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What we have to say about your health and well being
20
Apr 2012
Is there a vaccine available for shingles?

Yes, there is a new shingles vaccine available called Zostavax

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox (the varicella zoster virus) and it is seen on the skin as a painful blistering rash.

After you have had chickenpox, the virus that caused it is still present, dormant in the nerve cells. If the virus becomes active again then it moves along the nerve fibres to the skin and the tell tale rash appears in the area. About 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox will have an attack of shingles later in life.

Most attacks are for no particular reason but you are more susceptible if you are

  • Elderly
  • Experiencing physical or emotional stress
  • Someone with a weakened immune system e.g. leukaemia
  • Taking medicines that suppress the immune system such as in cancer chemotherapy and transplants

A shingles attack starts with pain and burning in the skin and a day or two later a rash appears which can spread rapidly. You may also feel ill, have a fever and or headache. Treatment involves taking an anti-viral tablet usually 5 times a day but it must be started early to be effective. If you get a shingles in the face it is imperative that you get medical help quickly since it could spread to the eye and cause decreased vision and even permanent blindness.

In New Life Pharmacy we are offering the shingles vaccination. The cost will be £150 and bookings can be made by phoning 0141 637 6000

Elizabeth Roddick was interviewed on Insight Radio on this subject on Wednesday 18th. You can listen to an I-Pod version.

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