Healthy Concerns By David McAtee, Prescott, AZ firstname.lastname@example.org Issues concerning health and preparedness in Yavapai County brought to you by the Yavapai County Community Health Services, Community Relations and Public Information Officer.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Had chickenpox as a child? Say hello to shingles as an adult
If you are 50+ years of age and had chickenpox as a child, the chances are VERY good you will get to experience the effects of the grown-up, much more painful version, called shingles. It is reported to be one of the most painful things you will experience as an adult and in some cases causes long-term nerve damage and could potentially lead to the loss of vision or hearing.
Here are some symptoms you may experience with shingles. Before the rash develops, you may feel a burning, itching, tingling sensation on your torso and or buttocks. A few days after the burning starts a rash will appear on only one side of your body then possibly spread to the face (damage to your eyes is also possible), arms or legs. The rash may last for as long as 30 days. Pain tends to lessen as the rash heals but many people experience permanent nerve damage and pain that lasts for months or even years.
Vaccination against shingles can reduce your risk of getting this painful disease by as much as 50 percent. After vaccination, if you do still develop shingles, the symptoms are much more mild and there is less risk of developing complications.
If you think you may have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately about getting the shingles vaccine aka Zostavax. Treatment should begin within 72 hours from the onset of symptoms. If you are 50-64 years of age, we recommend that you contact the Yavapai County Community Health Services (YCCHS) immunization clinic nearest you and schedule your shingles shot. There are three locations to serve you, in Prescott, Prescott Valley and in Cottonwood. In most cases a shingles shot will be less expensive at YCCHS than other locations. We accept most insurance plans and in some cases, a rebate program may be available. If you are on Medicaid, or 65 or older, it is typically cheaper to get your shot from a local pharmacy.
Just in case you aren't really all that concerned yet, here are some more of the potential complications that come with shingles:
Bacterial skin infections
Decrease or loss of vision or hearing
Paralysis on one side of the face
Long-term nerve pain
Treating long-term nerve pain can be complex and may require more than one medication. If you've had shingles and think you are suffering from long-term nerve pain, call your doctor or health care professional today.
For more information about shingles, or to schedule your shot, call one of the immunization specialists at Yavapai County Community Health Services today. They can be reached at 928-771-3122 in the Prescott area or 928-634-6822 in the Verde Valley.