As we get older, the risk of contracting shingles increases. That is one of the reasons why the CDC currently recommends that anyone over the age of 60 years should have the shingles vaccine to reduce the risk that they will get shingles or Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN). Statistics show that the vaccine reduces the chance of contracting shingles by roughly 51% and if you have already had shingles, it can help to prevent a relapse. Even if you do still get shingles after having the vaccine, it will likely be a much more short-lived attack than usual. The good news is that you won’t need to make a doctor’s appointment. Eligible people can get the vaccine at their local pharmacy.
What is Shingles?
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is caused by the same Varicella-Zoster virus that causes Chickenpox. It manifests as a painful, acute inflammation of the nerve ganglia and it is usually accompanied by a skin eruption. Around 25% of people will have at least one case of shingles in their lifetime. The dominant symptom of shingles is pain ranging from a constant dull burning sensation to a sharper, more intense stabbing pain. The other characteristic sign is a rash consisting of itchy blisters that closely resemble chickenpox.
Patients may also suffer from headaches, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. Shingles will typically last for 2 to 4 weeks and affect one area of the body, or one side of the body. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot catch shingles from someone with chickenpox or shingles, but it is possible – albeit very uncommon – to catch chickenpox from an individual with shingles if you have never had it before.
Shingles are not usually serious and is treated with pain relief in most cases. Some patients may require an antiviral medication, but this is not always the case. It can also be a good idea to cover the blisters with non-adherent dressings to reduce the risk of infection. Your local pharmacy can offer advice on the best options.
Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine?
It is advised that anyone over the age of 60 years should get the shingles vaccine from their doctor or local pharmacy. It is important to have the vaccine whether or not you have previously had chickenpox or shingles. The vaccine not only prevents shingles but can lessen the future recurrence of the disease in those who have already been exposed to it. If you have a severe allergic reaction to gelatin or any other component of the vaccine, then it is advisable to consult a doctor before having the vaccine. The same goes for anyone with a weakened or suppressed immune system.
If you have not already done so, head to your local pharmacy where we can administer your shingles vaccination quickly and hassle-free. We want you to be in the best possible health which is why we strive to make services like this available to the local community.
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Vaughn Pharmacy is a local, family-owned pharmacy serving the community in Powell, TN. Specializing in providing personalized and attentive prescription programs to our patients, we believe you are more than just a number – you’re part of our family!