Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful viral infection that affects the nerves and skin. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Shingles can be a serious condition, especially in older adults, and can cause long-term nerve pain.
The shingles vaccine, also called the herpes zoster vaccine, is recommended for people aged 50 years and older to prevent shingles and its complications. While the vaccine is generally safe and effective, it can cause some side effects. In this article, we will explore the shingles shot side effects.
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How effective is the shingles vaccine?
The shingles vaccine, also known as the herpes zoster vaccine, is highly effective at preventing shingles and its complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the shingles vaccine reduces the risk of getting shingles by about 90%. It also reduces the risk of long-term nerve pain that can occur after a shingles infection, known as post-herpetic neuralgia, by about two-thirds.
It’s important to note that while the shingles vaccine is highly effective, it is not 100% effective. Some people may still get shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia even after being vaccinated. However, if a vaccinated person does get shingles, their symptoms are likely to be milder and shorter in duration than if they had not been vaccinated. Overall, the shingles vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of shingles and its complications.
What are the most common shingles shot side effects vaccines?
The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine are mild and temporary, and usually go away on their own within a few days. These side effects typically occur at the injection site and may include:
- Hardness or lumpiness
Other common side effects of the shingles vaccine may include:
- Muscle aches
Are there any serious side effects of the shingles shot?
Serious side effects of the shingles vaccine are rare, but they can occur. These side effects may include:
- Allergic reactions, which can cause difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, or a
- A severe headache or severe muscle weakness in the arms or legs.
- Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves.
Can the shingles vaccine cause a rash?
Yes, it is possible for the shingles vaccine to cause a rash at or near the injection site. This type of rash is known as a “local reaction” and is a common side effect of many vaccines, including the shingles vaccine.
Local reactions to the shingles vaccine may include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Itching or a rash at the injection site
- Hardness or lumpiness at the injection site
These local reactions are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days to a week. To help reduce discomfort, you can apply a cool, damp cloth to the injection site and take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed.
Who should not get the shingles vaccine?
While the shingles vaccine is generally safe and recommended for most people aged 50 years and older, there are certain individuals who should not get the vaccine or should wait before getting vaccinated. These include:
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine or to any component of the vaccine, including gelatin or neomycin.
- People who currently have shingles or who have had shingles in the past month.
- People who have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition such as HIV, leukemia, or lymphoma, or due to medications such as chemotherapy or corticosteroids. These individuals may not respond as well to the vaccine or may be more likely to experience side effects.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare provider before getting the shingles vaccine.
Are there any long-term side effects of the shingles shot vaccine?
Based on the clinical trials and real-world experience with the shingles vaccine, there are no known long-term side effects of the vaccine. The shingles vaccine has been extensively studied and is considered to be a safe and effective way to prevent shingles and its complications, including long-term nerve pain known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
Most side effects of the shingles vaccine, if they occur at all, are mild and temporary, and go away on their own within a few days. Serious side effects from the shingles vaccine are rare.
How to manage shingles vaccine side effects?
Here are some tips for managing the side effects of the shingles vaccine:
- Apply a cool, damp cloth to the injection site to help reduce pain, redness, and swelling.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed to help alleviate discomfort and fever.
- Get plenty of rest to help your body recover and reduce fatigue.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.
- Dress in loose-fitting clothing to help reduce irritation at the injection site.
- Avoid strenuous activity or exercise for a day or two after getting vaccinated to minimise muscle aches.
- If you experience a rash at the injection site, apply calamine lotion or a hydrocortisone cream to help soothe itching and discomfort.
- Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any concerning symptoms after getting the shingles vaccine, such as difficulty breathing or a severe allergic reaction.