Shingles Vaccine

Should I get the Shingles Vaccine?

As of march 2011, the FDA has approved the shingles vaccine for all people age 50 and over. It was previously approved for ages 60 and over.

Shingles is caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox, and the virus then remains in your body throughout your life. Your healthy immune system keeps the virus dormant. When your immune system weakens, which usually happens when you age or undergo a significant medical condition, the virus may proliferate and bring on a case of shingles.

The early symptoms of shingles may include a headache, sensitivity to light and flu-like symptoms. You may then experience a localized rash that is characterized by significant itching, tingling. The rash may affect nerve endings in your skin and cause a significant pain that feels like it wraps around the side of your body. The pain may persist for weeks.

Shingles has been on the rise and it is postulated that this is due to the increased vaccination of children against chicken pox. Every time an adult comes into contact with a child who has the chicken pox, the adult gets the natural equivalent of a booster to the virus. This will strengthen their resistance to the virus. Now, with more children getting vaccinated to chicken pox, adults are less likely to maintain a natural resistance to the virus.

The shingles vaccine is a single dose and acts to boost your immunity and reduce the chances of getting shingles.

Yes, the vaccine is highly recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older.

Do not get the vaccine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, are pregnant, are immuno-suppressed, or have an immuno-deficiency.

If you are 50 years of age or older and have not yet received the shingles vaccine, please talk to your pharmacist or doctor to see if your are a good candidate for receiving this vaccine.