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Now cash benefit: vaccination protects against painful shingles

Now cash benefit: vaccination protects against painful shingles


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Infectious disease: vaccination protects against shingles

Health experts believe that approximately two out of ten people who have had chickenpox will develop shingles in the course of their lives. Most people get sick over 50 years. For this group of people, vaccination against shingles has become a health insurance benefit.

Chickenpox and shingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus

A few years ago, chickenpox was considered a harmless childhood disease. But many adults who have gone through this disease are shocked when the infection at the time recalls itself decades later in the form of a painful shingles (medical term: herpes zoster). Both diseases are triggered by the varicella zoster virus, which only sleeps the sleeping beauty in the body. Priv.-Doz explains what revives the pathogen and why vaccination protects it. Dr. med. Jan Ehrchen, senior physician at the dermatology clinic at the UKM (University Hospital Münster), in an interview.

The pathogen remains in the body for life

According to Dr. Any shingles can get Ehrchen, "who has suffered a chickenpox infection. It was mostly in childhood and was relatively harmless. "

The pathogen then remains in the body for life and can be reactivated in certain situations, for example when the immune system is weakened.

"This then manifests itself in the fact that it initially hurts in a certain area of ​​the skin, the patient is in pain - most of the time you don't see anything on the skin," says the doctor.

"Later there is reddening of the skin and grouped blisters develop - then it is quite easy for the experienced dermatologist to diagnose shingles," says Dr. Honor.

Serious complications possible

If the itchy vesicles are scratched, bacterial inflammation of the skin can occur and scars can remain, explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on its patient information portal "gesundheitsinformation.de".

According to the experts, consequences of shingles can also be skin hypersensitivity or pigment disorders.

If shingles appear on the face, it can spread to the eye and cause corneal inflammation there.

If the hearing and facial nerves are affected, hearing loss or paralysis of the face can occur. These symptoms usually disappear after the shingles have healed.

Approximately ten to 20 out of 100 people also experience considerable pain from the inflammation of the nerve when the rash has already healed. This “post-zoster neuralgia” or “post-therapeutic neuralgia” can last for several weeks, months or even years.

People with severely weakened immune systems have an increased risk of serious complications. Inflammation of the lungs, liver, or meninges can develop.

Higher risk with a weakened immune system

People whose immune system is weakened are particularly at risk of developing shingles.

“These can be patients who have to suppress their immune system with medication or who are receiving modulating therapy. These are quite a number of patients these days, ”explains Dr. Honor.

"Or it affects patients with infections that attack the immune system - HIV infection would be one example," said the expert.

According to the IQWiG, it is assumed that around two out of ten people who have had chickenpox will develop shingles in the course of their life. According to the experts, people over the age of 50 mostly fall ill.

Vaccination is now a cash benefit

The vaccination against shingles has been a standard benefit since May 2019 for people aged 50 and over with an immune deficiency or an underlying disease - e.g. diabetes, rheumatism, cardiovascular or chronic respiratory diseases - and for all people aged 60 and over, explains the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK ) on your website.

"Actually, everyone should be vaccinated from the age of 60 because all people who have reached a certain age, even if they have no weakening of the immune system, run a certain risk of developing shingles," says Dr. Honor.

No 100 percent protection

According to Dr. However, Ehrchen cannot offer 100 percent protection.

"But the vaccine has now been approved and has also become a cash benefit because it is much more efficient than the vaccine that we had before," said the doctor.

"So we have a 90 percent chance of success, which is very good."

However, the IQWiG points out that it is not yet possible to say with certainty whether vaccination protection will last longer than four years because the dead vaccine is still relatively new. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


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