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Shingles

The Center for Disease Control is recommending that people over 60 get vaccinated for shingles. SHINGLES! According to this article, 1 million cases occur each year in the U.S. Plus, the condition can last for months.

Shingles is a viral disease most common among older adults. A group of expert advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending everyone age 60 and older -- get a new vaccine against shingles.

The vaccine was approved by the FDA in May. In studies, it reduced the incidence of shingles by 50 percent. Even in people who got the disease, most of those who were vaccinated experienced less pain.

...

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox in kids. It remains in the body for decades, sort of "sleeping" in nerve cells along the spinal column.

According to Harpaz, "the virus that causes chickenpox stays in your body throughout life for reasons we don't really understand -- and for reasons we don't understand, it reactivates and comes to your skin down one particular nerve to the surface of your skin where it will cause a rash and pain on one side of your body in one area".

It almost appears as a 'shingle' along the body, hence the name. The lesions are blistery and very painful. They can travel to the face, and into the eyes -- where they can impair vision and even cause blindness. Shingles is most likely to occur in later years, when the immune system has declined.

...

"If we look at everyone who's over age 60, for all intents and purposes, 100 percent -- even if you don't remember having had it -- literally everyone age 60 and over has been exposed in their past lives to the chickenpox virus".

I've never had the chicken pox. My sister did, though, so i was clearly exposed to the virus. I really really really don't want painful blisters in my eyes or anywhere on me come to think of it.

I've never known anyone who had shingles and i do have quite a few family members who made it past 60, so i guess 1 million cases per year isn't such a huge number. Still, who wants to take a chance? Blistery eye lesions. *shudder*

By min | October 26, 2006, 1:53 PM | Science


Comments

"I've never known anyone who had shingles"

Liar! I had shingles about 6 months before my wedding! I had a weird ring of, what I thought were, bug bites on my back. I went to the dr and he told it was a mild case of shingles. They did hurt (he gave me vicodin!), but luckily they never spread further than that. No eye blisters!

god, what is wrong with you? is there any disease you have not contracted?

it must be all this delicious meat I eat.

Hey, I'm shingle, and you know me. Where be all the cute girlsh at?