The shingles vaccine is routinely recommended for adults older than 60 years of age. The vaccine is given as a single dose and is only given once.
The shingles vaccine is recommended even if you have had a previous episode of shingles, as long as the disease is not active. The shingles vaccine does not treat shingles, it prevents shingles.
In studies of adults over the age of 60, the shingles vaccine reduced attacks in half, decreased how long the attacks lasted, and prevented long term nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia) in the majority of patients.
The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. Once you have had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in your nerves. Aging, chronic diseases, and certain medications lower the body’s immune system reactivating the virus and causing shingles.
No serious problems have been identified with the shingles vaccine. The vaccine is made using a live, but harmless virus. Shingles can be a devastating illness, so talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine.
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