The question “does the shingles vaccine help with herpes simplex” is perhaps relevant. Herpes zoster is the medical name for shingles, or it can be called humanherpes virus ‘type 3’. It is enough like herpes simplex, that it is treated with aciclovir or other antiviral drug. If you do think you may have shingles, it is important to get the drug for shingles very quickly, within 3 days. Only prompt treatment will help control the duration of symptoms.
Shingles is the name for a recurrence of chickenpox (herpes varicella). Following infection, chickenpox virus remains in the body, hiding in neural ganglions. Shingles can happen when you are run down, ill, stressed, or following a physical or emotional trauma (a fall or the loss of a loved on). Although chickenpox affected the whole body, luckily shingles just appears in one small area, usually the back or chest. See more on our Shingles Support Society website.
A vaccine for shingles, Zostavax, is been provided to people in their 70s for the last ten years. This is because in older people the is a greater risk that nerve pain will continue after the shingles blisters have cleared up. So plenty of people who get repeated herpes simplex symptoms will have benefitted from Zostavax. If it does help control herpes simplex virus, these people will have noticed that their recurrences have stopped.
Some people have found it helps
And we have indeed had people tell us that following the shingles vaccine, their herpes simplex symptoms are noticeably less frequent (or have stopped). Now, that could just be coincidence. We know that over time, recurrences are expected to become less frequent. But it is nice to think that the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine is helpful against herpes simplex.
Let us know (at [email protected]) if you notice that you are having more outbreaks since Zostavax, or fewer…
In any case, if you are offered the shingles vaccine – take it!