shingles vaccine


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Old 07-14-15, 07:43 AM
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shingles vaccine

I went to the doctor this morning and she insisted that I needed to get the shingles vaccine even though I've never had chickenpox. If it takes the chickenpox virus to give you shingles and you never had the virus why would you need the vaccine?

Probably a mute point since I gave in a let them give me the shot but I'm curious if anyone knows anything about whether or not I really needed it.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 07:50 AM
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There's debate about whether any vaccinations are 'needed' and it can get to be an ugly debate quickly.

If I were to think you 'needed' a vaccination based on your history, I would have suggested the chicken pox vaccine, since that's actually a pretty nasty thing to get as an adult and seems appropriate to your situation.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 07:56 AM
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I was exposed to chickenpox as a kid but didn't get it, my kids had it 25-30 yrs ago and I baby sit my grandson when he had it 8-10 yrs ago so I'm not concerned about getting it

What I don't like is how quick the medical field is to push more medicine or tests. My old doctor said my blood pressure was ok [tad high] but the new doc claimed it was way too high and put me on a BP pill. Now my BP is a few points higher than it was prior to taking medication but the BP is acceptable You almost hate to tell about new symptoms/issues because they want to prescribe more pills or tests
 
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Old 07-14-15, 08:17 AM
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My Wife had Shingles a couple years ago, and it was awful . . . . absolutely debilitating. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. Luckily, my immune system wasn't impaired and I didn't get it.

I thought I was immune, because I was vaccinated for Chicken Pox (in the 1960s) . . . . but, unfortunately, that was long after I had the disease . . . . so the Shingles Virus is probably already present, waiting to pounce.

I'm getting the Shingles Vaccine in a few weeks, and we've been told that my Wife would also benefit from getting this vaccine because it does recur . . . . sometimes getting progressively worse, or sometimes getting milder. It varies by individual.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 08:20 AM
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"You almost hate to tell about new symptoms/issues because they want to prescribe more pills or tests" Amen! In addition, if you speculate, they add everything to your medical records without a final determination as to whether the speculation was warranted. I stepped off my front steps onto the sidewalk, rain onto frozen concrete. Totally transparent, but unbelievably slick. Hit the back of my head and split it wide open, blood everywhere. Ok, 6 stitches in the ER and all is well. Next trip, they are quoting that I'm prone to falling. They discovered I'm also prone to exploding. They said they couldn't remove that information from my records but I insisted they add that I am not prone to falling and this was due to ice. I will see if this comes up on my next visit.

As for the shingles, I had them on the inside of my leg, knee, and a bit below the knee. I still have scars. But I see some people get the shingles on their face and neck, I can't imagine.

Not a pro on this topic, but in some cases you can be exposed to something, get it, and show no signs. Unfortunately, I would say, go with the vaccine. They are even telling me I need it after having the shingles.

Bud
 
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Old 07-14-15, 08:51 AM
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If it were me, I'd get it. As others said it can be horrendous. Actually asked about it when I got a flu shot last year but they said I'm not old enough for it to be covered and it wasn't recommended til you hit 60(?).

BTW Mark...not to do a Furd on ya...but it's "moot point", not mute. It's one of my quirks...like "ax" vs "ask".

Hey, did I just coin a new term? "Do a Furd"?
 
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Old 07-14-15, 09:13 AM
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I had shingles about 8 years ago. It's not fun and worst is that it's not short lived. It's not like a cold where it's bad for a few days then start to feel better. I might talk to a second doctor though whether or not if it's advised if you have never had chicken pox.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 09:16 AM
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BTW Mark...not to do a Furd on ya...but it's "moot point"
ya, I know ..... not that my brain was functioning well enough to remember when I typed it
I try to hide it but sometimes the dumb in me sneaks out
 
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Old 07-14-15, 09:55 AM
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I was just reading a short article the other day and one thing it mentioned was that you could have had a mild case of chicken pox and never even realized it, hence the desirability of being vaccinated against shingles.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 11:59 AM
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I received my shingles vaccination long ago, about the time it first became available. I knew a man that had it on his chest and that poor guy couldn't even wear a shirt it hurt so bad and because of that I NEVER want to go through something like that.

As far as erroneous information on medical records...my current doctor insists that I have gout and she made that determination because I have been taking an anti-gout medication (allopurinol) since before I started seeing her. It was prescribed by a urologist to lessen the chance of uric acid kidney stones since I have a history of stones. The first time I went to the podiatrist he saw that notation and asked if I had any gout symptoms. When I told him no he said that a lot of people have slightly elevated uric acid levels in their blood (I'm one) without having gout. I asked my regular doctor to remove that diagnosis of gout but it is still there. She is also on my case for having high cholesterol even though my last test showed a total cholesterol of about 160. Admittedly, my low density lipo-proteins (bad cholesterol) are a bit high and my high density lipo-proteins (good cholesterol) is a bit low but neither is hugely out of range, although my triglycerides are a bit high. When I asked her how to raise the good she said that there is no real answer for that.


"Doing a Furd". There was one last night that I REALLY had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands to avoid responding. I don't remember which one now and that's probably good for the poster.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 12:03 PM
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I was exposed to all childhood type diseases....chicken pox, mumps, measles, etc. and never caught them. Mom made me drink from the same glass as my sister when she had them, but it never took. I still have my appendix and tonsils. Hopefully I am semi-immune to the diseases at this late stage in my life. I'd hate to contract something and be bed ridden.

Edit: Furd, I think I read it. He must have been using voice dictation. There is no way someone could butcher the language that badly watching the letters form from a keyboard.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 01:13 PM
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I'm going to risk being "off-topic my mentioning Pertussis . . . . or Whooping Cough. Since the people paying attention to this thread seem to be among those who might benefit, I'll do this as a Public Service,

I had this "previously common" child-hood disease when I was a mere 18 months old, and almost died (I am told). All my life, I thought that was behind me.

Then, around 2010, both my Wife and I experienced a good case of Pertussis (two of them) simultaneously. I think she brought the infection home from a health conference, of all places.

I think our bouts lasted about 10 days and it really tests the resiliency of your diaphragm, trying to cough up balls of phlegm the size of golf balls, while trying to breath and avoid re-inhaling the material. The coughing is so bad, some people experience cracked ribs due to the hacking. Saying that it's painful is just an understatement, and I'm sure any opportunistic malady lying in wait will take advantage of people in such a weakened state.

This is one of those diseases which was thought to have been virtually eliminated, and many Physicians have never had a Patient with Whooping Cough or heard the tell-tale "whoop" which defines the primary symptom . . . . many have to listen to audio recordings of the cough to make an absolute diagnosis.

I thought I would have been immune . . . . but it turns out that one's immunity wears off in 50 years or thereabouts. That's why Pertussis kills mostly the old codgers now days . . . . and still a few of the very young.

So if you have the chance to get a booster for the Whooping Cough Vaccine, or an initial inoculation . . . . I can heartily recommend it as being worthwhile.

Having the opportunity to experience Pertussis after your vaccine has worn off is one of those pleasures of living to a ripe old age that, unfortunately, may also bring it to an un-timely end.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 01:23 PM
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That's another part of the whole vaccine debate - when are boosters in order? In my opinion, they're often overlooked, leaving people vulnerable to diseases against which they thought they were protected. I have heard ten years as a common time frame for reduced immunity through inoculation whereas many diseases are thought to be unable to recur if you've had them previously.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 01:25 PM
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Now maybe this is a good reason to chill on occasion . I'll let you search, but stress can trigger an episode of shingles. My shingles immediately followed a very stressful event and the shingles my FIL experienced followed a shouting match with the MIL when they were living with us. Very uncharacteristic for him so very stressful and the next day his face broke out in a rash.

So, avoid the shouting events and don't get too upset with the destruction of the Englisssh slanguage.

Bud
 
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Old 07-14-15, 01:30 PM
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One related subject....flu shots. My doctor recommends that I have the Pneumonia shot instead, since my job does not bring me into that close of contact with people, and thus the virus. He says I am more likely to contract Pneumonia than the flu. Makes sense to me, but I'm a naildriver, not a doctor.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051
". . . stress can trigger an episode of shingles . . ."
I think that is very true. I haven't had much experience with Shingles; but as a Real Estate Broker, I often catch people who are under stress . . . . some moving for the 1st time in their lives; some who just lost a job; or a Spouse, either by Death or thru Divorce; and others who are facing Foreclosure or Bankruptcy. Changing residences in itself can be stressful.

The cases of Shingles I had seen have all involved people experiencing one (or more) of those calamities mentioned above . . . . so I don't think it's just coincidental.

And then my own Wife's bout with Shingles in 2009 occurred about 3 days after she learned of the entirely un-expected death of her closest Sister at age 59; an event that can force one to come to terms with their own mortality.

I think there's a causal relationship . . . . not just coincidental.

And shingles is also interesting in that the rash typically affects just one quadrant of a persons torso, split right down the spine and either attacking the chest and above or the abdomen and below; but not both sides . . . . as if it has some origins in the brain.
 
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Old 07-15-15, 04:38 AM
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My wife said something unsettling last night, she reminded me of a friend who got the shingles vaccine earlier this year and then got the shingles Among other places it was on her face with a big concern that if it got in her eyes she could go blind

I tend not to worry about things that haven't happened or have no control over but why did she have to bring that up!!
 
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Old 07-15-15, 05:30 AM
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I agree . I had been reminded that I should get the shots even though I had shingles but have let it slide. Next doctor visit I will have to bring it back up.

That reminds me. It was the previous doctor who was pushing me as I would have had to pick up the vaccine at the pharmacy and bring it in the same day. The new doc hasn't mentioned a word about it. So much for reading my file and a continuation of previous care argh.

Bud
 
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Old 07-15-15, 06:07 AM
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To Vermont's observation of the pattern of shingles - the virus resides in the spinal nerve roots and the outbreak will be along the path that nerve or group of nerves supply (dermatomes).
 
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Old 07-15-15, 06:15 AM
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I remember my case as breaking out in one inch diameter clusters. On the internet I saw images of nerves extending out to an area and then branching out to the surface like roots on a tree. It definitely strikes a specific area which is good in a way, as I don't think a person could survive having it all over their body.

Bud
 
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Old 07-15-15, 08:22 AM
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Bud, most pharmacies can give vaccinations onsite. No reason to have to go back to your doc. And like I said, they checked my insurance and said they would need a scrip because I wasn't yet 60, before the insurance would pay. After 60, no scrip needed.
 
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Old 07-16-15, 12:27 PM
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Check with insurance before going the pharmacy route, however. TriCare, for one, specifically requires it be given at a doctor's office. Why that would matter I have no idea and I had to pay more than the usual amount for co-pay because of the cost of the vaccine. My doc said his cost is something like $180. thought that was a bit hard to believe, but I didn't get into a debate on it.

Cost aside, as all the descriptions I've ever read about shingles are pretty nasty, pretty much worth the $$$.
 
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Old 07-16-15, 03:24 PM
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Thanks for that about Tricare. Not what they told me before, but it was a couple of years back. Might have just been they emphasized the age thing.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 02:52 PM
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A couple weeks ago, I said that I planned to get the Shingles Vaccine during my annual physical at the Veterans Administration, and last week, that is what I did. The Vaccine was from Merck, and it cost me nothing. I was also reminded that despite having had a bout with Shingles a few years ago, my Wife was still vulnerable to a re-occurrence.

So during the past few days, we did a little research to find a source for her (my Wife) to get inoculated, and we checked with the local health clinic where she normally gets her health care services . . . . but they quickly suggested that we get the vaccine from our pharmacy. We normally get all of her pharmaceuticals at Walmart, so we called them.

They offered her the same Merck Shingles Shot that I got at the VA; but the cost (before insurance) was $247.31. She has her Medicare "Part B" and "Part D" through Humana which Walmart bills directly, so we went over to Walmart and she got her inoculation vaccine, administered by the Staff Pharmacist, and her net cost after insurance was a mere $6.60.

I was going to post this in another current thread regarding what the true cost of prescription drugs; but I don't want to repeat myself . . . . and it seems that the same audience is reading both threads.

All I know is that the Shingles Vaccine is well worth the expense, considering the nature of the disease (with which we have personal experience), and Merck could make more money off of their proprietary drug if the General Public was more familiar with this disease.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 04:36 PM
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Thanks for the update Vermont...us older folks are very interested in this sort of stuff.
 
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Old 08-03-15, 03:46 AM
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the cost (before insurance) was $247.31. She has her Medicare "Part B" and "Part D" through Humana which Walmart bills directly, so we went over to Walmart and she got her inoculation vaccine, administered by the Staff Pharmacist, and her net cost after insurance was a mere $6.60.
I also have medicare but with a blue cross supplement. I didn't have to pay anything for the shingles vaccine as it was included in the office visit copay
 
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Old 08-03-15, 01:28 PM
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While we're still on this Subject, I wanted to add a little insight that my Wife gave me last week when reminded her that having had an "outbreak" of shingles DOES NOT make her immune from future "outbreaks".

She recalls not just the rash; but also joint pain which she could only compare to the pain she experienced when she broke her tibia as a teenager while ice skating . . . . the tibia is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg (the other being the fibula) and she broke it when she got her skate blade stuck between two wood slats in the floor of the warm up building, and fell twisting the leg until that bone broke.

The shingles joint pain, she says, is similar to the pain she experienced while waiting for that bone to be set and splinted; but it can involve multiple joints.

I just wanted to add this tidbit for those who might be on the fence regarding whether they should get the vaccine as a preventative.

Looking back in my checkbook, I also see that we paid $184.66 out-of-pocket (Pre-Medicare) for 5 "horse pills that were prescribed for the treatment of shingles at the time; plus several doses of Codeine to alleviate the above pain. There was also a charge to the Clinic for diagnosis.

And since the cost of the treatment medication approximates the cost of the vaccine . . . . I'd vote for the vaccine !

And I guess they call it "outbreaks" because shingles can break out at any time, once the virus takes up residence in your system.
 

Last edited by Vermont; 08-03-15 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 08-03-15, 01:42 PM
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Outbreak is correct - you generally only get chicken pox once but can have shingles multiple time.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 08:12 PM
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I certainly think the shingle vaccine is worth it as it protects other other people from getting the chicken pox. I had chicken pox at the age of 45 at a really bad time in my life as not long after my father was put in a nursing home for rehab before coming home(which never happened he passed away before coming home). My immune system I know was compromised as I had to stay with my father over night at the hospital and later I had the chicken pox. I have had the measles as a child and that was nothing compared to having chicken pox at age 45.

Shingles though is not good either several years after my father passed away my moms friend had shingles and before they could get an anti-viral in her it had almost destroyed her eyesight and hearing. She is up in age but I have read about people at a fairly young age getting shingles and almost losing their eyesight. There was an article in the Washington Post several years ago written by I think about a 33 year old woman who almost lost her sight due to shingles but luckily they saved her sight. So the shingles vaccine is worth it but can be costly.

The cheapest we could find around here is at COSTCO and that was $200.00 so hopefully the price will go down. By the way at least in Maryland you don't have to be a COSTCO member in order to use any pharmacy services so anyone in Maryland should check out the current price. I haven't priced the vaccine in several years so the price may be lower now.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 07:25 AM
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There is merit, IMO, to the old 'chicken pox parties' of the past, as it is a disease much more easily handled in children than adults - to children it is irritating while to adults it can be life threatening.
 
 

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