Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a contagious virus that is spread through the air by respiratory secretions and direct contact. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus stays within the body and can reemerge later in life as shingles. Shingles is a member of the herpesvirus group, and like other herpesvirus infection it has the ability to stay in the body and reemerge after the initial infection. Clinical trials have shown that receiving the shingles vaccine can reduce the risk of developing shingles by 51%, and can also help reduce the lingering pain that can be left after a shingles outbreak by more than half (67%).
Shingles typically appears as a severe painful skin rash on one side of the body or face that lasts two to four weeks, although lingering pain may continue in some individuals, even after the outbreak clears up. The individual may also experience fever, headache, and body chills and may lead to more serious illness depending on the area of the body affected such as pneumonia, hearing and vision loss, and brain inflammation leading to death.
Each year, at least 1 million people in the United States have an outbreak of shingles. It is most common in individuals above age 50 and those with weakened immune systems. Although shingles is most common in people over age 50, it can occur at any age. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles.
Shingles vaccine is currently recommended for all individuals over the age of 60, but is approved to be given as early as 50 years of age. The shingles vaccine should be received whether or not the individual remembers having chickenpox as a child and can also be given to those who have had outbreaks of shingles in the past to reduce future occurrences and to possibly reduce the pain associated with outbreaks.
The Vaccine Center and Travel Medicine Clinic has ALL the recommended and/or required vaccines needed for your travel.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis A/B (Twinrix)
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Meningococcal (MenB)
- TD/Tdap (Tetanus)
- Typhoid IM
- Typhoid Pills
- Yellow Fever
- Gardasil (HPV)