Shingles chicken pox vaccine

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by therealmadscientist, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Getting a chicken pox vacination may prevent shingles.
    Shingles is a very miserable feeling disease (often shows up as painful lesions around mid body) caused by reactivation of dormant chicken pox virus. It can last for months or years.
    Immunity can wane with age, and perhaps it is one of most common illnesses in people over 60. Probably vacination useful for persons with weak immune systems.
    The insurance companies, HMO's, are just now beginning to pay for vacinations. Maybe about $250 if get the shot on your own. My mom had a bad case and I will get vacination soon myself.
    [This Message was Edited on 02/05/2007]
  2. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    Do you think it would be a good idea for kids (I have 11 y.o. twins) to get the shot? They had a mild mild case of chickenpox a few years ago, and I'm not even sure if it was the real thing.
  3. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Probably a good idea, but I can't feel real enthusiatic about the immediate need. Maybe let them decide when they get older.
    Probably more than you(or I) want to know:
    Two shots are better than just one for immunity.
    The immunization is made of attenuated (weak) live virus so probably should use caution with severely immunocompromised patients, though seems that studies indicate that immunization is effective in most cases and is better than getting the natural shingles.
    HIV and immunocomprised patients sometimes get shingles.
    (Chicken pox, Varicella, herpes zoster, zoster = shingles)

    I would generally recommend that the twins get the immunization before age 50 or if they anticipate becoming immunocompromised.
    If they haven't had chicken pox then a shot now a good idea (depending on philosophies toward immunization, of course). If they have already had a chicken pox, then a shot won't be bad, and will probably give them lifetime immunity.
    It is possible to do a blood test to determine if your kids have had chicken pox or are immune, but might be more trouble and cost than just getting the immunization.
    I feel like I've made everything as clear as mud!
    Maybe check with internet and your Doc!
    (This would be a horrible experiment, and I really don't mean it....but maybe do a "twin study" with one kid getting an immunization and the other not.)
    Anyway, I wish I could come up with more definitive type answer. Most likely your kids will do just fine in life with or without chicken pox immunization. your feeling confused, mr Bill
  4. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    I've gone round and round on immunizations- so you didn't confuse any more than I already am! I'm leaning toward having them get the shots- that will cover them if they didn't have a strong enough case of chickenpox and will help them as adults, too. I've heard that shingles are painful and reoccurring, so it would be best to avoid that.
    [This Message was Edited on 02/07/2007]
  5. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    My MIL recently got a shot for shingles and had asked if Medicare would cover it. After asking around, they got back to her and said, yes, they would. She got the shot, then they said they wouldn't cover it. She would never have gotten the shot if they wouldn't cover it. $189.00 ! So she's looking into her options but it will be a tough go.....she'll probably end up paying it.
  6. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Hi Mad Scientist,

    My mom had shingles when she was about 60. She's very healthy, but still had a rough time of it. Do you know the ideal age to get the vaccine? I'm in my 30s but it's always good to know these things.

    P.S. I like your bio. I've also had "experience" in the world of bipolar....I've had bipolar II for ten years, so I would say a little "too much experience" for my taste. Indeed, sometimes we get gypped out of the seemingly more "fun" symptoms of hypomania. Not fair is it?

    All the best, Erika
  7. Pottersclay

    Pottersclay New Member

    My kids never got the chicken pox so I had them get the vaccine. They in turn got a mild case of the chicken pox.

    In the past two weeks two of my daughters teammates on the basketball team got the chicken pox. Apparently they never got them when they were younger...or vaccinated.
  8. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    I had chickenpox as a child; thus, the virus remained in my system, albeit dormant. Then, when I was in my 40's, my immune system played a trick and I came down with shingles after an exposure to a case of chickenpox (yes, that's what happens!).

    It would pay for anyone who hasn't had a case of chickenpox to have the vaccine. If you have had a case of chickenpox, that predisposes you when and if your immune system lets down, to getting shingles.

    Shingles are painful and miserable as they run along the pathway of nerves. You feel as though you want to crawl out of your skin and become really, really anxious. I had to take xanax when I developed my two cases of shingles … NO FUN!!
  9. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    If you've had the shingles then you have had chickenpox; therefore, you don't need the vaccine as it won't give you immunity to chickenpox or to shingles.
  10. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    After reading the posts and the experiences I'm inclined to give the shots early. Never occured to me of someone getting getting shingles at age 10. Talk about unfairness and too much experience!!

    Getting the immunizations will keep the chicken pox virus from getting into nervous system in the first place, so is much better than getting natural chicken pox.

    I not too keen on any immunizations before 6 months of age. I suspect that too early immunizations may confuse the undeveloped immune system. The immune system may have problems around "what is self and what is foreign."

    I'm not sure about value of immunization if one has had
    shingles. I tend to be pro immunization so would figure that boosting immunity toward chicken pox wouldn't hurt and might help. [This Message was Edited on 02/11/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 02/11/2007]
  11. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Last week a study published that a chicken pox vaccination may not give life time immunity. Maybe just a few years in some cases. Unfortunately, after immunity wears off, then the chicken pox is contracted at an older age when effects can be worse.

    I guess for now, at least get a booster shot. Maybe a test for chicken pox immunity level will be be routinely available soon.

    (The immunity level for German measles is routinely measured now in prenatal patients.) Cheers, mr Bill

    [This Message was Edited on 03/20/2007]
  12. victoria

    victoria New Member

    besides valcyte...

    I used acupuncture, it took the pain away immediately and within 24 hours the lesions looked better - did a total of 5 seessions plus using valcyte, but, keep in mind I'd been suffering for a week before the acupuncture, had just gotten the first 'taste' of PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia).

    A friend of ours had been suffering with shingles and PHN for 6 months even tho he'd been taking valcyte the whole time. It was around his groin so really painful for him. He doesn't like needles so wouldn't do the acupuncture.

    I did further research online for him, found that tagamet aka cimetidine actually makes a difference. Yes, tagamet! He used it and it was gone within 2 weeks of starting.

    Tagamet has other properties as well, but of course it is out of patent, so no real research is being done. Here's some info tho:

    From Life Extension Foundation organization -

    "In 1996, a clinical trial was conducted on 221 patients with herpes zoster who were treated daily with cimetidine (Tagamet) at 3 x 200 mg during the day and 1 x 400 mg at night. The results showed that cimetidine shortened the period of disease duration. The authors suggested using cimetidine in the treatment of shingles during the earliest stages of the disease.(3)

    A case reported in Canada resulted in the statement that cimetidine therapy appeared to reduce the expected length of the active phase of herpes zoster from 35 days or more to just 10 days.(4)

    At the Golda Medical Center in Israel, in 1994, a double-blind placebo-control study of cimetidine treatment versus placebo was conducted for one week in 22 patients with herpes zoster (shingles). Those who were treated with cimetidine were found to recover much more quickly from skin rash and pain than those who were given the placebo.(5)

    At the Department of Neurology at Lady Davis Carmel Hospital in Israel, a randomized study evaluated the effect of cimetidine in the treatment of herpes zoster virus.

    The conclusion was that cimetidine treatment “shortened the median interval until the first decrease in pain, shortened the median interval until the complete resolution of pain and promoted faster complete healing of skin lesions….”(6)

    A paper presented by a researcher at Michigan State University in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development (1990) stated:(7)

    “Suppressor T lymphocytes possess histamine2 (H2) receptors and contribute significantly to the function of the immune system. Cimetidine has been shown to enhance a variety of immunologic functions both in vivo and in vitro because of its inhibitory effects on suppressor-cell function. Successful tumor immunotherapy has been reported in experimental animals.

    "Patients who received cimetidine were shown to exhibit enhanced cell-mediated immunity as evaluated by increased response to skin-test antigens, restoration of sensitivity following development of acquired tolerance, and increased responses of lymphocytes to mitogen stimulation. Patients also demonstrated that patients with herpes zoster and herpes simplex who were given cimetidine may have benefitted therapeutically from the drug.”

    The consensus from these studies is that when cimetidine is administered to those with herpes simplex or shingles, the result is a dramatic relief of the herpetic pain as well as rapid disappearance of the blisters.

    Novel approach overlooked

    Cimetidine is the generic equivalent of the popular OTC drug better known by the brand name Tagamet. It is used primarily to relieve symptoms of esophageal reflux such as heartburn. Tagamet functions as a histamine (H2) receptor antagonist.

    What most doctors don't know is that T-lymphocyte suppressor cells have the H2 receptor. By blocking this receptor (using an H2 receptor antagonist such as Tagamet), the immune system can be temporarily turned up to help combat certain cancers and herpes viral infections.


    Hope that helps if you're unlucky enough to have it at all...

    it's no fun, that's for sure!

    all the best,

  13. lilaclover30

    lilaclover30 New Member

    My DH and I got the shot when we got our flu vaccination. Our PCP insisted!! We have both had chicken pox - if you have had it, the virus is still there in your body. It is very8, very hard on older people.

    When our last baby was born, our olde4st son came home from my parents home and we noticed that he had chicken pox. Back he went to my parents.

    When he was about 12,(our youngest) he began complaining of pain in his thigh,then began to cry frlom it. I took him to the Dr. and he had no idea. it went on for a few more days and I called the Dr. and he said to take him to the hospital. he was in such pain!!!

    sn the second day, the Dr. noticed a little spot on his thigh where the pain was. it was shingles. It was a horrid experience and he still has the scars.

    It all came from the few minutes that he was around his brother, not more than 10 min. That virus hadi been in his body all that time.

    Take care and remember.
    [This Message was Edited on 03/22/2007]

    Oh yes, our Dr. said that this vaccination is for those who are 65 or older.Anyone that old?[This Message was Edited on 03/24/2007]
  14. Pottersclay

    Pottersclay New Member

    You CAN still get the chicken pox even if you have had the shot. apparently the one girl anyways on my daughters basketball team HAD gotten the shot and STILL got the chicken pox. I was wrong on my earlier post.