If you have been to your health care provider lately — or even to your local drug store — you may have been asked if you wanted to get not just a flu shot, but also the vaccination to protect against shingles.
What you decide to do is up to you, but keep in mind that if you had chickenpox as a kid, the virus that caused it also causes shingles and its still in your system. And, while chickenpox itched, made you tired and gave you a nasty collection of red blisters, shingles can deliver that and some severe pain.
Shingles, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website, is a viral infection that causes a red rash that usually wraps around one side or the other of your torso. It causes considerable pain, burning, numbness, and a red rash of fluid-filled blisters that itch and are sensitive to touch.
While the cause of the virus reigniting into shingles remains uncertain, the Mayo Clinic suggests:
The reason for shingles is unclear. But it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as you grow older. Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weakened immune systems.
The clinic suggests that adults 50 years or older or those with compromised/weakened immune systems may wish to consider getting he vaccination. And, if you are a caregiver or an older parent or other person, be aware that it’s estimated half of those 80 or older will get shingles.