If you have had chickenpox (varicella), you are at risk of developing shingles. Shingles is a painful skin rash that usually appears in a strip or small area on one side of the face or body. It is caused by a reactivation, or awakening, of the chickenpox virus.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over 50 years old.
About one in three Canadians develop shingles in their lifetime. Shingles is most common in older adults who have weakened immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medications, and more. While you can’t catch shingles from someone else, there is a small chance that a shingles rash can spread the varicella virus to someone who hasn’t had chickenpox or hasn’t had the chickenpox vaccine. Speak to your health-care provider immediately if you suspect you may have shingles.
While shingles can be mild for some people - it can be severe for others, with burning, stabbing pain that can persist for months or even years. Your best defense is to get the shingles vaccine which is recommended for adults over 50 years of age.
If interested in purchasing the vaccine, contact your local Public Health Office, pharmacy, or health-care provider.