Shingles in the Elderly
According to the CDC, 33% of people will develop shingles at some point in life. The risk of a shingles outbreak increases as people get older. Luckily today, there is a vaccine that greatly reduces a senior’s chances of a shingles infection.
Let’s take a closer look at the shingles vaccine, which seniors should take it, how it works, and other helpful information about it.
What is Shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a disease caused by the same virus as chickenpox. While most people experience chickenpox in childhood, the virus can lie dormant in the body for decades, and erupt again causing shingles later in life.
What are the Symptoms of Shingles
While shingles symptoms can vary by person, most individuals experience the following:
• Painful red rash on the side of the body or face.
• Fluid filled blisters.
• Severe burning sensations and shooting pain in the affected areas.
• Flu like symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills.
• Skin numbness.
The Shingles Vaccine – How it Works
The most popular shingles vaccine, Shingrix, is partly comprised of broken-down parts of the virus. From this, the body is better able to fight against the actual virus should it need to. The shingles vaccine also contains molecules that are designed to boost the body’s immune system.
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Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people 50 and older should receive two doses of the vaccine Shingrix.
The vaccine does not guarantee a person won’t get shingles. If they do, their symptoms will be milder. Shingrix has proven to be 97% effective for people between the ages of 50 to 69. For people 70 or older, the efficacy rate is still high at 91%.
Taking the Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccine is comprised of two shots. Normally administered in the upper arm, the vaccine can be performed in a doctor’s office or pharmacy. After the first shot is given, the second one can be administered two to six months later.
Most people don’t experience side effects from the shingles vaccine. However, headaches, soreness, swelling at the injection area, and itching can occur. Over the counter pain medication like Advil, Aleve, or Tylenol will provide adequate pain relief.
If side effects last for more than a few days, the senior should contact their health care provider.
Shingles in Seniors
It sounds odd that a break out of chicken pox as a child could cause a senior to develop shingles later in life. However, it is true. Getting the vaccine is a great way to minimize the chances of getting shingles as a senior.
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Livingston Place at Southern Avenue4656 Livingston Road Southeast Washington, District of Columbia 20032 (771) 333-8279 Levels of Care:
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