Have Postherpetic neuralgia: When is it safe to get the COVID vaccine?

Posted by beeezeee @beeezeee, Nov 1, 2021

In the middle of my 8th week of Shingles, more specifically now, PHN, as the rash is pretty much gone. Gabapentin & Tylenol are slightly easing the pain. At what point is it really safe to get a COVID booster, and a flu shot?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Infectious Diseases group.

Hello @beeezeee and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am certainly sorry to hear about your long-term Shingles pain. I, too, have experienced Shingles and still have some pain even though the rash has been gone for over a year.

Your doctor should be consulted as to the appropriate timing for your COVID and flu vaccine. A phone call to the doctor's office or sending a message through the patient portal will probably give you the answer you need. Have you talked with your doctor about this yet?

REPLY

Thanks Teresa, I will try connecting with my doctor through the Patient Portal. The last time that I asked the doctor, he said not yet, or not for a while.
I know that it’s risky to take the vaccines too soon, but until I take them, I will feel very vulnerable to a breakthrough COVID infection, and to the flu. I had my second Pfizer shot almost nine months ago. It’s almost Flu season, so I’m concerned about that as well.
I neglected to mention in my original post, that I am 76 years old; and that I got the Shingles despite having received the two doses of the Shingrix vaccine, over two years ago – and the Zostavax vaccine quite a while before that.

REPLY
@beeezeee

Thanks Teresa, I will try connecting with my doctor through the Patient Portal. The last time that I asked the doctor, he said not yet, or not for a while.
I know that it’s risky to take the vaccines too soon, but until I take them, I will feel very vulnerable to a breakthrough COVID infection, and to the flu. I had my second Pfizer shot almost nine months ago. It’s almost Flu season, so I’m concerned about that as well.
I neglected to mention in my original post, that I am 76 years old; and that I got the Shingles despite having received the two doses of the Shingrix vaccine, over two years ago – and the Zostavax vaccine quite a while before that.

Jump to this post

Hello again, @beeezeee

Our story of Shingles sounds quite similar. I am in my early 70's and had Shingles one year after my second Shingrix vaccination. I was certainly disappointed in that I was hoping the Shingrix would prevent any attack of Shingles, but not the case. My rash was very small but the pain was unreal and lasted for a long time. Even now, a year later, if I get overly tired or stressed that pain can come back in a milder form. When first diagnosed, I also used an anti-viral med, Gabapentin for the pain as well as prednisone.

Since you have had both of your COVID vaccinations, you must be planning on getting the booster. Is that the case?

In any case, keep in touch with your doctor for the best timing for your booster and also the flu shot.

What type of specialist or doctor are you seeing for this matter?

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello again, @beeezeee

Our story of Shingles sounds quite similar. I am in my early 70's and had Shingles one year after my second Shingrix vaccination. I was certainly disappointed in that I was hoping the Shingrix would prevent any attack of Shingles, but not the case. My rash was very small but the pain was unreal and lasted for a long time. Even now, a year later, if I get overly tired or stressed that pain can come back in a milder form. When first diagnosed, I also used an anti-viral med, Gabapentin for the pain as well as prednisone.

Since you have had both of your COVID vaccinations, you must be planning on getting the booster. Is that the case?

In any case, keep in touch with your doctor for the best timing for your booster and also the flu shot.

What type of specialist or doctor are you seeing for this matter?

Jump to this post

Yes, our stories are similar. I was initially prescribed Valacyclovir for the first week, and Gabapentin after week 4. My rash was somewhat mild, ( and is now gone) but not the pain. My pain is wrapped around my midsection on my right side. There is the constant soreness/burning/rawness. There are the stinging zaps, that for a while had an itching component, but now after 8 weeks, are just sharp stings, that at some parts of the day come more frequently than others. There were the very sharp cutting/ stabbing pains- probably the worst of the pains that came when my clothing lightly touched my skin. Those pains are mostly gone at this point, or are controlled by the Gabapentin. To be continued…

REPLY
@beeezeee

Yes, our stories are similar. I was initially prescribed Valacyclovir for the first week, and Gabapentin after week 4. My rash was somewhat mild, ( and is now gone) but not the pain. My pain is wrapped around my midsection on my right side. There is the constant soreness/burning/rawness. There are the stinging zaps, that for a while had an itching component, but now after 8 weeks, are just sharp stings, that at some parts of the day come more frequently than others. There were the very sharp cutting/ stabbing pains- probably the worst of the pains that came when my clothing lightly touched my skin. Those pains are mostly gone at this point, or are controlled by the Gabapentin. To be continued…

Jump to this post

Teresa, to answer your question – so far I’ve only seen my internist. I was wondering if maybe an infectious disease specialist might better advise me when it is safe to get the COVID booster and the flu shot. What kind of doctor(s) treated your Shingles?
(Someone in a Facebook support group for Shingles, asked what kind of doctor to see for Shingles. The answers were internist, neurologist, Dermatologist, infectious disease specialist, etc. Then someone said “It doesn’t matter what kind of doctor you go to, as long as he has had Shingles.” I agree.

REPLY
@beeezeee

Teresa, to answer your question – so far I’ve only seen my internist. I was wondering if maybe an infectious disease specialist might better advise me when it is safe to get the COVID booster and the flu shot. What kind of doctor(s) treated your Shingles?
(Someone in a Facebook support group for Shingles, asked what kind of doctor to see for Shingles. The answers were internist, neurologist, Dermatologist, infectious disease specialist, etc. Then someone said “It doesn’t matter what kind of doctor you go to, as long as he has had Shingles.” I agree.

Jump to this post

Hi again, @beeezeee

Yes, our stories do take a familiar turn. My rash was also on the right side and the pain was so bad that I thought I might have a kidney stone. I was in the ER and they did a CT scan of that side of my back and since it was clear, they just gave me some pain meds through an IV. I do recall the "zaps" of pain that you described. I also experienced a sunburn-like pain inside of the skin.

I think that your regular doctor can probably advise you about the timing of the vaccines that you need, however, I have a neurologist that I see on a regular basis for another problem, so I contacted her for treatment for Shingles. If you have a neurologist that you have previously seen, you could certainly call about the right timing for the vaccinations. A dermatologist might also be a good idea.

I look forward to hearing from you again. Will you post updates and let me know how you are doing?

REPLY
@beeezeee

Teresa, to answer your question – so far I’ve only seen my internist. I was wondering if maybe an infectious disease specialist might better advise me when it is safe to get the COVID booster and the flu shot. What kind of doctor(s) treated your Shingles?
(Someone in a Facebook support group for Shingles, asked what kind of doctor to see for Shingles. The answers were internist, neurologist, Dermatologist, infectious disease specialist, etc. Then someone said “It doesn’t matter what kind of doctor you go to, as long as he has had Shingles.” I agree.

Jump to this post

Acupuncture helped me recover. I loved the terminology like “cutting off the head and tail of the beast.” Also used some excellent Chinese salves.

REPLY
@basslakebabe19

Acupuncture helped me recover. I loved the terminology like “cutting off the head and tail of the beast.” Also used some excellent Chinese salves.

Jump to this post

Thanks @basslakebabe19 .
I may consider acupuncture at some point. I really appreciate your input!

REPLY

I have shingles on my face, basically from the right half of my nose to my ear, and from right below the cheekbone to the top of my head. I'm in my third week of dealing with it and have been seeing an eye specialist since it started. So far, it's not in my eye thankfully, but is around it and on the upper and lower lids.
I was on an antiviral and an antibiotic for a week each, plus eye drops. The lesions are going away, have about 1/3 left, but the pain, itch, and the "squiggly worms" under my skin are as strong as ever.
When I saw the Ophthalmologist yesterday, he was happy with the progress, but said I still have a long way to go because I have a severe case.
What else can I do to prevent it from getting into my eye or worse? (Top of my head and my face feel numb when I touch them).
I called my regular NP when I was first diagnosed, but she wasn't concerned about anything and told me to just do what I'm doing. I asked her about getting my Covid booster and Shingles vaccine. She said I could get the Covid shot at any time, but I'd have to wait 6 months after my Shingles before I got the Shingles vaccine which doesn't make sense to me. If I have to wait to get the shingles shot, shouldn't I also have to wait until I'm fully recovered to get the Covid shot?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment