Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Does The Shingles Vaccine Prevent The Onset Of Shingles?

Monday, 19 Jul 2010 04:09 PM

Question: Does the shingles vaccine prevent the onset of shingles, and how does one recognize the symptoms of this malady?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

The shingles vaccine boosts your immunity to the chickenpox virus, and has been shown to be protective for those that receive it. Though not a guarantee against developing shingles, if you do develop them, it is almost always much less severe.

Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus that has been dormant in neural ganglia, and is reactivated. This is why it presents as local disease extending through nerve fibers to reach the skin in a neurotome (sensory nerve distribution, and manifesting as blistered eruptions so typical of herpes virus infections.) If you suspect you have this, see your doctor right away, as early antiviral treatment is very beneficial and prevents and reduces long term complications. Once flared, the vaccine administration is not believed to be helpful. Advance immunization for all those over 60 years of age is important to avoid this painful and occasional debilitating condition.

© HealthDay

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