Shingles is a painful viral infection that causes a very serious rash. Although the shingles could occur just about anywhere on your body, the most common place they appear is as a strip of blisters wrapping around the left or right side of the torso. The shingles is caused by a varicella-zoster virus, coincidentally this is the same virus which causes chickenpox. Once you have had the chickenpox, that virus will lie dormant in nerve tissues near the brain and spinal cord. No one knows exactly when but years later that virus could reactivate as the shingles. While not considered to be a life-threatening condition, the shingles virus can be especially painful.
Here are 6 ways you can avoid getting shingles, shorten a shingles infection, or lessen the chance of further complications.
1. Getting the Chickenpox Vaccine – Since the shingles virus occurs in those who have already had the chickenpox virus, one of the ways to avoid getting shingles is getting the chickenpox vaccine. This is of course as long as you have never had chickenpox before. The varicella vaccine has been long used to prevent children from getting the chickenpox, and has been used to help adults from getting the shingles if they were never diagnosed earlier with the chickenpox. The vaccine is not a 100% guarantee against getting the shingles, however, it has been shown to dramatically reduce the severity of the virus if you are infected.
2. Getting the Shingles Vaccine – The shingles vaccine is known as the varicella-zoster vaccine, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help in the fight to prevent shingles virus. This vaccine however is recommended only for adults who are age 60 or older regardless if they have already had the shingles virus or not. According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no one under the age of 60 should be getting the shingles vaccine. This is a live vaccine that is given as a single injection in the upper arm. Some of the minor side effects after getting the vaccine range from a small temporary rash, headaches, itching, tenderness, and redness of the injected area. This vaccine is used as a prevention strategy, and because the vaccine contains live virus, it shouldn’t be given to those who have weakened immune systems.