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26 Feb 2024

Shingles Vaccine: Why You Should Get It If You’re Over 50

Shingles is a painful rash that can occur anywhere on the body, but it most commonly appears on the chest, abdomen, and back. Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can reactivate later in life as shingles.

Shingles can be excruciatingly painful which can also lead to serious complications, such as Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) a chronic pain condition that can last for months or even years after the rash has cleared. PHN causes burning, stabbing, or aching pain in the areas where you had shingles.

The good news is that there is a vaccine that can help protect you from shingles. The Shingrix vaccine is effective in reducing the risk of shingles by up to 90%.

Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles can cause a painful rash, nerve pain, and other complications, particularly in older adults. The Shingrix vaccine is a highly recommended vaccine for adults who are 50 years of age and older.

In addition to adults 50 years and older, the Shingrix vaccine is also recommended for adults 18 years and older who have certain medical conditions that weaken the immune system. This includes individuals with conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or those who are taking immunosuppressive medications. These individuals are at a higher risk of developing shingles and may benefit greatly from receiving the vaccine.

The Shingrix vaccine is a two-dose series, with the second dose typically administered 2 to 6 months after the first dose. The Shingrix vaccine is highly effective at preventing shingles and its complications. Adults should talk to their doctor about whether the vaccine is appropriate for them. This is especially important for those in the right age group or with a weakened immune system.

Who Can Get Affected by Shingles?

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. However, the risk of shingles increases with age. Shingles is more common in older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and people who have had chickenpox more than once. People over 50 years of age are more likely to get shingles than younger people.

Is Shingles Contagious?

According to CDC, shingles itself is not contagious. However, the varicella-zoster virus, which causes shingles, can spread to people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine for it.

So, if you have shingles, you can’t give it to someone else directly. But you could potentially give them the varicella-zoster virus, which could then cause them to develop chickenpox.

This is why it’s important to avoid contact with people who are at high risk of complications from chickenpox, such as pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, if you have shingles.

What Are the Symptoms of Shingles?

The most common symptom of shingles is a painful rash that appears on one side of the body. The rash may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Burning or tingling sensation in the area where the rash will appear

How Can Shingles Be Prevented?

The best way to prevent shingles is to get the Shingrix vaccine. The vaccine was proven effective in preventing shingles and PHN (Postherpetic neuralgia)./p>

Myths and Facts About Shingles

Here are some of the most common myths and facts:

  • Myth: You can only get shingles once.
  • Fact:You can develop shingles more than once.
  • Myth:The Shingrix vaccine is unsafe.
  • Fact:The Shingrix vaccine is safe and effective. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Myth:he Shingrix vaccine is only for people who are already sick.
  • Fact:The Shingrix vaccine is for healthy adults 50 years of age and older.

What is the ideal age to get the Shingles vaccine in UAE?

The UAE Ministry of Health recommends that adults 50 years of age and older get the Shingles vaccine. The vaccine is available at most healthcare facilities in the UAE. Shingrix vaccine is also available at Healthbay clinic locations in Dubai.

Websites reviewed and sources referenced

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