1 in 3 people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent the disease and complications from it. Hunter Chestnut, FNP with CMC Primary Care knows first hand what it’s like to have shingles and he wants to spare you and all of his patients from this painful and sometimes reoccurring rash.
What is shingles?
Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. The rash may be more widespread in people with weakened immune systems.
“The shingles rash is related to chickenpox and it creates blisters on the skin,” explained Hunter. “If you’ve ever had shingles before, you know how painful it can be. I myself had it and I remember waking up in pain with a rash on my side, wondering “what is this and why does it hurt so bad?””
The symptoms a person might experience with shingles are:
- Pain, itching, or tingling of the skin followed by a
- Painful rash of blister-like sores, usually on one side of the body, often on the face or torso
- Upset stomach
“An interesting thing about shingles is that usually, you’ll only develop a rash on one side of the body,” Hunter explained. “It can be anywhere on the body but a lot of times it’s just on one side. It’s a very painful, spreading rash that can take several weeks to get over and many people are left with scars from the blisters that form. I’ve even had patients that had issues walking, sleeping, and doing other activities because they were hurting so badly. And that’s one reason why I try to educate my patients about the vaccine because shingles is preventable and they do not have to go through this pain.”
Why do you recommend the shingles vaccine?
“I want people to know that this rash and the uncomfortable pain that comes with it can be prevented,” stressed Hunter. The CDC recommends that anyone 50 years old and older receive the shingles vaccine. They also recommend that younger adults with weakened immune systems get vaccinated as well. More than 99% of Americans born after 1980 have had chickenpox and because of that, they are at risk for shingles.
“Even if you’ve had a chickenpox vaccine, you can still get shingles,” said Hunter. “Vaccination is something all people need to consider and discuss with their primary care physician.”