This week, I discussed the signs and symptoms of shingles during an Online Health Series. I received many great questions during the presentation. Here are the most popular:
Q: If you’ve never had chickenpox, can you get shingles?
A: No, but you may not remember having had the chickenpox as a child. The varicella zoster virus (chickenpox) is highly contagious, but the appearance of infection can vary. The infection can be obvious and severe to include fever, headache, sore throat, stomachache, and an itchy rash of spots that look like blisters all over the body. Some people who come down with chickenpox may experience mild symptoms having only a few blisters, while others may have a case so mild that they don’t notice any symptoms.
Q: Can the shingles vaccine cause chicken pox or the shingles?
A: No, the vaccine does not cause infection. The shingles vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce protective antibodies. The antibodies will then battle the disease caused by the varicella zoster virus, reducing the risk of getting shingles.
Q: What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
A: There can be pain at the injections site for a day or two. Also, occasionally patients experience gastrointestinal distress (stomach and gut issues) or headache.
Q: Is the vaccine covered by insurance?
A: In many cases insurance will cover all or a portion of the cost of the vaccine, or you may be required to pay a deductible. However, every insurance plan varies. Check with your plan administrator for the specific information.
Q: Where can I get a shingles vaccination?
A: Many primary care physicians have the vaccine in their offices. Ask your family physician or if you need a family doctor, visit renown.org/FindADoc or call 775-982-5000.
Wishing you continued good health.
See the full webinar below.