Do you know someone who has had Shingles? Chances are you have heard of it but do you really know much about the virus. We are Pine Street Family Practice think it’s important for you to know a little bit about the virus and how you can help protect yourself.
WHAT IS SHINGLES?
Shingles is a viral infection that can cause a very painful rash. This blistery rash can appear almost anywhere on the body which shows up on one side. The virus’ name is varicella-zoster which is the same virus that causes chicken-pox. After you have chicken pox this virus can lie dormant in the nervous system, until it rears its ugly painful head, at what age – not known, where on the body – can be anywhere, how long does it last – undetermined.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?
Some signs and symptoms include fluid filled blisters either in a linear pattern or a group that can be red, itchy, tingly, and painful. This rash can be very sensitive to the touch. Although this virus is not life threatening if the rash develops near the eyes this can be very serious and the pain can be debilitating. Some people have complained of fever, fatigue, headaches, and becoming sensitive to light. This virus can be contagious if you come in contact with an open blister.
WHO CAN GET SHINGLES AND HOW BAD CAN IT BE?
The shingles virus does not discriminate, male or female, young or old, healthy individuals or people who have compromised immune systems. Complications associated with this virus are vision problems, post herpetic nerve pain, and possible neurological problems, like inflammation of the brain or hearing problems.
SO WHAT’S THE BUZZ ABOUT SHINGRIX?
There are 2 vaccines that were developed, Zostavax and Shingrix.
*Zostavax was approved for use in 2006, it’s a one dose vaccine recommended for people over the age of 60 with an 65% effective rate.
*Shingrix was approved for use in 2017 and is the preferred alternative. This is a two dose vaccine for people ages 50 and older, with the second dose given anywhere from two to six months after the first dose has been administered. And if you’ve received the Zostavax vaccine already you can also receive the Shingrix vaccine. The most common side effects of the vaccine is a headache, redness, itching and soreness at the injection site.
A FEW QUESTIONS:
-Who can get the Shingrix vaccine? Anyone over the age of 50, it’s a 2 dose series.
-Can I get the Shingrix vaccine if I receive the Zostavax already? Yes you can.
-How can I get the vaccine? Call the office we ask that you call your insurance company and give them code 9750 and see if the vaccine is covered. Then call our office and schedule a convenient time.
-Why should I get the Shingrix vaccine? In people ages 50-69 the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing shingles and over 90% effective in preventing the pain associated with the rash. In ages 70 and over the vaccine was almost 90% effective.
As we get older our risk of getting shingles increases.
So why get ShingRix-it will help prevent the after-shingles pain that can last for six weeks to six months and in some people, it can last a lifetime.
Protect yourself today! Call the office for an appointment.