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Posted: 12:00am by & filed under Health

Shingles, also called Herpes Zoster or simply Zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful often blistering skin rash that commonly affects one area of the body. The infection usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and for some, even longer. It is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. Shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or even death if not treated.
 
There are approximately 1 million new cases each year in the United States alone. Based on an estimate, 1 in every 3 Americans will develop shingles at one point in their life. In general, cases of shingles in people ages 50 and above are common. In addition, seniors with a weakened immune system are at a higher risk of developing shingles. In fact, 50% of all shingles cases occur in seniors 60 years or older.
 
Shingles can be treated with antiviral and pain medication, but to prevent shingles from even developing, health professionals recommend getting the vaccine. The vaccine is the only proven way to reduce risk of shingles. The shingle vaccine was licensed in 2006 and has reduced the risk of the disease by 50%.
 
Generally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you get the vaccine (Zostavax) once you reach the age of 60. Please consult your doctor for your individual requirements.
 
Sources:
“Prevent Shingles.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/features/shingles/index.html
“What Everyone Should Know about Shingles Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/index.html
 

 

 

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