By Michael McLendon, Pharmacist
98% of adults in the US have been infected with the chickenpox virus and are at risk for Shingles.
The older you get, the more you are at risk for Shingles. One in three people will experience Shingles in their lifetime. Vaccination is recommended for adults at age 60.
Shingles can affect anyone who has had chickenpox at any time, without warning. There’s no way to tell who will get Shingles or when it may occur. No matter how healthy you are or feel, your chance of getting Shingles increases as you get older.
The first signs of Shingles are often felt and may not be seen. These can include – itching, tingling, burning, and a few days later, a rash of fluid-filled blisters appear (usually on one side of the face or body). These may take 2 to 4 weeks to heal.
After the rash heals, Shingles may lead to pain that lasts for months or even years in some people. This long term nerve pain, called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), occurs because the virus that causes Shingles may damage certain nerves. The pain can vary from burning and throbbing to stabbing or shooting. For people with long- term nerve pain, even the touch of soft clothing against the skin can be painful. One in five people who get Shingles will experience long term nerve pain.
Even if you have had the Shingles, the vaccine is still recommended. It may help lessen the severity of Shingles. Ask your physician about the Shingles vaccine – Zostavax.
PNEUMONIA (PNEUMOCOCCAL PPSV23)
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) updated their Pneumococcal PPSV23 vaccine recommendation in September 2014. All adults 65 and older should receive the Pneumococcal PPSV23 vaccine. If you have received the vaccine before age 65 and it has been 5 or more years since that vaccination, the CDC recommends a revaccination. No further doses of PPSV23 are needed for persons vaccinated with PPSV23 at or on age 65.
A reminder. A Tetanus booster revaccination is recommended every ten years.
Michael McLendon is a pharmacist with Meridian Pharmacy located in the Texoma Medical Plaza (north side of TMC) on the ground floor.