Health & Wellness

Health Q & A with Jeannie Marr


Question: I hear that there is a new shingles shot that has come out. Does Creswell Health Mart Pharmacy carry it and am I eligible to get it?

Answer: Yes, we do carry Shingrix. It’s a new shingles vaccine that is nearly 100 percent effective. Stop by any time during business hours at 175 E. Oregon Ave. to either get the vaccine or ask questions of one of our pharmacists.

What everyone should know about the shingles vaccine (Shingrix): One of the CDC’s recommended vaccines:
• Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix®, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.
• Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection stays above 85 percent for at least the first four years after you get vaccinated. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax®, a shingles vaccine in use since 2006.

Who should get Shingrix?
Healthy adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by two to six months. You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:
• had shingles
• received Zostavax
• are not sure if you had chickenpox

Vaccine for Those 50 Years and Older
Shingrix reduces the risk of shingles and PHN by more than 90 percent in people 50 and older. CDC recommends the vaccine for healthy adults 50 and older.

There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
If you had shingles in the past, you can get Shingrix to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past. Studies show that more than 99 percent of Americans 40 years and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember having the disease. Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus (varicella zoster virus). After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
If you had Zostavax in the recent past, you should wait at least eight weeks before getting Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
Shingrix is available in doctors’ offices and pharmacies. To find doctors’ offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.

Who Should Not Get Shingrix?
The side effects of the Shingrix vaccine are temporary, and usually last two to three days. While you may experience pain for a few days after getting Shingrix, the pain will be less severe than having shingles and the complications from the disease.

You should not get Shingrix if you:
• have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
tested negative for immunity to varicella zoster virus. If you test negative, you should get the chickenpox vaccine.
• currently have shingles
• currently are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to get Shingrix.
• If you have a minor acute (starts suddenly) illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe acute illness, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3° F or higher.

How well does Shingrix work?
Two doses of Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication of shingles.
• In adults 50 to 69 years old who got two doses, Shingrix was 97 percent effective in preventing shingles; among adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91 percent effective.
• In adults 50 to 69 years old who got two doses, Shingrix was 91 percent effective in preventing PHN; among adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89 percent effective.
• Shingrix protection remained high (more than 85 percent) in people 70 years and older throughout the four years following vaccination. Since your risk of shingles and PHN increases as you get older, it is important to have strong protection against shingles in your older years.

What are the possible side effects of Shingrix?
Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects may affect your ability to do normal daily activities for two to three days.
Most people get a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain or nausea. About 1 out of 6 people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about two to three days. Side effects were more common in younger people.
You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Severe allergic reactions to any vaccine are very rare. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can’t wait, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.
The shingles vaccine does not contain thimerosal (a preservative containing mercury).



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