As we age, maintaining our health becomes increasingly important. It is crucial that we remain vigilant for health concerns that affect older individuals. One such condition is Shingles, also known as herpes zoster or more locally, as snake disease (生蛇) or kayap ular).
What is Shingles?
Shingles is an infectious disease typically looks like a band of painful, small blisters, that appear in one location on the body. These rashes usually last 2 weeks.
When a person recovers from chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains inactive within certain nerve cells (known as the dorsal root ganglia). However, for 1 in 3 people, this dormant virus can reactivate later in life, resulting in Shingles.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get Shingles. However, the risk increases with age, especially for people over 50. Those with weakened immune systems, such as people with certain medical conditions like HIV or cancer or those who have undergone organ transplants, are also at a higher risk.
What Does Shingles Feel Like?
The main symptom of Shingles is a painful rash, which can be described as aching, burning, stabbing, or tingling at the affected area. This rash usually appears as a band on one side of the body, rarely crossing over to the other side. It follows the area supplied by the affected nerve cells. Shingles most commonly appears on the trunk of the body, but can also appear on the face, neck, and eyes.
Other symptoms of Shingles can include headaches, sensitivity to light, upset stomach, and fever.
Can Shingles Spread?
Shingles is contagious. If you have Shingles, you can pass the varicella-zoster virus to another person who comes into contact with your open blisters, particularly if they’ve never had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated. This is very important for older adults, particularly parents or grandparents.
Complications of Shingles
Most people recover from Shingles without complications, but some may experience post-herpetic neuralgia.
Vaccination: The Best Prevention
Because of the potential complications and discomfort caused by Shingles, prevention is crucial. Vaccination is the best way to prevent Shingles and reduce the risk of complications.
It is possible to get Shingles more than once. While some people may only get Shingles once in their lifetime, others may experience it multiple times. The Shingles vaccine can help reduce the risk of recurrence.
For those aged 50 and above, we strongly recommend getting vaccinated against Shingles. As with any medical decision, please consult with your doctor to discuss your personal health situation and decide if the Shingles vaccination is right for you.
Maintaining your health is a lifelong journey, and prevention is your best defence.
Do not delay; get your Shingles vaccination today!
You may reach out to us at +65 6535 0608 to know more about Shingles vaccination