Should I get the Shingles Vaccine?
That’s a question that I’ve been asked a lot lately. Let’s take a look at the facts, not all of the commercial hype.
Shingles is formerly known as Herpes Zoster and it’s a reactivation of the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster). It can only occur in people who have either had the virus or been vaccinated for the virus, because then the virus is dormant inside a person.
Shingles appears as a rash or cluster of blisters along one side of the body. It is itchy, burning, tingling and painful. Like Chickenpox, Shingles can resolve on its own.
However, the use of cool water compresses, lotions and topical analgesics are often recommended to ease discomfort. I might also recommend an anti-viral homeopathic as well.
One can only get Shingles from their own dormant chickenpox virus. It is interesting to note that a pregnant woman who acquired chickenpox naturally (meaning they actually got the childhood disease), can transfer antibodies along to her children; one who was vaccinated for chickenpox cannot.
Further, if one had chickenpox (a self-limiting childhood disease), one’s own antibodies go through a natural booster process anytime one is exposed to the chickenpox virus, which then makes it less likely that one would suffer from Shingles in the future.
This booster process occurs without symptoms. The natural booster process does not occur in people who were vaccinated.
Before 1995 when widespread use of the chickenpox vaccine started, there were about 500,000 cases a year.
Since then, Shingles incidence has increased by 90%. So, the natural virus has become less pervasive and there are fewer opportunities for adults to receive periodic boosts.
We have traded a relatively mild childhood disease for a much more serious ailment in adults.
According to the CDC, shingles cause 5x as many hospitalizations and 3x as many deaths as chickenpox. It is also interesting to note that the same company that created the chickenpox vaccine (Varivax) is the same company that has now created the shingles vaccine (Zostavax). Zostavax is 14x more potent than Varivax.
Adverse reactions to Zostavax were reported – including:
- congestive heart failure
- respiratory infections
- pulmonary edema
- skin disorders
Vaccines also had more pain, tenderness, itching and swelling at the injection site and more headaches. Some getting the vaccine still suffered from shingles.
The FDA has a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). I would highly recommend consulting it before just blindly getting any vaccine.
If you are concerned about getting Shingles, boosting your immune system is always the best answer.
This can be done through a good nutrition program, as we provide in our office, along with the aforementioned anti-viral homeopathic supplement. We can test you to find the right one for you.
If this is of interest to you, call our office today at 321-482-0345 and make an appointment to see Dr. Michele Munnich for your Health Needs.