Vaccines are special preparations of disease-causing substances that are used primarily to stimulate the production of antibodies that in turn grants a person immunity from a particular or a number of diseases. Many of the vaccines that we know are produced by culturing bacteria or viruses into their weakened forms. Shingles vaccine is an example of such. Made out of live attenuated varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, Shingles vaccine is starting to get known as a way to prevent Shingles infection.
Shingles is a disease characterized by painful vesicular lesions that usually follows the pattern of the sensory nerves. Affecting just a unilateral portion of the body, the disease is assumed to be a reactivation of varicella virus infection which according to studies do not really go away but instead just lie dormant in some nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. With lowered immune system, the viruses are then reactivated and multiply making way for red rash with small and fluid-filled blisters to occur. So tell me, who in their minds would wish to have this disease which with Shingles vaccine can be avoided in the first place? Just like other vaccines, Shingles vaccine operates by stimulating antibodies which basically are the ones that fight off disease-causing substances or antigens. It is most commonly given to people aged 50 and beyond for palpable reasons. Known to reduce the risk of acquiring the disease by up to 50%, Shingles vaccine is also administered to the younger population who the doctor suspects are at greater risk for contracting the disease.
However, it is believed that people who have received the said vaccine still share the possibility of getting infected because the vaccine itself does not promise a perfect and full-blown protection. Being subjected to a lot of studies, Shingles vaccine poses risks but only to a minimum percentage. The risks are more like side effects that usually result after injection of its content that mainly include redness, swelling, tenderness and though rare, headache. Generally, Shingles vaccine is safe but such is not the case once it is given to individuals with severe allergic reactions to any component of the substance, those with AIDS, under steroid therapy, with a history of cancer and other immune compromising conditions including pregnant women as well. The danger of untoward reactions to the vaccine from any of the aforementioned conditions can be detrimental and can possibly lead to serious consequences.
Shingles can come at any time and at any rate. Thus, it is important that we protect ourselves. Shingles vaccine is now available and like any other have its own advantages and disadvantages. But if we would like to gamble on it, we look more seriously on its brighter side. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
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