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Protection from Shingles

A case of shingles is a pain. Quite literally. Shingles causes a painful rash that may appear as blisters on one side of the face or body that can last for days or weeks. One-third of people who have had chicken pox (which is 99% of Americans) will get shingles.

The risk of getting shingles and having long-term pain from the disease increases with age. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people 60 years of age or older get a shingles vaccine. The Shingles Prevention Study, which included more than 38,000 individuals over age 60, found the shingles vaccine reduced the risk of developing shingles by 51%. In addition, there was a 67% reduction in persistent nerve pain, a common complication of shingles, in those who were vaccinated. There are some people who should not get the shingles vaccine. They include:

  • People who are allergic to gelatin, neomycin or other components of the vaccine
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Women who are, or may become, pregnant
  • People with moderate or severe acute illnesses

You should always discuss your medical conditions, including allergies and illnesses, with your primary care physician before getting any vaccinations. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles.

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