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SHINGLESWhat is shingles?
Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful skin rash caused by Varicella Zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you've had chickenpox, the virus remains in your body in a dormant or inactive stage. If the virus becomes active again you may get shingles. Age, increased stress, and problems with the immune system may increase your chances of getting shingles.The shingles rash usually occurs on one side of the body, in a line along a nerve pathway. The rash begins as a tingling in the area then forms a cluster of small red spots that often blister. The rash can be painful. Shingles rashes can last 2-4 weeks, but in some people the nerve pain can last for months. For most people, the pain associated with the rash lessens as it heals. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. In some people, severe complications include pneumonia, blindness, hearing problems, brain inflammation, and even death.
You cannot catch shingles from another person with shingles; however a person who has never had chicken pox or been vaccinated for chicken pox could get chicken pox from someone with shingles.
Shingles is far more common in people 50 years of age and older. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles. 1 in 3 adults will develop shingles in their lifetime.What is the shingles vaccine?
The shingles vaccine has been proven as the most effective method to reduce the risk of developing shingles. It can also reduce complications such as long-term pain caused by shingles. There are currently two vaccines available, Shingrix® and Zostavax®.Who should receive a shingles vaccine?
The CDC recommends all healthy adults 50 years of age and older receive 2 doses of Shingrix® (recombinant zoster vaccine or RZV) 2-6 months apart regardless of a past episode of herpes zoster or receipt of Zostavax® (zoster vaccine live or ZVL).
Adults who previously received Zostavax® should get Shingrix®. They should wait at least 2 months after receiving Zostavax® to receive Shingrix®.
Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium often found in soil. This bacterium can also exist in environments as diverse as animal excrement, house dust, and operating rooms. It enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds.
Diphtheria is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing. It is a respiratory disease that typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. It can also cause paralysis, heart failure, and death.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious illness spread by contact with droplets coughed out by someone with the disease, or by contact with recently contaminated hard surfaces upon which the droplets have landed. Early symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. After this stage, the most common symptom is intense bouts of coughing in which the gasping person makes a "whoop" sound when inhaling between coughs.
Pneumococcal vaccine-preventable pneumonia is a lung disease caused by streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that can infect the upper respiratory tract and can spread to the blood, lungs, middle ear or nervous system. Pneumonia is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States. Pneumonia can be spread from person to person through close contact. The elderly are especially at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from this disease. Also, people who smoke cigarettes, those with certain medical conditions such as chronic heart, lung, liver diseases or sickle cell anemia, asplenia, and HIV are at increased risk for getting pneumococcal pneumonia.
Meningitis is a rare but serious infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is caused by meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial illness. Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children age 2 through 18 in the United States and may also result in blood infections. Symptoms of meningitis can include fever, stiff neck, eye sensitivity to light, purple-spotted rash, a drop in blood pressure, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Meningococcal disease is contagious and is commonly spread by close contact, such as coughing, and can be shared by people living in the same household. College freshman who live in dormitories and teenagers ages 15 to 19 have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease. Meningitis is potentially fatal; even with antibiotic treatment, 10-15 percent of infected people can die. As many as 20 percent of people who survive the infection can be expected to lose a limb, become deaf or have serious long-term medical conditions.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often experience fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Some people, such as senior citizens, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year with a flu shot.