Published: Feb 19, 2015
A free Shingles vaccine has been made available for the aged residents of Dudley. Presently, the residents who are aged more than 70 years are being informed about this one-time vaccine.
Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is a nerve infection that makes the affected nerve cause extreme pain and rash over the surrounding area of the nerve. Since, it is a viral infection there are only drugs that can minimize the seriousness of the condition, till it gradually subsides. It is quite common because, research shows that at least 20% of the people get some form of Shingles during their life. The only major complication with Shingles is the intense bouts of pain that it causes, which the older people may not be able to tolerate. Other rare complications include, bacterial infection of the skin which may cause it to become septic, inflammation of the skin area below the eye, and prolonged weakness in case, the affected nerve is a sensory nerve.
Shingles is quite the equivalent of Chicken-pox in children, in the sense that it is caused by the repeated activation of the chicken-pox virus. The Chicken pox virus that might have affected you as a child, may remain hibernated near the spinal cord, for many years after the disease struck you. Once, this virus is triggered, it may travel through the nerves and infect your skin causing Shingles. However, older people are more vulnerable to this painful disease as against chicken pox, which is more probable among children.
Though the mortality rate is very low(about 0.001%), it has might have a jarring painful effect on the infected people, even years after it has healed.
Mr.Rachel Harris who looks after the healthcare department of Dudley’s Council says ‘the disease may manifest itself as a mild infection that can be cured easily, or as an uncontrollably progressive infection which makes it very uncomfortable for the victim. In any case, it would be prudent to take the vaccine, as it now comes free of cost’
He also adds that ‘any vaccine only does the job of training the body’s immunity against a particular disease, so there is always a probability of getting the disease. But, even if you get the disease, it will not be as virulent as in a non-vaccinated person.’
Another important fact that is mentioned about the disease is that, it has a relationship with chicken-pox, while being contagious. Those who have had chicken pox before cannot get Shingles externally and are not likely to catch chicken-pox again from a Shingles infected person. But, you may get chicken-pox from a Shingles patient if you have not had the Chicken-pox before.
Mr. Harris makes an appeal, saying that ‘for the people of Dudley, this vaccine is available at GP surgeries and anyone who is of an age over 70 years should make no delay in taking an appointment and going to this place to claim their free vaccine.’
Remember, that this is a one time vaccine, as against Flu vaccines or others, that have an expiry period.