New Shingles Vaccine Is a Good Alternative for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
The FDA has approved a non-live shingles vaccine, which opens up more possibilities for people living with rheumatoid arthritis. Read on to learn more.
Anyone with a chronic disease understands that chasing health can be exhausting - the target is constantly moving, and just when it seems reachable, it's gone again. People are constantly learning about new ways to live better and healthier. That's the way it goes when it comes to health and medicine.
Research is moving at a rapid pace, and healthcare professionals and researchers alike are always on the lookout for new and better treatments to help others manage rheumatoid arthritis.
It turns out that we may be on the brink of another new discovery that could help the autoimmune community.
Shingles: What's bad about it, and how you can protect yourself
The shingles vaccine has always been something that those on immunosuppressives have to avoid. When you suffer from chronic RA, you're likely on a long course of something that suppresses your immunity. This makes you ineligible for receiving this important vaccine that everyone else gets routinely. What does that mean for you?
What happens when you get shingles?
Unfortunately, that means you aren't protected from the varicella virus, which causes shingles. This virus can cause a painful rash and neurologic symptoms that range from being relatively mild to life-threatening. Most of the time, the mild disease is even quite distressing. It's incredibly painful and takes weeks to eradicate from the body. When your immunity is suppressed, the danger of severe disease is even greater.
Shingles is not something to brush aside
You might think - who cares? It's just a rash. But did you know that shingles can leave very damaging consequences to your body? Some of the symptoms of shingles include a burning pain associated with a rash. The rash is accompanied by blisters that can burst open and crust. The burn sometimes also comes with a horrendous itch too. The discomfort can last for weeks on end and can be horrible for anyone to endure.
Some of the more dangerous consequences of shingles include involvement of your eyes. Shingles of the eye can endanger your vision and cause permanent damage. It's an emergency if there are signs that your vision is affected. Complications can even kill you if the virus takes over your body and affects internal organs. Though it's rare, it's important not to forget that it can become a life-threatening situation.
More commonly, some people end up with permanent nerve damage after a particularly strong bout of shingles. This leads to leftover pain felt by the person even though the virus and rash have already cleared. Though you aren't at risk of dying from this type of nerve damage, it's extremely uncomfortable and sometimes even painful to endure day-to-day.
Currently, the shingles vaccine is a live but weakened version of the virus
So how does the vaccination work? The shingles vaccine is actually a small dose of the actual virus but in a weakened state. This way, your immune system gets a little lesson on how to fight it off without actually getting sick first. However, though this theory sounds great for most healthy people, someone with a weakened immune system might get into trouble. Their immune system won't even be strong enough for the weakened version that we find in vaccines. The person then ends up getting sick from the vaccine itself.
Read on to learn more about the newly developed shingles vaccine and when it will be available.