Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body. The rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. For some people the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away.
The risk of having shingles increases as one gets older. That is why CDC recommends for people 60 years old and older should get shingles vaccine to prevent from the disease, regardless of whether they have a history of chicken pox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99 percent of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember getting the disease.
This is a one-time vaccination and there is no maximum age for getting the herpes zoster vaccine.
The herpes zoster vaccine or shingles vaccine has been used since 2006. Zostavax® is the only shingles vaccine currently approved by the FDA. This vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by 51%.
It is given in one dose as a shot, and can be given in a doctor’s office or pharmacy. According to CDC, they do not recommend a routine use of shingles vaccine in people 50-59 years old. Adults 50-59 years who have questions about shingles vaccine should discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.
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