The chickenpox virus never leaves the body and it can come back as the painful rash of Shingles.
If you’ve had chickenpox, you can get Shingles at any time. It doesn’t matter how healthy you feel. Shingles can strike when you least expect it and can cause a blistering rash that may bring deep, penetrating pain.
The Shingles rash can last up to 30 days, and for most the pain lessens as the rash heals. But some people who develop Shingles experience long-term nerve pain that can last for months, even years.
As you get older, there’s a greater chance Shingles can happen to you.
It’s a simple fact that your immune system can weaken with age. And as a result, your chances of developing the Shingles rash increase as you get older. Vaccination is not recommended for people who are allergic to any of the ingredients in ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live), and people who have a suppressed immune system from taking autoimmune medicines, high doses of steroids, or have specific health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS.
One in five people who get Shingles will experience long-term nerve pain.
Most people recover from the nerve pain of Shingles as the rash heals. But one in five people who develop Shingles will experience postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN–nerve pain that can develop even after the rash heals, which can range from mild to severe and debilitating. This nerve pain can last from a few months to several years.
Out of every four patients who get Shingles, one person will experience one or more complications, some of which may be serious.Learn more about the risk factors for Shingles.
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ZOSTAVAX is a vaccine used for adults 50 years of age or older to prevent Shingles (also known as zoster).
Important Safety Information
- ZOSTAVAX does not protect everyone, so some people who get the vaccine may still get Shingles.
- You should not get ZOSTAVAX if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, including gelatin or neomycin, have a weakened immune system, take high doses of steroids, or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not get ZOSTAVAX to prevent chickenpox.
- Talk to your health care professional if you plan to get ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live) at the same time as PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) because it may be better to get these vaccines at least 4 weeks apart.
- Possible side effects include redness, pain, itching, swelling, hard lump, warmth, or bruising at the injection site, as well as headache.
- ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live) contains a weakened chickenpox virus. Tell your health care professional if you will be in close contact with newborn infants, someone who may be pregnant and has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated against chickenpox, or someone who has problems with their immune system. Your health care professional can tell you what situations you may need to avoid.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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