With increasing cases of shingles rash, protecting our health is the top priority now. Here we will discuss the ins & outs of shingles, its mighty vaccine, and how you can benefit from it.
Shingles are also called herpes zoster. It is a viral infection resulting from the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that caused chickenpox. As such, anyone who suffered from chickenpox in their childhood can develop shingles. Adults above age 50 years have a higher risk of developing shingles. Even after recovering from chickenpox, its virus stays dormant in our nerve tissue near the brain and spinal cord. This virus, in some rare cases, can react later and lead to shingles.
Shingles are characterized by a blistering and painful rash, typically appearing on one side of our bodies by following a nerve path. This rash can remain for several weeks, accompanied by headache, fever, and light sensitivity. The pain resulting from shingles rash can be long-lasting and severe. In a few cases, it can result in chronic nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia (PHM). Older adults can face severe complications resulting from shingles rash. These can include eye problems, skin infections, neurological issues, bacterial infections, and even rare organ damage.
Before the appearance of rashes, an individual may have symptoms like fever, chills, headache, and upset stomach. This will lead to the development of a rash in a few days, progressing through many stages. It will start with tiny red patches and turn into fluid-filled blisters, finally becoming crusts before the healing process starts. The entire period of shingles rash can take 2-4 weeks.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone who had chickenpox in their life can be affected by shingles rash. Certain factors, however, increase the chances of developing this condition:
Age: Individuals above 50 years of age have a higher risk of getting shingles rash compared to younger individuals
Weak immune system: Individuals whose immune system has weakened due to various reasons are at a higher risk. These reasons can be ongoing cancer treatment or specific medical conditions.
Stress: Acute and prolonged stress results in a weakened immune system, potentially triggering a shingles outbreak.
Exposure to varicella-zoster virus: Individuals who are in close contact with chickenpox-infected people have a higher risk of shingles compared to those who never had chickenpox or took the chickenpox vaccine.
Introducing the Shingles Vaccine
Luckily, the development of the shingles vaccine has been a boon for those suffering from this condition. It is an effective and long-lasting way of reducing the risk of developing shingles rash. The vaccine boosts the immune response of the body to the virus. This prevents its reactivation & subsequent outbreak. It is an effective and safe vaccine, recommended to most adults above 50 years of age. The vaccine is applicable even if someone has had shingles before.
Benefits of the Shingles Vaccine
Risk of Shingles reduces: One of the most apparent benefits of this vaccine is reduced chances of developing shingles. Taking vaccination means taking proactive steps toward protecting oneself from the discomfort and pain associated with this condition.
Reduced chances of Postherpetic Neuralgia: Apart from preventing shingles, the vaccine also helps in reducing risks associated with Postherpetic neuralgia, especially for those with higher risks of getting shingles.
Protection from complications: Apart from preventing shingles, the vaccine also helps in lowing risks of associated complications. It reduces the chances of acute illness, long-term pain, and hospitalization. The vaccine also helps in improving overall health in older adults as well as vulnerable populations.
Availability and convenience: Vaccines for shingles rash is a relatively painless and simple procedure. The vaccine is administered in a single shot. The vaccine can be administered in clinics, pharmacies, and healthcare providers.
The shingles rash is certainly a painful and unwelcome visitor that significantly impacts our health and quality of life. As such, the benefits of shingles vaccine cannot be overstated. It not only prevents shingles but also reduces their severity and protects them from potential complications. At the same time, it is important to consult with healthcare professionals to understand eligibility and identify any health concerns.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Together, we can shield ourselves from this painful disease and embrace a happier, healthier life. Contact us today to learn more about our shingles vaccine and secure your appointment.