Shingles is a painful nerve inflammation caused by latent chickenpox virus. Typical symptoms include a burning or tingling sensation followed by a rash or blisters, usually on one side of your body. During and after an attack you may get excruciating nerve pain.
Luckily, you can avoid these painful and uncomfortable symptoms with a shingles vaccination. Currently, the shingles vaccine is approved for people 50 and older, but only around 10% of people who are eligible for a shingles vaccination ever get it. Some speculate that rumors of safety concerns may be preventing eligible – and at risk – individuals from pursuing this vaccination.
If you’ve heard that the shingles vaccine is unsafe, take comfort in a new study of almost 200,000 people which shows that the live shingles vaccine poses no increased risk for cerebrovascular diseases, stroke, cardiovascular disease (heart attack), meningitis, encephalitis, encephalopathy, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, or Bell’s palsy. In addition to being safe, the vaccine reduces an individual’s risk of contracting the condition by up to 70%. If vaccinated adults do end up with shingles, having been vaccinated makes the attack much milder, with less-severe post-infection pain.
Remember, there’s little risk from the shingles vaccine, and a much bigger one from skipping it.