I got my vaccine on a Friday, felt headachy and rundown all weekend. By Tuesday I was getting an outbreak. I hadn't had one in a pretty long time and I take acyclovir when I do. Coincidence or a side effect of the vaccine?
If empirical evidence means anything the same thing happened to me. I got a type 2 outbreak within 24 hours of the shingles vaccine. I agree that they are not the same virus but it's quite possible that the shingles vaccine put a strain on our immune systems and caused a type 2 outbreak. Interestingly, my cycle of outbreak was every two months but I haven't gotten an outbreak since the shingles vaccine over a year ago. I can't find any studies on this but for what it's worth.
I have had genital herpes so long that the outbreaks were few and far between, yrs between. Since getting the shingles vaccine it seems I have been getting one outbreak after another. At least one every other month and worse then I used to get them and sometimes in more then one area at a time.
I had the shingles vaccine a few weeks ago and started breaking out in my genital area. I have had fever blisters on my lips from time to time during my lifetime, but have never had an outbreak in my genital area. My OB-GYN doctor put me on Valtrex a few days ago. He did a culture and I am waiting for the results.
I just read a study done in France on a small number of subjects who had herpes simplex 1 or 2 or both. Half were given the anti varicella zoster vaccine used for shingles prevention and all 24 of them were cured of the Herpes 1 and 2 outbreaks over the next 6 years of follow up.
Shingles, caused by the chicken pox virus, is not the same virus (actually, two viruses) that cause herpes. However, chicken pox, herpes simplex 1, and herpes simplex 2 are all members of the same viral family, herpesviridae. Other members of the family include the Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis) and cytomegalo virus. This means that these viruses are closely related.
Herpes anti-viral medication can be used to treat outbreaks of shingles, indicating that the viral replication among herpesviridae members is very similar in all viruses.
The shingles vaccine is a live, attenuated vaccine. What this means is that you are receiving a weakened virus that will trigger a response in your immune system, allowing your acquired immune system to build antibodies against the chicken pox virus (since that's what causes shingles). In about 1 in 70 people, the injection can cause a headache, and approximately the same number of people get very small chickenpox blisters near the site of the injection.
All of this is lead-in to say, "no one really knows, but it doesn't seem likely". The only reason anyone gets chickenpox blisters after getting the vaccine is because they receive a weakened live virus that can cause the blisters. You didn't get more herpes virus, and the antibodies for the two viruses are almost certainly different enough that your body couldn't devote the antibodies it normally produces to fight your herpes virus to fight the varicella (chickenpox) virus. However, it's possible that in fighting the new exposure to varicella, your immune system didn't keep up with its fight against herpes, and the herpes virus was able to start replicating again.
In order to tell what really happened, immunologists would have to do a double blind placebo study to determine whether people with herpes who get a shingles vaccine a) are responding to the contents of the vaccine as opposed to the stress/"nocebo" effect of getting a shot, and b) if their immune system drops the ball in the fight against herpes in order to pick up the fight against varicella.
The good news is that once your body has responded to the shingles vaccine, you get extra protection against herpes. You should be able to expect fewer outbreaks and less pain during an outbreak. And the same, of course, goes for shingles.
I've had recurring genital herpes outbreaks about 1 - 2 per year since I was 19 years of age. I got a shingles vaccine almost 4 years ago and have not had a single outbreak of herpes that I've been aware of since. My outbreaks were never very severe and I had never taken anything for it.
My doctor was surprised when I mentioned this too him, I intend to get tested for the virus and he's fairly hopeful that I will only show anti-bodies but no viral load. Here's hoping.
I had my first breakout 2 years ago, 3 weeks after a Shingles vaccination. I have never had any previous issues and was totally monogamous for over 30 years. I was however an EMT and could possibly have been infected during that time.
When speaking to my doctor, he said my body's immune system could have been able to hold off the virus outbreak but was overwhelmed fighting it and the shingles virus.
I haven't had a second outbreak in over 2 years.
I've had genetal herpes for 6 months and I have a chronic condition. Neuralgia pain every day. Burning skin every day. Lesion outbreaks once a week that look like a pimple or 2. I read a lot on the France study and decided to try it. I made sure that I started with the chickenpox vaccine due to some people stating that they were worse off after getting the shingles vaccine. It is 14 times stronger. And with a booster could easily add another varivax shot. Its been one month. I felt tired the day after. similar to when i get a flu vaccine. The next couple days I didn't feel anything different than I had been. Outbreaks were the same. Since about a week after the shot my neuralgia has been getting a little worse. Not a lot worse, but toward the more painful end. I'm hoping that over the next few months the vaccine will stop hurting and start helping my condition. we will see.
- Acyclovir Information for Consumers
- Acyclovir Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Acyclovir (detailed)
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