The shingles vaccine is a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Persons who have had chickenpox have increased risk of shingles. This disease is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The vaccine works to reduce the risk of developing contagious shingles. Age is an important factor for contracting the disease. The shingles vaccine is usually prescribed to people 60 and older. Severity of shingles is related to age.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles is a contagious viral infection but it does not transmit from one person to another. Patients of shingles can transmit varicella zoster virus to others. Patients who have never contracted chickenpox can develop chickenpox if infected with varicella zoster virus but are not affected by shingles. Hence, the disease is not as contagious as chickenpox. The time when the virus is most contagious varies in both infections.
Chickenpox is most contagious a few days before rashes appear and it remains contagious until all blisters have scabbed. On the other hand, shingles is not contagious before the occurrence of blisters and it is no longer contagious after the rashes develop scabs.
The vaccine is injected in the upper arm. Only one injection is sufficient. The vaccine is tested for its safety and efficacy before being licensed for use. Though this vaccine is safe, it can cause some side effects. One in 10 people develop the following symptoms: redness, headaches, or tenderness of vaccine site.
If the side effects persist, one should visit the doctor. Shingles is a contagious viral infection. Vaccination can work to stop its spread just as the childhood immunizations work for rubella.
How Does the Vaccine Work?
The vaccine works by boosting immunity in the body. Vaccination protects the body against contagious shingles. It reduces the risk of developing full-blown shingles. In patients suffering from shingles, the vaccine helps control the symptoms of the disease. The vaccine contains a weakened virus that works to stimulate the body’s immunity. If this virus is activated at a later stage, the body’s natural immunity can work to fight it off.
This vaccine works as it has been observed to reduce the chances of developing shingles by more than a third. Even if the disease develops, the symptoms are milder and last for only a short time in comparison with a person who is not immunized.
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