The pandemic has stolen many things from many people. Starting with lives and loved ones, and moving on to ceremonies, traditions, and rites of passage. Plus, infinite things in between.
For many, the pandemic has also put them behind health-wise, because who’s thinking about annual screenings and prevention when you’re not even comfortable leaving the house.
If you turned 50 in recent years, or in recent decades, and haven't gotten your Shingles vaccine yet, it's time to get moving. Shingles is painful, unappealing, and easily avoided.
“For many 50- and 60-year-olds, the specter of shingles is a vague and distant threat,” says John Apinis, RN, BSN, RVNAhealth’s Senior Director, Home Health. “Shingles sounds like something that will happen to someone else. But with statistics showing that 1 in 3 people over the age of 50 gets shingles, that ‘someone else’ may well be you. And shingles is something you don’t want to get.”
Shingles is a viral infection that causes an ‘angry, blistering” rash that can occur anywhere on your body. Very painful. Not pretty. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, sensitivity to light, and just to put you over the edge, itchiness.
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. If you haven’t had chickenpox but are exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles, regardless of your age, you will develop chickenpox first.
Shingles can be intensely painful and can cause serious complications that last for a long time, including postherpetic neuralgia (or PHN, pain that continues long after the shingles blisters have cleared), vision loss, neurological problems, and skin infections.
The good news — finally! — is that Shingles is easily avoided by getting the two-dose vaccine, Shingrix, proven to be over 90% effective in preventing Shingles and the PHN that often accompanies it.