People in their 70s urged to take up shingles vaccine offer
People in their 70s are being urged to protect themselves against shingles with a free vaccine.
GP practices across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are offering the vaccination as part of the NHS shingles vaccination programme for 2017/18, which began on 1 September 2017.All eligible people are encouraged to book an appointment with their GP practice for their free shingles vaccination.
By the end of August 2017, not even half of all eligible 70 year olds in the Wessex area had been vaccinated against shingles but the NHS is encouraging everyone who is offered the vaccine to take it up.
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox.Most people have chickenpox as children, but the infection lays dormant in the nervous system, even after recovery from the illness.This can reactivate later in life when the immune system is weakened to cause shingles.
As people get older their immune system naturally weakens; which is why those aged 70 and over are more likely to get shingles.
Shingles is a very itchy, painful, burning group of blisters. Shingles can be very painful and debilitating and because it reactivates in the nervous system, it can lead to nerve pain and other health problems long after the initial rash has disappeared.The rash commonly affects one area of the body, often the chest, but it can also affect any nerves - including those in the face and eyes - and can last up to four weeks.
However for some people, pain can persist for several months, or even years, after the rash has disappeared.
Complications of shingles can be also be fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop the illness which is why it is so important that eligible people take up the offer and get vaccinated against the virus.