Protect Yourself Against Shingles

Each and every year pharmacies fill prescriptions for patients looking for relief from the painful effects of a shingles infection. Signs and symptoms of shingles are painful areas of rash with blisters on one side of the body or face that can last from 14-28 days. Other effects sometimes seen are fever, headache, or even an upset stomach. A few individuals even have severe pain that continues after the rash is treated and healed. With unpleasant symptoms such as these, any health-conscious consumer will look to options to avoid shingles symptoms before they even begin.

Shingles are caused by a virus called Herpes Zoster. Patients who have previously had chickenpox are susceptible to developing these effects. Individuals older than 50 years of age are more likely to battle the disease than those who are younger; additionally, patients with compromised immune systems from medications such as steroids or cancer fighting drugs.

To diminish the opportunity that the virus that causes shingles will infect a patient’s body, many are utilizing the shingles vaccine. The shingles vaccine, also known by its brand name Zostavax, is a one-time immunization administered to patients between the ages of 50-80 years of age. This live vaccine prepares the body to attack the virus that causes shingles. The most common side effect seen after receiving the immunization is redness or swelling at the site of injection (usually at the back of the arm). Even if a patient does develop shingles after being vaccinated, the pain associated with the disease may be reduced. This is great news for patients looking to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with the disease!

While many patients will benefit from the additional immunity that the vaccine provides, some patients should avoid the shingles vaccine:

  • Allergy to gelatin or any other component of the shingles vaccine
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Are pregnant or might become pregnant

Patients with a minor illness such as a cold may still be vaccinated. If the illness is moderate to severe (including a fever higher than 101.3° F) then it is advised to wait until a full recovery has occurred.

As more and more patients utilize the shingles vaccine, pharmacies may find that they are filling fewer and fewer prescriptions for the treatment of a severe case of shingles. Patients who seek vaccination can avoid the painful shingles rash and can elude the potential permanent after effects that the disease can inflict.

Ask your local pharmacist about the shingles vaccine. It may be covered by your insurance and may help you avoid the often painful effects of shingles. If you have any questions or concerns, email or call Dougherty’s Pharmacy at (214) 373-5300 and our staff will be happy to assist you.

Submitted By: Dougherty’s Pharmacy

Phone Number: (214) 373-5300