Shingles is a painful skin rash with blisters. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can later become active again as shingles. As you get older, your immune system weakens and your chance of developing shingles goes up. Shingles is more common in people over 50 years of age or in those with immune systems weakened by medication or disease. It doesn't matter how healthy you feel – shingles can strike when you least expect it. About 1 out of 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.
Shingles usually appears as a rash on one side of the face or body. The rash may last for 2 to 4 weeks. Before the rash appears, some people may experience pain, itching or tingling of the skin. Other early symptoms of shingles include fever, headache, nausea, and chills. The most common symptom of shingles is pain which can be severe. About 1 in 5 people who get shingles may have severe pain that lasts months to years after the rash has cleared. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
The Shingles Vaccination
The shingles vaccine ZOSTAVAX® protects against herpes zoster, more commonly referred to as shingles. Shingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. The vaccine is approved by Health Canada.
The shingles vaccine is the best way to protect you from getting shingles. The vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting shingles by 50%. For those who still get shingles after being immunized, the vaccine can reduce pain, including the type of pain that lingers after shingles.
Talk to your doctor or Peoples Pharmacist today to find out how to help protect yourself against shingles and if the shingles vaccination is right for you. ZOSTAVAX® is the only vaccine indicated to help prevent shingles in individuals 50 years of age or older. ZOSTAVAX® is indicated for the prevention of shingles. It cannot be used to reduce or treat the complications associated with active shingles.ZOSTAVAX® does not protect everyone, so some people who get the vaccine may still get shingles. However, if you develop shingles despite being vaccinated, ZOSTAVAX® can help reduce the intensity and duration of pain.