Shingles vaccine recommended for older adults - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Shingles vaccine recommended for older adults

About a third of Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime. It can be an excruciatingly painful condition. The only protection is a vaccine, and health departments are now encouraging people 60 years old and older to get it.

"It is like a sunburn times 100," said Jim Dixon, who got shingles when he was 45.

"It felt like I was in an ant bed," said Sara Etheridge, who got shingles when she was 50.

"It felt like a poker stick. Like someone got something hot and they keep sticking it to you," said Claudette Taylor.

All of these folks agree, shingles is an excruciatingly painful disease.

"Some people have attributed it to having a kidney stone or childbirth even," said Christi Dixon, a nurse manager in Georgia.

Shingles comes from the same virus as the chicken pox and after you've had the chicken pox, the virus remains dormant and it can reactivate years later without any warning.

It can last for months or even years after the rash disappears.

The only way to protect yourself against shingles is to get vaccinated. Thankfully, the health department is now offering the vaccine, and since older people are more at risk for developing the virus, public health officials are recommending the virus for anyone 60 years and older.

"We see a lot of people coming in, simply because they don't want to get the shingles," said Dixon.

A person with shingles can pass the virus to someone else. If someone who has never had chicken pox before is infected, they will get chicken pox -- not shingles.

"I can tell you one thing -- they are no fun and they are awful," said Etheridge.

The FDA has approved the vaccine for those 50 and older. You can get a prescription from your doctor.

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