ASK DR. H: Should I get shingles vaccine?

Q:  Is it helpful to get the shingles vaccine if I’ve already had shingles? — M.P., Lima, Ohio

A:  Yes. The Zostavax vaccine, approved for folks 60 older who have a healthy immune system, can cut the risk of having an outbreak of shingles (a reactivation of the chickenpox virus) at least in half — even if they’ve already had a previous outbreak. Furthermore, in folks who receive the Zostavax vaccine and end up getting shingles, there’s a two-thirds reduction in the incidence of “post-herpetic neuralgia,” a very painful, often chronic nerve pain that typically follows a bout of shingles.

Dr. Mitchell Hecht is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Send questions to him at: “Ask Dr. H,” P.O. Box 767787, Roswell, GA 30076. Because of the large volume of mail received, personal replies are not possible.

2 comments Add your comment

Steve Swimmer

August 15th, 2009
10:07 am

WMDs ? Usama, send your address care of this blog and I’ll send you some drawings. I think you will be impressed. You will see how I started with herpes zoster, and mutated it over time with simple radiation (it took about 8 months and a bit of luck) until the final mutation. The newly crafted virus can live (unlike shingles) an almost benign life in human Fallopian tubes. Causing, no pain or notice in any way except for: all ova passing through will be infected beyond any possibility of leaving enough DNA in tact for positive fertilization. And, very neatly, all of the by-product will slough off during normal periodic cycles. So cool. We students cooked this virus up at my University during the “free love” days, thinking this would be a great way to have unbridled sex without fear of unwanted pregnancies. I mean, back then, STDs were the least of our fears. However, once we realized there is no way to stop a newly minted, virus (e.g. HIV/AIDS) we all became very afraid and abandoned the project.

Today, thanks to you, I understand it is time to make way for the next dominate species; and, am therefore, re-starting the process. Together we can do it. The end of human suffering is nigh since the humans eliminated by the virus are never even born. Additionally, the virus is totally non-discriminating all humans are eliminated not just special groups and the virus will spread exponentially without much help. We will go down in history as the “Masters” of the “Ultimate Solution.” Only bad part for me is I will be famous for only one more generation. And, for you, sir, I’m afraid under these new circumstances, there just aren’t going to be 72 virgins for each of your guys. Some of your people are just going to have to sacrifice in the name of ending humanity. So, go ahead. Send that address and you can have the plan that will end all of humanities problems forever.


August 16th, 2009
4:56 pm

This recommendation is absurd. Do you know that because of the chicken pox vaccine, children are getting shingles for the first time? It is the same virus that causes both. Only shingles can occur because of the vaccine AND the vaccine is not protecting a lot of children from chicken pox. We are all over vaccinated. The vaccines are the CAUSE of many cases of shingles.