Get Vaxxed, People!

 

Not that vax; you made your decision about Covid long ago. I’m talking about Shingrix, a vaccine to prevent shingles recommended to people 50 and older. My doctor never mentioned it to me and, for the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been dealing with my oversight.

Shingles is a weird little bugger. If you ever came down with chickenpox, a virus named varicella-zoster lays dormant in your body. Then, if your immune system is weakened by stress, certain medications, or disease — whammo, it springs back to life. About one in three Americans get shingles, usually after age 50. (My wife got it in her mid-40s, so your mileage might vary.)

A big hit to my immune system was Covid, which I had about two months ago. In mid-March, my ear started hurting badly. Then fever and chills. Finally, five days in, I dragged my stubborn self to urgent care where they diagnosed shingles at a glance.

The first sign of shingles is a painful rash, usually a strip of blisters wrapped around either the left or the right side of your torso. It also can appear around one side of the neck, one eye, or one ear. I had heard of the torso rash, but not the facial stuff, which is why I figured I had a random ear infection or something.

This is a specific, rare form of shingles called “Ramsay Hunt syndrome,” which attacks a facial nerve. I have all the symptoms: facial paralysis, hearing loss, tinnitus, and severe vertigo. (That last part has been the most annoying, limiting work and keeping me stuck at home.)

I was treated with antibiotics, steroids, and over-the-counter pain pills, and it is very slowly improving. Very slowly. It’s supposed to last three to five weeks and Monday will be the start of week three. Worst case scenario, I could be stuck with facial paralysis and hearing loss for months or years, but apparently that’s rather rare.

So consult your physician about Shingrix!*

* This post was not paid for by GlaxoSmithKline, but the author is willing to accept a large cash payment. (Mostly to cover all the DoorDash I’ve been ordering since I can’t leave the house.)

Published in Healthcare
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 57 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jon, I’m so sorry to hear of your condition! I will probably get the vaccine eventually, but now is not the time for me. Wishing a faster recovery than you anticipate!

    • #1
  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    My father had shingles and the muscles in his legs atrophied. Shingles for him was extremely painful. I think stress is a big cause of its onset.

    It’s a two-shot injection about a month apart. I’ve had mine but at the pharmacy.

     

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I’ve done it. Go to your pharmacy and do it.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I had the shingles vaccination.  Came down with it in my 30s before they had it. When I turned 60 they recommended it and I got it.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    So sorry Jon! It is a weird one. I have a friend who caught the flu (she works in the school district) and shingles at the same time! She couldn’t get out of bed due to the nerve pain in her neck and spine, but she never got the rash. Her doctor told her “one more thing and I’m admitting you to the hospital.” 

    After that and another friend’s case, I made sure to get my Shingrix vax. This is not one to mess around with. And the vaccine is a two-parter, so start today.

    • #5
  6. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    We got our Shingrix vaccines last year. My sister got shingles a few years back, and she said it was extremely painful.

    • #6
  7. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    My aunt had shingles on half of her face. She almost lost her eye. My boss has also had shingles on and off for a number of years. I got the shot as soon as available. Best wishes on your recovery Jon. (I almost typed Job which might be how you are feeling right now.)

    • #7
  8. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

     This vaccine is a real vaccine. It works for life or at least for many years. 

    I heard it works best if you wait longer between doses. I waited the minimum 2.5 months but you can wait as long as six. 

    Best wishes for a fast recovery Jon. 

    • #8
  9. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    The old shingles vaccine was crappy.  If you got the old one, you should get this new Shingrix. 

    • #9
  10. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Good advice, Jon.  However, it’s worth mentioning that a small percentage of people who receive the vaccine will have some adverse reactions.

    My wife, several of our neighbors, and most of my family (adult) received the vaccinations with nothing more than a little soreness in the arm.

    With me, it was very different.  After both injections I had a high fever, chills, vomiting, and diarrhea that lasted nearly three days.  

    I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from taking the injections; far from it.  The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh a couple of days of discomfort.

    Still, I wouldn’t schedule any big social events until a few days after the injection(s).

    • #10
  11. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    I got shingles just after I turned 32, so it can happen to younger people too.  I had had a mild or very mild case of chicken pox when I was about 5 years old.

    Shingles was never painful or super painful for me.  It just felt really weird.  I felt like I had been stabbed or probed by aliens.  That was the only way to describe it.  I had had back pain before, but this was something different.  (The spots looked like roofing shingles, but apparently the name comes from something completely different.)

    That was the first time I diagnosed something myself.  My mother suggested that it might be shingles when I was visiting her.  I used her dial-up Internet connection, although that was all I had back then too.  I searched for shingles, and hey those spots look just like what I have.  I saw an urgent care doctor the next morning.  I said I think I have shingles.  He agreed.  He gave a prescription for Valtrex.  Valtrex?  The lady Klingon from Star Trek III?  Oh, wait.  That’s Valkris.  Apparently shingles is a type of herpes, so I got to brag about having herpes.

    • #11
  12. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Get better, buddy.

    I got the world’s least bad case of shingles about the time everyone went into a tizzy over the Wuhan coronavirus, back in March of 2020. A mild rash on my right arm, one night of fever and a couple of days not feeling great, and I was over it. I was lucky; I know how bad it can be for some people. I guess that leaves me with about a five percent chance of a repeat occurrence, and I’m too stubborn and medically counter-cultural to get a shot for it now.

    I got COVID Lite at the beginning of this year. Piece of cake. I’m going to credit it to hybrid vigor, an advantage of being a mutt descended from sketchy French peasant ancestors.

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    Sorry to hear that, Jon. Get better soon. I had shingles in 1994, some of the worst pain I’ve ever known. 26 years later, at times of great stress, I still get something called postherpetic neuralgia across the nerve band where I had the shingles. It feels like ants crawling up and down under my skin. It’s a fairly common aftereffect, although mine has lasted an unusually long time, probably for life. Got the shingrix vax a couple of years ago as a preemptive measure against a recurrence of the disease itself.  If you’ve never had shingles, please consider it, because a bad case is excruciating. 

    • #13
  14. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I got COVID Lite at the beginning of this year. Piece of cake. I’m going to credit it to hybrid vigor, an advantage of being a mutt descended from sketchy French peasant ancestors.

    I had a bad cold in November, Omicron in February, and now Shingles. Covid was a breeze compared to the other two.

    • #14
  15. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    My older brother got shingles last year, so I got the shot.  I guess it works.  

    • #15
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Thanks for the nudge. Get well soonest.

    • #16
  17. StoughtonObserver Member
    StoughtonObserver
    @Bruce W Banerdt

    This vaccine was a life changer for me. The almost monthly attacks were debilitating. 2 years and not a single recurrence. One of the best miracles of modern science.

    • #17
  18. db25db Lincoln
    db25db
    @db25db

    I’m sorry to hear that Jon.  My dad had Ramsay Hunt Syndrome a few years ago and had all those same symptoms, including an eyelid that wouldn’t close (the worst).  However, he got his facial movement all back, and they inserted a tiny fleck of gold into his eyelid to help it fully close. The hearing never came back in one ear.  It’s a nasty disease but most people recover and I’m sure you will as well.

    • #18
  19. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    The old shingles vaccine was crappy. If you got the old one, you should get this new Shingrix.

    Yeah, I got the old vaccine about 10 years ago and I got shingles last summer. I had it on my scalp. Started with sharp pains starting behind my right ear and shooting up to the top of my head. I thought I had a brain tumor. Then the rash started on my scalp. After diagnosis I took acyclovir and prednisone and the major discomfort was gone in a few weeks. There was some extended itching and scabby sores.

    Jon’s case sounds terrible. This darn affliction has so many manifestations – mine wasn’t so bad compared to others. I am going to get Shingrix also.

    • #19
  20. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    Its basically the Chickenpox vaccine. Since Shingles is what old people get when they get Chickenpox. Many countries actually recommend you don’t get the Chicken Pox Vaccine for kids (like UK and many European nations)  because it hurts public health for older people. It used to be only older people who were never around kids were the only people who ever got Shingles. Not any more.  So now that kids are getting the Chicken Pox Vaccine adult are getting Shingles at a much higher rate. So basically it’s a vaccine almost everyone over 50 needs because of the vaccine.

     So you need the vaccine in America even more than a few decades ago. Also, you have to re-up it every few years.

     

    • #20
  21. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):

    Its basically the Chickenpox vaccine. Since Shingles is what old people get when they get Chickenpox. Many countries actually recommend you don’t get the Chicken Pox Vaccine for kids (like UK and many European nations) because it hurts public health for older people. It used to be only older people who were never around kids were the only people who ever got Shingles. Not any more. So now that kids are getting the Chicken Pox Vaccine adult are getting Shingles at a much higher rate. So basically it’s a vaccine almost everyone over 50 needs because of the vaccine.

    So you need the vaccine in America even more than a few decades ago. Also, you have to re-up it every few years.

     

    Well, that’s interesting.

    My three oldest kids got a healthy dose of Chicken pox once son #1 started Kindergarten, brought it home and handed it off to daughter and son #2.

    By the time son #3 came around, the chicken pox vaccine was available and his pediatrician recommended it as he also had asthma, and some asthma medications can make chicken pox worse. So he got the vaccine at around 18 months old.

    And then proceeded to get chicken pox once he started kindergarten. Worse case of all four.

    And then daughter got shingles when she was 14. Not bad, but at 31 she still gets the occasional tingle.

    I had chicken pox, as did all my siblings (oh, the memories …)  All my kids had chicken pox (worse memories) as did most of my nieces and nephews (made for a very memorable Easter). Do I need the shingles vax or not? I’ve got several friends who developed terrible shingles (after the “other” shot) and frankly I’m just weary of all things medical.

    • #21
  22. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Sounds miserable.  Sorry to hear it, and I hope you get back to w^H^H^H^H feel better soon!

    • #22
  23. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Good advice, Jon. However, it’s worth mentioning that a small percentage of people who receive the vaccine will have some adverse reactions.

    My wife, several of our neighbors, and most of my family (adult) received the vaccinations with nothing more than a little soreness in the arm.

    With me, it was very different. After both injections I had a high fever, chills, vomiting, and diarrhea that lasted nearly three days.

    I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from taking the injections; far from it. The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh a couple of days of discomfort.

    Still, I wouldn’t schedule any big social events until a few days after the injection(s).

    A lot of people get chills and a fever after the second shot. Before Covid that wasn’t a big thing. But now people mistake the symptoms for Covid.

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    People who got the Pox Vax won’t ever get Shingles.  Shingles is not catching the virus again, it is the virus in you saying hi.

    The idea kids should not get the pox vax is insane.

    • #24
  25. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    That was the first time I diagnosed something myself. 

    One of the best things to diagnose.  It’s what we call a “doorway diagnosis”.

    One glance at the pattern of the rash and , yup it’s Shingles.

    Valtrex helps, but not a cure.  One thing I always warn patients about is something called “post herpetic neuralgia.”  The virus is expressed in the sensory nerves, causing the intense pain and the pattern of the rash. a kind of strip on 1 side of the body.  In some unfortunate patients they can have long lasting, chronic pain which can be very difficult to control and they are miserable.  Those patients need follow up with a neurologist.

    • #25
  26. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I got COVID Lite at the beginning of this year. Piece of cake. I’m going to credit it to hybrid vigor, an advantage of being a mutt descended from sketchy French peasant ancestors.

    I had a bad cold in November, Omicron in February, and now Shingles. Covid was a breeze compared to the other two.

    Shingles can also cause some serious problems.  If you get it on the face it can affect the eye and cause damage to your cornea.  If in the ear can cause hearing loss or vertigo.

    So yeah, get vaccinated.

    • #26
  27. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Getting your shot for Shingles and getting your periodic colonoscopy, should be seen as changing the oil on your car.  Get them done, and they are preventable maintenance for life like getting your annual flu shot.

    As I was writing that, I wondered about other preventative maintenance for life.  The thought that came to my mind was to annually put $2,000 an IRA.  Next annually put $2,000 and open a Roth IRA.  Then take $3,000 and open an investment account at Vanguard, and have it automatically funded every week and forget about all of them.  Read about them when you get statements, but don’t touch them.

    Next is to exercise every day.  Nothing strenuous.  Just enough to break a sweat.

    I then realized the most important thing to do was, for me, was to humble myself, get on my knees and say the Lord’s Prayer and the Serenity Prayer.  (I have done that faithfully the first thing every morning since June 1993, when I turned my Will and my Life over to the care of God.)

     

    • #27
  28. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    My sister came down with shingles some years ago, while on vacation in Europe (I imagine that must have put a damper on things). She urged me to get the vaccine, and after hearing her account of the illness, I called my doctor. They had only recently lowered the recommended age to 50, so I was able to get it.

    That was the old single-dose vaccine. I just recently upgraded to Shingrix after confirming that my insurance covered it even if I’d had the older vaccine.

    I will say, I felt pretty lousy the day after each dose. But by all accounts that was vastly preferable to actual shingles.

    • #28
  29. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    My sister came down with shingles some years ago, while on vacation in Europe (I imagine that must have put a damper on things). She urged me to get the vaccine, and after hearing her account of the illness, I called my doctor. They had only recently lowered the recommended age to 50, so I was able to get it.

    That was the old single-dose vaccine. I just recently upgraded to Shingrix after confirming that my insurance covered it even if I’d had the older vaccine.

    I will say, I felt pretty lousy the day after each dose. But by all accounts that was vastly preferable to actual shingles.

    This is helpful information.  I have had a Shingles Vaccine five years ago, and I have my annual physical coming up.  I will ask my doctor about this.  Thanks.

    • #29
  30. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Oh my! That is a bad case!  I’ve had it several times – once as a kid and young adult with no symptoms, then in my 50’s I got it right after the flu, and that was very painful. I saw the rash and thought I was bit by a spider. Then I thought I had injured a rib and I called a local chiropractor who was also my neighbor. He opened his practice after hours to adjust me and check. It didn’t help, so I went to my usual chiropractor and she said that is shingles when she saw the small bumps on my stomach..  She gave me a sheet about it, and told me to avoid nuts and eat mushrooms. Anything with the amino acid arginine (nuts) because it “feeds” the virus – avoid!!  No almond milk or peanut butter – I had to even stop taking vitamins until it cleared up.

    https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/shingles/5-foods-to-avoid-with-shingles

    It was painful to even ride in a car or drive, every little bump hurt. I have scoliosis, so between the two I could barely work (at a beach property mgmt co at the time). The pharmacist suggested it was too late to start a shingles med and to let it run it’s course. The local health food store confirmed the mushrooms act as a very powerful deterrent to the virus – and told me it attacks viruses. They even said that mushrooms and compost are used to clean up some oil spills – it just absorbs toxins and restores the soil!  It was at that point I decided to quit my job and eventually start my own co. so life-changing.  I’ve been ok for years since – thankfully.

    I wish you a speedy recovery soon!!

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.