You wake up hoping for a typical morning, only to discover a painful rash on the left side of your face and down your side. You’re covered in blisters so painful that it hurts to even wear a shirt. After two to four weeks with this rash, you think it’s over. That is until you develop chronic, severe nerve pain that can last months or even years.
What Is Shingles?
Welcome to a day in the life of shingles, a day that nearly one out of every three people will face in their lifetime. A reawakening of the chickenpox virus, shingles is a serious condition that arises as your immune system’s effectiveness declines with age, typically after age 50. Nearly one million cases of shingles break out each year within the United States alone.
Medical professionals aren’t quite sure what causes the chickenpox virus to transform in this way, but according to the New York Times, “If you’re fortunate enough to reach your 80th birthday, you stand a one-in-three to on-in-two chance of shingles.” Thankfully, there is a solution.
Can You Prevent It?
You may have heard of Zostavax, the previous common shingles vaccine, but a new vaccine is coming to town. Shingrix is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed vaccine that prevents shingles in adults aged 50 and older. A two-dose vaccine, Shingrix is a newly preferred option due to its availability at 50 years old, an entire decade earlier that Zostavax, and longer effectiveness period.
Regardless if you’ve gotten Zostavax, it is recommended to have Shingrix administered as well. This new vaccine has a nearly 100 percent effectiveness rate for adults older than 50 and even those well over age 80.
Why Choose Shingrix?
You’ll find comfort in knowing that Shingrix is made of a nonliving viral particle of the shingles virus, allowing even those with weak immune systems to protect themselves. With barely any side effects, typically limited to redness, swelling, and muscle pain, Shingrix is proving itself an effective alternative to Zostavax.
Nearly all adults 40 years and older harbor the chickenpox virus. We may not know what causes this virus to reawaken, but the fact is that it may in you. With each day over 40, the risk of getting shingles increases. Stop by your local Family Pharmacy today for more information on shingles and Shingrix.