Tonight, Leigh Corner gave us his Viewpoint on the benefit of being vaccinated against Shingles.
'Shingles, he said, 'is a highly preventable disease through vaccination'.
At the moment vaccination is free to those over 65 years of age but in the future, it will only be free to those in their 65th year.
Shingles is caused by a herpes virus that persists after the initial infection, Chickenpox, has healed. The virus persists in the skin cord and at a later date, commonly when a person is over 50 years old and their immune system is compromised, the virus infection reactivates.
The virus migrates along sensory nerves, most commonly those along the chest and abdomen. The migration is accompanied by numbness, itching, pain and blisters. The pain may persist well after the blisters have healed and persist for week, months or even years.
The vaccine, an attenuated live virus, is very effective, protection is lifelong and therefore a second vaccination is not required. Treatment with anti-viral drugs may be indicated in cases of severe disease.
So the take home message – if you are between 65–80 years old, get vaccinated.