Friday, September 07, 2012

Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Vaccine

One of my blogging friends recently had a bad case of shingles and when he heard of the shingles vaccine he made sure his wife had it in order to spare her the same pain and discomfort.  He told me:

 If you had chicken pox and have not had shingles, I urge you to ask your doctor about the virus and the shingles vaccine. There is a vaccine for it and once you've had it you don't need to get it again. My wife got it almost immediately when we talked to the doctor and she realised what I was going through and would be going through for who knew how long. This is August 10th so I've had it a month. I expect it will continue for maybe another month. For some people it goes on forever.

Meanwhile I saw a full page announcement in Saga saying:

If, like 90% of UK adults, you have ever had chicken pox there is a 1 in 4 chance you will develop shingles at some point in your life.
It is possible to prevent shingles.  See your GP who can give you more information.

As we are told we should be responsible for our own health and as I fitted the diagnostic description I decided to see a doctor.  Unfortunately she was not familiar with the vaccine so I did a little more research, found the name Zostavax and after she had done some research, she wrote me a prescription.  I accepted that the cost – well over £100 would be down to me.  The pharmacist said he would have to order it.  Then he phoned and said there would be difficulty getting the vaccine and was I sure I wanted it.

By this time I felt I should have some more reassurance before going ahead. 
For instance I am booked for a’flu jab in October and sure enough when I checked the info they advise at least a month between a ’flu jab and a shingles vaccine jab.  So I have arranged with the pharmacist to put the whole thing on hold until after then

If any of you have had any relevant experience I shall be most grateful to hear it.

Judy (see my side bar) says:

 I had shingles in the 80's and the shingles vaccine about 2 years ago - with no side-effects whatsoever. If you get shingles, you will be sorry that you didn't get the vaccine.


kenju said...

I stand by that comment. Shingles is horrible and can be long lasting. Do whatever you can to prevent it. The vaccine is readily available in the U.S. and even given by many pharmacists (who gave me mine.)

angryparsnip said...

How interesting that you mention this.
There are so many commercials on TV here in Tucson and I would guess the US about this vaccine. Even more than the flu shot. So it must be available here ?
I think that they are making a huge push for people to get the shot.
Also for the last two years the shot for for Whooping Cough has been on Arizona and Southern California TV as much.

This is on my list of questions to ask my doctor. Thanks for the information.

Hope you can figure out what to do. Sometimes it is very confusing.

cheers, parsnip

LL Cool Joe said...

I had shingles and it was awful, no fun at all. When I was in the States recently I saw a sign for the Shingles Vaccine, so I assume it's fairly common there.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for the "heads-up" Pat...I will have to look into that, too!

savannah said...

no experience re the vaccine, but i know my mom had shingles. i'll ask my doc about scheduling one. thanks for the tip! xoxoxo

Pat said...

Judy; thank you for that.

Parsnip: a pharmacist was telling me today that it is quite different to a 'flu jab; you can't catch shingles from someone, it just lays dormant on your skin from the chicken pox virus and it seems to be the luck of the draw as to whether it develops.
The more info we can share the better.

Joey : I think slowly it will become better known here.

Naomi and Savannah: I do think it is importamnt that one shoould discuss it with one's doctor before deciding.

Chef Files said...

Someone told me that bread products are good for soothing shingles.

My dear lady, I've tried crumpets, waffles, bagels, baguettes, bloomers, split-tin loafs and no luck so far.

It was a slow start, but I'm on a roll now.

Pat said...

Chef Files: not another painster!
BTW I had some ghastly sweet Spanish wine the other day; would you have word please?

Chef Files said...

Ahhh, my dear woman, my next post will be of use to you in your quest for a decent vino espanol!

I shall sit down to compose a few lines when I return from a wee jaunt under canvas and sail next week.

Pat said...

Chef Files: now that will be useful as the local bistro - with Spanish leanings - serves good grub but some dodgy vino.
Hope you have a fair wind.
In the sails.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I have no idea what shingles is! It sounds awful. Is it contagious?

Pat said...

UB: it is a virus connected with chickenpox. You might find this useful:

Vagabonde said...

It was fun reading all your past posts. Now about shingles – I don’t know what type of illness this is – I Google translated shingle and it came up at “zona” in French, and I have never heard of that either. I had “roseola” when I was little, not chicken pox (varicelle) – and I don’t know how close that is – I’ll check up the site you gave.

Pat said...

Vagabonde: just had an email from my BIL who lives in the States and says all he knosws about the shingles vaccine is it is very expensive and his doctor persuaded him to have it.
My BIL is Scottish and a scientist. It might be worth asking your doctor the next time you see him.

Granny Annie said...

My grandmother, mother and sister all had shingles. It was awful for them and so Ron and I asked our doctor for the vaccine as soon as we heard of it. Our doctor would not give us the vaccine because she did not think there was enough history established yet, plus some people still got shingles even after the shot. We are going to ask our doctor again just in case things have changed.

Pat said...

Granny Annie: yes I believe it is possible to get shingles even after the vaccine but, one hopes - much less likely and less severely. The older one is the worse the effects of shingles.
It is right to be cautious and to get as much info as possible and then make one's own decision. I certainly shall wait for a month after my 'flu jab.

Eryl said...

Thanks for this, Pat. I've known several people who've been incapacitated with shingles including my sister. I think I will ask about the vaccine, prescriptions are free here, so I may be lucky.

Pat said...

Eryl: do please let me know how you get on. Prescriptions are usually free for me because of my age - but not this.
My French son says it is recommended for age 68+ - but that's France.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Pat. I came to read you page feeling happy, carefree and gay (in the old context BTW!).

Having read your post I am now a worried, depressed man, a shadow of my earlier self. Has anyone got a length of rope I can borrow?

Pat said...

Keith: I'm devastated to have missed you feeling happy, carefree and gay (in the old context.)
I'm just tryng to look out for us.
Fat lot of thanks I get.

Z said...

One seems to be more likely to get it if one's immune system is low, which is the worst time to get something so painful of course. I didn't know about the vaccine, but I suppose that if it were well known then people would start demanding it on the NHS, and it sounds as if that's unaffordable, at over £100 a time.

Anonymous said...

Just checked in to your blog and there are my words! It's now Sept 10 and I still have some residual pain from the shingles. The shingles itself is long gone (thanks to the anti-viral medication my doctor gave me right at the beginning). I've been taking a medication called Lyrica (which you can google) for the pain and it has helped considerably. I am now about to start cutting back on the amount I take because the pain is reduced sufficiently that I want to do that. I think I said I'd be pain-free by the end of September and I think that's a fairly accurate prediction.

Both medications are expensive and our health care system hasn't yet decided to cover the cost of either. Our government is trying to cut health care costs so they'll probably drag their feet on that.

It's interesting to read your readers' comments. My wife and I had both heard vaguely about shingles but it's not really known about widely -- unless you or someone you know gets it. The pharmacist frequently have to order it because it must be stored in a freezer, and most don't have a freezer in their pharmacy. And it must be taken within minutes of being taken out of the freezer! So it's a tricky "operation" to set up.

All the best to all of your readers and I hope they keep up the quest for the vaccine. Shingles is evil, very evil.


Guyana-Gyal said...

I was looking at an ad about shingles this afternoon, thought about my cousin who had chicken pox...but I didn't really follow the rest of the ad.

I will send this post to her.

If I understand Judy correctly, you can still get the vaccine even if you get shingles...?

Pat said...

GG: this is where it gets a little complicated.
You can have shingles more than once; MTL has had it twice, so there is reason to have the vaccine to prevent another dose.
Then again it is possible to get shingles even after vaccination but - one trusts - less severely.
With the help of medical advice everybody has to decide for themselves.

Pat said...

Jack: yes I think you have done a public service and at least now we have spread the word. I hope your predictions are rightand you will soon be free from discomfort and pain.