You probably don’t remember having chickenpox as a child or getting a chickenpox vaccine.
If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk of shingles, and you won’t soon forget the severe pain it can cause.
The first sign of shingles is usually pain, which can be severe. After a few days, a person with shingles may develop a rash and fluid-filled blisters. Shingles can also cause burning, numbness, itching, and sensitivity to touch.
If you have had chickenpox, you can get shingles at some point during your lifetime. Almost one in three Americans will get shingles at least once, and the risk increases with age.
There are some medications available that can improve some of the shingles symptoms. These antiviral medicines do not cure shingles, but they can shorten the duration and lessen the severity of the illness.
A shingles vaccine can lower the risk of getting the illness. A new vaccine, Shingrix, was approved in late 2017 and is much more effective than previous vaccines.
If you think you may have shingles, visit your doctor as soon as possible to get treatment. If you haven’t had shingles, or even if you have, get a vaccine to give yourself the best protection from the illness.