Shingles, also known as the herpes zoster virus, is a blister-type rash along a nerve pathway that causes pain, and paresthesia (sensation of pricking or tingling). Often it appears on the body or face and may last 2-4 weeks. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and chills. Pain is a common symptom and can be severe. The pain is described as burning, sharp, or throbbing. It can last for months to years after the rash has cleared. This is is called post-herpetic neuralgia. This is a serious complication of shingles and can affect basic daily activities such as walking and sleeping. Other complications from shingles can include weakness, facial or muscle paralysis, loss of hearing or vision problems.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles as the virus remains dormant in the central nervous system and can reactivate causing shingles. The risk of developing shingles increases as the immune system naturally weakens with age. It is more common in people over 50 years of age and those with a weakened immune system. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.
How can I prevent Shingles?
The Shingrix vaccine provides over 90% protection against shingles after receiving two doses of the vaccine.
Who should receive the Shingrix vaccine?
The vaccine is recommended but not provided free to individuals 50 years of age and older. It can safely be administered to individuals who are immunocompromised or who are taking immune compromising medications. Individuals who have already received the Zostavax shingles vaccine can also receive Shingrix, as long as it has been at least 1 year since receiving Zostavax.
Shingrix vaccine schedule:
2 doses given between 2-6 months apart.
Protection from the vaccine lasts at least 4 years. There is no recommendation for a booster dose.
Call us at 604-251-1975 to arrange an appointment or to receive further information about the Shingrix vaccine.
Visit our Kitsilano clinic for a pre-travel consultation and vaccinations to protect your health.
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