Shingles Shot – Does your loved one need it?

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Shingles can be a very painful and irritating time.

Shingles usually starts as a painful rash on one side of the face or body. The rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7–10 days and clears up within 2–4 weeks.

Before the rash develops, there is often pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will develop. This may happen anywhere from 1 to 5 days before the rash appears.

Most commonly, the rash occurs in a single stripe around either the left or the right side of the body. In other cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face. In rare cases (usually among people with weakened immune systems), the rash may be more widespread and look similar to a chickenpox rash. Shingles can affect the eye and cause loss of vision.

Other symptoms of shingles can include:  temperature, headache, chills, nausea

Shingles is not necessary a deadly disease but I have heard people describe it as extremely painful.  If you have had chicken pox, the virus is in your body.

Mom’s doctor suggested one for mom.  In the small town she lived in, we had to go to the pharmacy and pick it up.  It was refrigerated so we had to be at the doctor’s office within one hour.  Mom said it wasn’t the simplest shot she had ever had but it wasn’t horrible.

One thing that struck me odd was that mom had to pay over $100.00 out of her own pocket for it.  This has been a few years ago so Medicare or private insurance might be paying for it now.  Regardless after reading about the symptoms, it was worth it for mom.

I also had an elderly gentleman that I take care of that had the shot and got shingles anyway.  It might have had to do with his condition as he does dialysis and that could have affected it.

Once again, information from the CDC:

Shingles Vaccination: What You Need to Know

The vaccine for shingles (Zostavax®) is recommended for use in people 60 years old and older to prevent shingles. The older a person is, the more severe the effects of shingles typically are, so all adults 60 years old or older should get the shingles vaccine.

The shingles vaccine is specifically designed to protect people against shingles and will not protect people against other forms of herpes, such as genital herpes. The shingles vaccine is not recommended to treat active shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after the rash is gone) once it develops.

Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox or not. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember getting the disease.

Some people should NOT get shingles vaccine.

  • A person who has ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
  • A person who has a weakened immune system because of
    • HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
    • treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
    • cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy,
    • cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.

Remember to talk with your medical person before making the decision.  Your loved ones condition will determine whether it would be good for them.

Have you or someone you known had shingles?  Was it as bad as they said?


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