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Shingles shots urged for those 60 and up

May 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Centers for Disease Control is recommending to seniors who are 60 or older to ask their doctor about a shingles vaccination. Shingles is often marked by chronic debilitating pain and blisters.

Health officials say older adults should get the vaccine even if they've had a prior shingles episode.

Researchers found the vaccine reduced the occurrence of shingles by about 50 percent.

Shingles Facts:

  • Anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles. That means 95 percent of adults are at risk.
  • Approximately one-third of the U.S. population will get shingles.
  • More than half of older adults do not understand the seriousness of shingles and its complications.
  • Among those who get shingles, more than one-third will develop serious complications. The risk of complications rises after 60 years of age.
  • Appropriate and immediate treatment of herpes zoster can control acute symptoms and reduce the risk of longer term complications. Starting anti-viral medication within 72 hours of the onset of shingles can reduce the pain and the length of time the outbreak lasts.

Half of people living to age 85 have had or will get shingles. The risk of suffering chronic pain also increases with age.

 

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