The Lowdown on Shingles

ShinglesThere’s a lot of buzz around the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, which has led to a nationwide shortage, but what exactly is shingles?

According to Leslie C. Gray, MD, if you’ve ever had chicken pox, you are at risk for developing shingles. The founder of Dermatology Center of Atlanta says when the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in the nervous system, it can come back to life years later in the form of the herpes zoster virus, which causes shingles.

Shingles can be incredibly painful and can cause long-lasting complications. Candance Kimbrough-Green, MD, of Dermatology Consultants, notes to look for symptoms such as pain, burning, and tingling on one side of the body or face with or without a red rash with blisters.

Those most at risk for developing shingles are adults over 50 and those with weakened immune systems. Gray notes that children who have had chicken pox can develop the disease and those who have never had chicken pox before and haven’t been vaccinated can get chicken pox through direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash.

The new Shingrix vaccine is given in two doses, two to six months apart and is advised for all healthy adults over 50. If you’ve already had shingles, you should still receive the vaccine to lower your chances of developing it again. Those who received the old Zostavax vaccine should also get the new vaccine. The great news? Gray explains that Shingrix is incredibly effective and can lower your chances of getting shingles by more than 90 percent.

Details: Dermatology-Atlanta.com, DermatologyConsultants.org

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