What is it?
Shingles is a virus called Varicella
It is the same virus that causes chickenpox
If you’ve had chickenpox the virus stays hidden in the nerve tissue in your spinal cord
However, as we age our immune system naturally weakens and as a result the shingles virus sometimes reactivates increasing the risk of developing shingles
What are the symptoms?
A painful blistering rash that can last several weeks
Other symptoms may include burning, numbness or tingling, itching, fever and chills, general aches and pains, headache, fatigue
Common sites for the rash include the chest, back, buttocks, neck and sometimes the face or scalp
Serious complications from shingles can include vision, hearing and neurological problems including balance disorders and potentially permanent neuralgia (nerve pain)
How can I contract shingles?
If you’ve had chickenpox the shingles virus lies dormant in your system until some unknown event triggers it
Shingles occurs most often in adults over 50 but it is not limited to this age group
What vaccines are available?
This vaccine is over 90% effective at preventing shingles for people 50 years of age and older
How many shots will I need?
You will need 2 doses of Shingrix® 2-6 months apart
How can I prevent shingles?
What is the treatment?
Antiviral medicines can help speed healing and reduce your risk of complications, but they work best if started within 3 days after the rash appears
Pain medication for very severe pain
To relieve the itching and pain by use cool, wet compresses, applying calamine lotion to the blisters, take a cool bath with cornstarch or oatmeal
If shingles blisters aren’t properly treated bacterial skin infections may develop
Keep your rash dry and clean