Shingles – Are you at risk?

Following a large amount of media coverage, here’s a quick overview of the disease and vaccination options.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin condition caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, known as the herpes zoster virus. This virus lies dormant in nerve tissue after an individual has had chickenpox. Shingles typically manifests as a rash accompanied by redness, itching, and a tingling sensation in the affected area. Anyone who has had chickenpox is susceptible to shingles, with the risk increasing with age. In the UK, approximately 90% of the population have had chickenpox, and 1 in 4 adults will experience a shingles outbreak later in life.

Symptoms of shingles vary from person to person but commonly include red, painful rashes on the skin, often appearing on the face or chest. Blisters filled with fluid, itching, burning sensations, fever, headache, muscle pain, and general malaise are also typical indicators of shingles. Seeking medical attention promptly upon experiencing these symptoms is crucial, as shingles can lead to complications and further infections if left untreated.

Preventing shingles through vaccination is the most effective way to safeguard against this painful condition.

Read more about the Shingles vaccine and the vaccination course here.

Author: Derek Evans FRPharmS, FFTM RCPS, FISTM, FRGS, IP

CityDoc Travel Health & Vaccination Lead

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