If you have ever had the chicken pox, you are at risk to develop a painful, blister skin rash called shingles. Varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chicken pox, can reappear later in life and cause shingles.
VZV remains dormant in your nerve cells after the chicken pox symptoms have cleared, but can reoccur as shingles if your immune system is weakened due to stress or an immunosuppressant drug or medical condition. The dormant VZV reactivates and travels from the nerves to reappear as a blistering rash on the skin, typically on one side of the body.
Although everyone who has had chicken pox is at risk, shingles most commonly occurs in people over the age of 50. However, there’s good news! Merck & Co. has developed the FDA-approved shingles vaccine, Zostavax, to help prevent people 50 or older from developing the painful condition.
Dr. Mahyar Okhovat, M.D., a neurologist at PMIR Medical Center, highly recommends to his patients who are 50 years or older to be vaccinated. Dr. Okhovat states, “the sooner you get vaccinated, the better your chances of avoiding and preventing shingles.” Zostavax is administered in a single shot, usually in your arm, and can be given by your primary care physician.
Although we recommend getting the shingles vaccine, Zostavax may NOT be right for everyone. Please consult with your health care professional about whether this vaccine is right for you! Zostavax will not treat shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the nerve pain that can last for months following an outbreak.
If you currently are suffering from shingle pain, call PMIR Medical Center today at (855) 764-7633.PMIR Medical Center currently has offices in Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Our pain management specialists are dedicated to helping patients achieve last freedom from pain.
Please visit www.zostavax.com for more detailed information about the shingles vaccine.