All Americans over the age of 60 are being encouraged to receive a shingles vaccination, as a report found that vaccinations can reduce the risk of developing the disease by half.
The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente, found that the vaccine is even safe for older adults who are not in top shape, despite a previous recommendation that the vaccine only be given to healthy adults.
“We didn’t know how well the vaccine actually performed in the community setting,” Hung Fu Tseng, who led the study, told Reuters Health.
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chicken pox, and can lead to painful rashes that in extreme cases can cause lasting nerve damage.The first sign of shingles is often burning or tingling pain, or sometimes numbness or itchiness in one particular location on only one side of the body. After a few days, the rash develops. Researchers have calculated that one case of shingles is prevented for every 71 percent of adults who are vaccinated, reported the news service.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common complication caused by shingles is postherpetic neuralgia, where people can develop severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash even after it clears up. While the illness is rare occurrence among those under 40, it can occur in up to half of untreated adults who are over the age of 60. Although the vaccine is also approved for use in people ages 50 to 59 years, the CDC is not recommending the shingles vaccine until you reach age 60.