Shingles is an extremely common—and painful—viral infection, affecting 1 out of every 3 Americans at some point in their life. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, so anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body. While scientists are unsure what causes the virus to awaken at a later date, they do know that the only way to reduce the risk of getting shingles is to get vaccinated.
Facts about Shingles
Shingles can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over age 60 and in people with weakened immune systems.
Shingles can recur, although most people who experience shingles have it just once in their lifetime.
About 1 million cases of shingles occur in the United States each year.
Recommended Shingles Vaccine
The CDC recommends that adults use a new vaccine called Shingrix instead of Zostavax, which had been the recommended vaccine from 2006-2017. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common shingles complication. In studies, two doses of Shingrix were found to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. People who have had shingles in the past, have received the Zostavax vaccine or are unsure if they have had chickenpox should also receive the Shingrix vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.
6 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor
Is shingles the same as chickenpox?
Is shingles contagious?
Am I at risk for shingles?
Can I prevent shingles?
Can you have reoccurring shingles?
Is there and updated vaccine?