The risk of shingles increases with age, as the immune system weakens as part of normal aging. We recommend to take the two dose recombinant zoster vaccine for all people age 50 or older. The recombinant zoster vaccine prevents both the onset of shingles and the post herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain) caused by shingles. Ask our nurses about the shingles vaccine at the Vaccination Clinic!
Painful shingles, preventable with shingles vaccine
Shingles is a painful, blistering rash caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus left in the body. Everyone who has had chickenpox earlier has the risk of getting shingles at older age. Unfortunately, shingles can lead to long-term and painful complications. The most common long-term side effects are pain, tenderness and nerve pain (post herpetic neuralgia e.g PHN) at the site of the rash. In the area of the face, the infection can spread to the eye and damage the structures of the eye and cause permanent problems.
More than 95% of 50-year-olds have had chickenpox as a child and carry the virus that causes shingles. An estimated 30-50% of Finns suffer from shingles. Most people who get shingles will have it only once. However, you can get the disease more than once.
Symptoms and transmission
Shingles occurs on one side of the body or in the buttocks. Rash on the face occurs in about 10-20% of patients, which can also cause inflammation of the eye. Shingles occurs less frequently in the lower or upper limbs and almost always only on one side of the body in a “belt-like” formation.
Often the first symptom of shingles is pain and it can start up to a week before the skin redness. After this, clear blisters a few millimeters in size appear on the skin, accompanied by stinging, pain and tenderness. Eventually, the blisters dry out and scab, healing in about a month. Blisters are caused by the chickenpox virus, and in rare cases, a person with shingles can infect a nonimmune person with chickenpox.
As you age, shingles becomes more common
The risk of shingles increases with age as the immune system weakens as part of normal aging. The immune system declines, usually either with age or due to a serious illness. Chickenpox virus can be activated from the nerve cells in the spinal cord and travel along the nerves to the skin, causing shingles. One of the most unfortunate serious consequences of shingles is prolonged nerve pain. This is more common in older people.
Recombinant zoster vaccine
A vaccine to prevent the onset of shingles and subsequent nerve pain is available in Finland. Ask our nurses for more information about the vaccine. The new vaccine does not contain living virus and can also be given to people with weakened immunity.
The shingles vaccine is given as a series of two vaccines. The basic vaccination series consists of 2 doses between 2-6 months. The vaccine is not part of the national vaccination programme. You find our prices here.
Contact our clinics with questions of shingles vaccine!
Read more: GSK