(KFVS) – March is Shingles Awareness Month and the Southern Seven Health Department is spreading the word.
The Community Outreach Coordinator has some helpful information.
“We are sending out information to our interagency partners as well as to businesses and other agencies in the region. We’ve got quite a bit of information on our Facebook page and are just reaching out into the community through our clinics, our Headstart sites, letting when people know that they can prevent Shingles. You are at risk for Shingles if you’ve had Chickenpox because it is the same virus. If you’ve had Chickenpox as a child, it is possible that you could develop Shingles later on in life and you can even have Shingles as a child following Chickenpox. So it’s important to make sure that your child has not been vaccinated against Chickenpox they do so, and as an adult, if you’ve never had Chickenpox, it is good to go ahead and get the vaccination. And if you’ve had Chickenpox, then you do you want to make sure that you get the shingles vaccination,” Shawnna Rhine said.
“As far as the incident rate, we’ve not seen a lot of cases in our region. Normally, that’s not reported to our region when it comes to that for the health department. But we do have access to that information if we need it. But what we do know is that that generally one out of three Americans who’ve had Chickenpox will go on to develop shingles and that’s a pretty high number. It’s estimated that about 1 million Americans each year have Shingles,” Rhine said.
“Well, if you suspect you have Shingles, there are some things to be thinking about. Normally it starts off with a little bit of pain, itching or redness emphasize you will start to develop a rash It could even turn into blisters, and that’s actually when it becomes contagious. Once the blisters form. You’ll also have flu like symptoms like a fever, headache, chills, upset stomach. So if you suspect you have Shingles, it is best to contact your doctor to get tested and make sure that is what you’re dealing with. That way your doctor can start you on anti viral medications and help you with treatment at home,” she said.
“Shingles is not contagious to someone who has had Chickenpox you can’t contract Shingles. What is concerning is if you’ve not had Chickenpox, and you can track the virus from someone who has Shingles, then you yourself could go on to develop Chickenpox and then Shingles yourself. So if you’ve been vaccinated against Chickenpox you are protected against a Shingles virus. However, there is a likelihood that you could get it just a very small chance,” she said.
Rhine said if you’re older than 19 with a weakened immune system or if you’re older than 50, get your shingles shot.
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