently am also using a medicated anti itch spray that claims to stop itching, stop pain, dries oozing and promotes healing.
How contagious is this at this stage, can I take showers, what are my future options to control this? I have read of a one shot vaccine (Zostavax) that will prevent Shingles from recurring in the future.
What information do you have on this condition that I may take to my doctor
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
zostavax vaccine would help

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Shingles (also called herpes zoster) occurs in persons with a prior history of chicken pox. During the active blister stage, it is possible to transmit the chicken pox virus to other persons.

This can only occur when the blisters are present if someone comes into physical contact with them or the fluid. When they crust over, you would no longer be contagious.

In terms of preventing further episodes- there is a vaccine available that reduces the chance of future episodes and also reduces the risk of developing post herpetic neuralgia (this is the pain that can sometimes be associated with this condition).

It is recommended for your age group, persons over 60 are advised to get it if possible.
The name is zostavax, it reduces the risk of future episodes by about 50% so there is still a small risk of future problems.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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