A new film, Shingles: What You Need to Know to Avoid a World of Pain, offers an educational glimpse into the symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and prevention of shingles.
“While we all know what chickenpox is – and may even remember having it – what most people don’t know is that the same virus responsible for the chickenpox can cause shingles,” said Katrin Werner-Perez, Health Education Program Manager for the Alliance. “The virus may also stay in the body after receiving the chickenpox vaccine because the vaccine uses a live virus, though it is usually removed by the immune system.”
The varicella-zoster virus, or VZV, stays in the body after recovering from chickenpox. As the immune system decreases with age, stress, and other conditions, the virus can reactivate and cause a new infection.
Because 99% of people over the age of 50 have VZV, the most important way to avoid reactivating the virus and getting shingles is to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 50 get the two-dose shingles vaccine to reduce their risk of infection and the serious complications that can come with it.
To learn more about shingles, watch the film and talk to your healthcare provider. Visit AgingResearch.org/OurBestShot to learn more.