Let’s Stop Shingles

March 10, 2019 | Health Advice | By: Jennifer Brull

Shingles is a painful blistering skin rash that affects 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 in the United States.  The virus (Varicella Zoster) lives in nerves over your lifetime and can reactivate to become shingles at any time.

Quick Facts:

–> One million cases of shingles are reported in the United States annually.
–> Shingles begins as a tingling sensation over an area of skin, this progresses into itching, burning, and sharp pains.
–> Shingles normally takes 3-4 weeks to fully heal, patients often require pain medication during this time.
–> Of adults age 60 and older who contract shingles, 13% of will have severe lingering pain in the area for over 3 months; this is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
–> Shingles occurs more often and is most severe in immunocompromised adults.

What can I do?

If you are 50 years or older, get your Shingrix vaccination series (there are two shots required, two months apart).  For patients who have Medicare as their primary insurance, this vaccine may be partially covered under your Part D (pharmacy) insurance plan.  Many local pharmacies have the vaccine and will administer it for you.  For commercial insurances, the pharmacy can bill your regular insurance.

This article provided by Bryce Volk, KUMC medical student.