Getting the shingles vaccine has been on my “to-do” list this year. I can now cross that task off as completed! You (or a loved one) may want to consider getting the vaccine too if you have ever had chicken pox and are 60 years old or older. CDC information can be found HERE. Please note that certain folks should not get the medicine.
Shingles is a painful skin rash, often accompanied with blisters. The rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. The varicella zoster virus (the chickenpox virus) causes it. Health statistics indicate that almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United State will develop shingles in their lifetime. You can get it at any age, but the risk increases as we get older and whenever our immune systems are compromised. About half of all cases occur for those 60 years old and older.
Pain is the primary symptom of shingles, and it can be quite severe. For 1 in 5 people, the pain can also continue long after the rash clears up. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia. The vaccine reduces the risk of shingles by about 50%. It can also reduce the pain for people who still get shingles after being vaccinated.
The vaccine is somewhat expensive, with a dose and administration costs ranging from $200-$300. However, the expense is frequently covered 100% by health insurance plans because it is classified as “preventive medicine.” My shot was completely paid via my Blue Cross/Blue Shield major medical policy. My husband’s Medicare plan only required a copayment of $20. Our doctor doesn’t keep an inventory of the medicine, so we got prescriptions from him and then took them to a local Krogers pharmacy. The pharmacy dispensed the shots and also took care of the insurance filing for us.
I hope that you will check into this important health issue! Perhaps you or a loved one may benefit from the information. And thanks for reading through my little public service announcement, LOL!