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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

 

Get Recommended Immunizations

Patient getting a shot

Shingles and Prevention

By Health Promotion Disease Prevention Committee
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Did you know that one out of three adults age 60 and older may get shingles?  Shingles is a painful skin rash that may last two to four weeks.  It is caused by the same virus (germ) that causes chickenpox.  After having chickenpox, this virus can stay asleep in your nerve cells for years.  It sometimes becomes active again and travels to the skin.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, but your risk is higher if you are 50 years of age or older.  It is also more common in people who have an illness that weakens the immune system, have certain types of cancer or take medicines that slow down your immune system.

Shingles causes a red rash with blisters that burn, tingle and itch. It is most often on the back, chest or abdomen, but can form on one side of the face around an eye. In addition to being very painful, it can cause blindness and other problems if not prevented or treated.

More than a million people in the U.S. get shingles each year.  There is a vaccine (shot) that can lower your chance of getting shingles.  If you do get shingles after the vaccine, it will likely not be as severe.

The shingles vaccine is safe for most people.  Some people may have some redness or soreness around the area of the vaccine.   Severe allergic reactions are rare, but can occur.

Reduce your risk today. Get VACCINATED! If you have questions about the shingles vaccine, talk to your VA primary care provider today.
To learn more:
http://www.veteranshealthlibrary.org/Encyclopedia/142,89203_VA
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/vaccines.asp

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