Why You Should Get a Shingles Vaccine

By Salomeh Keyhani

If you had chicken pox as a child, you are at risk for shingles in your later years. And most people should get vaccinated against it. It’s important for you to understand why the shingles vaccine can be so important for older adults.

The CDC recommends vaccination for all individuals over the age of 60, unless you have a contraindication, such as a weakened immune system resulting from a chronic illness, or you are about to undergo a transplant or you have severe allergies to any component of the vaccine, such as gelatin. Without the vaccine, the same virus that gave you the chicken pox can stay in your body for decades and re-emerge as shingles.

The older you are when you get shingles, the worse it can be, so please get vaccinated. Shingles will cause you to get a painful rash that blisters and can last for weeks at a time. Other symptoms may include itching, tingling, fever and upset stomach. In some cases, shingles can affect your eyes, along with your vision.

N.B. There are two shingles vaccines, Shingrix and Zostavax. Talk to your doctor about which one better meets your needs.

This article was originally published by JustCareUSA.org. Reprinted by permission.

Salomeh Keyhani, MD

Salomeh Keyhani, MD, is a general internist and a health care researcher. Her research focuses on health care quality and health policy.

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