“Shingles” is a particularly painful disease that causes a blistering rash, followed by serious complications such as chronic pain and damaged nerves. The best protection against this disease, which is triggered by reactivation of the same herpes zoster virus that causes chickenpox, is vaccination. While the current vaccine (Zostavax) reduces the risk of developing shingles by 51%, a new herpes zoster vaccine (Shingrix) is 97% effective in people age 50-70 and 90% effective in those age 70 and over.
For individuals who are undecided whether or not to follow the CDC recommendation that all adults age 60 and over get vaccinated, past studies have linked shingles to an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack. Importantly, Zostavax is injected in one dose, while Shingrix requires two shots, two months apart. Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the vaccine to help prevent future occurrences. Generally, you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider.
With Faith Woodward, Director of Admissions and Marketing at Barclay Friends—to learn more, please call 610-696-5211 or visit our website, https://bf.kendal.org/.