Shingles Vaccine

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

If youre over age 50, the shingles vaccine may help you avoid getting shingles. And if youve had shingles, the vaccine may help prevent a recurrence. Dr. Edward Hill discusses shingles vaccination in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Shingles is a viral infection of the nerve root that causes pain and a band of rash that spreads on one side of your body. Shingles is most common in older adults.

The shingles vaccine, Zostavax, contains a weakened chickenpox virus. The shingles vaccine helps stimulate your immune system to battle disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, reducing the risk of getting shingles in people aged 50 and older. In scientific studies, the shingles vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by about 50 percent.

Shingles can be painful in itself, but some of its complications are worse. About 20 to 30 percent of people who get it go on to develop severe pain called post-herpetic neuralgia. It can last for months, years, or the rest of a persons life.

Because shingles is a disease that primarily affects older people, a shingles vaccine could make a huge difference as baby boomers reach their sixties. Discuss with your physician the risks and benefits of getting a shingles vaccine.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.