If you’ve had it, or know someone who has, the mere mention of the word can bring you to your knees.
The painful condition afflicts 1 million people each year in America alone, while people over 50 years of age are most susceptible to it. However, young people can get shingles, as can people who have weakened immune systems.
If you’ve had the chickenpox, you are also susceptible to getting shingles, as the virus can remain dormant in your body for many years. Only rarely can you contract shingles if you’ve had the chickenpox vaccine.
Learn what shingles is and what you can do to avoid contracting the virus.
What is it?
The condition includes a painful rash that often involves blisters, too. It can last up to four weeks long, with the pain rising to severe levels.
You may also experience a headache, fever, upset stomach and chills. In some cases, it can lead to hearing problems, pneumonia, brain inflammation, blindness or death.
Every one in five people with shingles will experience severe pain for longer than 4 weeks, and long after the rash goes away.
The vaccine can reduce your risk of shingles by 50 percent. In addition, if you get the vaccine and still contract shingles, it can help reduce the pain of the condition significantly.
Medical experts recommend the vaccine for people 60 years and older. Only people who meet these conditions should NOT get the vaccine:
- You have a weakened immune system from AIDS, high-dose steroid use, cancer treatment or cancers.
- You’re pregnant.
- You’re allergic to a component in the vaccine, like gelatin.
It’s possible that the vaccine can cause problems; however, studies have not revealed any connection between serious problems and people who get the vaccine.
Some of the problems associated with getting the vaccine include:
- Allergic reactions.
When you get the vaccine, be aware of more serious reactions, including high fever, changes in behavior, hives, swelling in the throat or face, problems breathing, an elevated heartbeat, weakness or dizziness.
If you experience these symptoms, contact 911 or call your doctor right away.
Why you should vaccinate
It’s important to learn about the pros and cons of the shingles vaccine and the disease itself. Even if you’ve already had shingles, you can prevent a second attack by getting the vaccine.
As you get older, your immune system weakens. So your chances of contracting shingles are high. By the age of 85, it’s estimated that half of Americans who reach this age will have experienced shingles at some point.
In addition, if you contract shingles after age 80, the pain can last three months or more – much longer than the 2-4 weeks estimated for people past age 60.
If you get shingles and have to deal with the pain and blistering rash, you may have to also contend with repercussions like the inability to work, requiring in-home care around the clock, and more. The shingles vaccine can help you bypass experiencing shingles altogether.
If you get an annual flu shot, consider getting the shingles vaccine, too. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of the vaccination and whether you’re a prime candidate for the procedure.
To work with a health insurance professional or ask about your health coverage, and whether or not your plan covers things like flu and shingles vaccines, get in touch with InsureOne Benefits today.