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Shingles Vaccine

What do I need to know about the Shingles vaccine?
BY: DAYNA RUFF

Have you ever asked yourself or someone, “Do I need to get the Shingles vaccine?” If so, then this article is just for you!

First, you may be wondering, “What is Shingles?” Shingles (also called Herpes Zoster) is a painful outbreak of a skin rash or blisters. This is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Symptoms include burning, tingling pain, or itching and may last from two to four weeks. It often appears on one side of the face or body. The pain that is associated with Shingles can be mild or severe. Some individuals experience itching while others feel pain from just a tender touch.

Furthermore, you may ask, “Am I at risk for Shingles?” There are several risk factors to consider. Anyone who has had chickenpox and/or is 50 years and older may be at risk. Shingles is also more prevalent in those with cancer or those taking drugs such as steroids. If any of these risks apply to you, you should consider receiving this vaccine.

So now the question is “What is the Shingles vaccine?” The Shingles vaccine is called Zostavax which is a single-shot live attenuated vaccine that helps prevent the occurrence of Shingles. According to the CDC, it is recommended that Zostavax be given to individuals who are 60 years and older. Zostavax cannot be used to treat Shingles or to prevent chickenpox. Receiving the Zostavax vaccination does NOT mean that a person will not get Shingles, but it can reduce the risk by 50%.

You may be wondering, “Is it safe for me to receive the Zostavax vaccine?” Zostavax is not safe for everyone. Some contraindications include individuals with a history of an anaphylactic reaction to gelatin or neomycin, taking immunosuppressive therapy, and diagnosed with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Since this is not a complete list of contraindications, contact your physician with concerns.

Finally, you might want to know “How can I receive this vaccine?” The Zostavax vaccine does require a prescription so you will need to make an appointment with your physician. If this vaccine is safe for you to receive the vaccine, you should take the prescription to a local pharmacy where they give Zostavax vaccinations.

Zostavax is an easy, effective approach to help prevent the occurrence of Shingles! Contact The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Norton, Ohio at 330-825-7676 with any questions.

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