This vaccine protects against shingles, an infection that causes a painful rash. The pain may remain for months after the rash goes away.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
One complication of shingles is chronic nerve pain at the site of the rash. The pain can persist even if the rash has healed.
The shingles vaccine is given to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the chronic pain that can result from this condition. It is important to remember that if you get the vaccine while you have the shingles, the vaccine will not:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the shingles vaccine for adults ages sixty and older, even if you have had the shingles.
You should not get the vaccine if you are pregnant or have:
The vaccine may be postponed if you have a fever or a moderate to severe acute illness.
Medicare usually does not cover the cost of shingles vaccine.
Contact your health care provider if you are over the age of fifty and have questions about the shingles vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask during your appointment.
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