Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. After having chickenpox, the virus never leaves a person’s body and they are at risk for shingles. Shingles is most common in people over the age of 60. About 50 percent of Americans will get shingles by the time they turn 80. Usually once a person has shingles, they will not get it again. However, sometimes people suffer a second case or even a third. If your parent has not had a shingles vaccination, here are some things you should know.
What is the Shingles Vaccination?
The shingles vaccination is a one-dose vaccine. It contains a live but weakened form of the chickenpox virus, varicella-zoster. Receiving the vaccination primes your parent’s body to fight off a case of shingles. The shot is typically given in the upper arm.
How Effective is the Vaccination?
The shingles vaccination reduces the risk of your parent getting shingles by 51 percent. In cases where someone who has had the virus gets shingles, they are likely to have a less severe case that does not last as long.
Who Should Be Vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that seniors aged 60 and older receive the vaccination. Even if your parent does not remember if they had chickenpox or not, the CDC suggests they be vaccinated. Research indicates that 99 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 40 have had chickenpox at some time in their life, even if they don’t recall having had it.
The CDC also says that people who have had shingles in the past should still get the vaccination because it could prevent a recurrence of the condition. There is no waiting period between having had shingles and getting the vaccine, but your parent should wait until the rash has disappeared.
There are some people who should not receive the vaccination. The shingles vaccination is not recommended if your parent:
- Has ever had a serious allergic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or any other ingredient of the vaccination.
- Is being treated with immune-suppressing drugs or other kinds of immune-suppressing treatments.
- Has a weakened immune system because of a condition.
- Has cancer that affects the lymphatic system or bone marrow.
Are There Side Effects?
Like most medications and vaccinations, there are some side effects associated with the shingles vaccine. Your parent may experience some pain, redness, itchiness, or swelling where they received the shot. They may also experience headaches or a rash that resembles chickenpox.
If your parent needs a shingles vaccination, their home care provider can drive them to the doctor to get the shot. Following the vaccination, a home care provider can also monitor your parent for side effects or help them to apply a cold pack to the vaccination site to ease any pain that may occur.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home caregivers in Camden, CT, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.
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