Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bespeak or Begrudge: finding and affording the shingles vaccine

People with fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)often have impaired or ineffective immune systems. This, along with some medications and treatments, a history of certain types of cancer, and stress and fatigue puts us at a higher risk of developing shingles.

Shingles also known as herpes zoster is a viral infection from varicella-zoster virus that causes painful rash/blisters on the skin following a nerve tract. If you have had chicken pox the virus can lay dormant until it erupts later in life as shingles. Early treatment with an anti-viral drug may decrease the risk of reoccurrence.

See the latest reports and information.

Shingles Vaccine from US Today: Your Life Health.
“Shingles vaccine can protect you but it can be hard to find.”

More on the vaccine from the CDC, standout comment, if you have had shingles, the vaccine may help prevent recurrence.

Post Herpatic Neuropathy (PHN) = The residual effect of shingles, where nerve pain, neuralgia, last long after a shingles outbreak has cleared up. It can last months or a lifetime.

Treatment currently includes: antidepressants, anticonvulsants (gabapentin like drugs), topical lidocaine or capsaicin cream, opioid analgesics and TENS units.

Having had shingles, the US Today article left me with an unanswered question. “Does the vaccine help long term effects that can occur, post herpatic neuropathy?”

According to the FDA, the vaccine, Zostavax, will not help PHN.

An important question was raised after I posted this blog. “Should known immunocompromised patients receive the vaccine?” This is something I think each individual should discuss with their doctor, following is why.

Vaccinating the already immune compromised, from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases:
“Immunocompromised people are more likely to have serious illness with complications as a result of chickenpox. The best way to prevent infection in such people is by immunizing their susceptible family members and their other close contacts. However, some immunocompromised people are eligible for vaccination.”

Harmony and Hope, Celeste,

Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (co-author, Jeff Miller, PhD).

You can find out more about me, the book, how to order the book, and other helpful information and links at

1 comment:

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