A young woman talks about her experience with shingles.

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  • Anonymous

    Why don’t the Varivax immunizations work for this, if it’s the same virus as chickenpox?

  • Anonymous

    Varivax is the chickenpox virus. It is alive but attenuated; through selective breading it is not a very potent virus. It has just enough potency to stimulate an immune response like the wild type, but to do so without producing serious disease for most.

    That caveat, ‘for most’, must be considered by anyone using live viruses. If you have a normal immune system odds are quite good that it will help you with much greater likelihood than hurt you; but hurt you it can. Do not use live viruses if you have an immune disorder, take steroid medications, or are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

    One of the as yet unknowns is whether it will also be capable of causing shingles just like chickenpox found in nature. It seems from early experience that shingles is possible but itself might be less common and less severe. Only time, in this case a few more decades, will tell.