Shingles Vaccine and Treatment Options

Dr. Alan Low, BSc. (Pharm), PharmD, ACPR, FCSHP discusses Shingles Vaccine and Treatment Options

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Dr. Alan Low, BSc. (Pharm), PharmD, ACPR, FCSHP discusses Shingles Vaccine and Treatment Options
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Alan Low, BSc.(Pharm.), Pharm. D., FCSHP, Pharmacist Shingles Vaccine and Treatment Options Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

So shingles, sometimes called herpes zoster, is actually caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.

That’s the same virus that causes the chicken pox, so if you’ve had the chicken pox, that means the shingles virus is already inside of you. And when it reactivates, that’s what really causes the shingles.

In fact, 95 percent of the population has been exposed to chicken pox and already has the virus inside of them. It’s not just after having chicken pox that it occurs, it’s usually many years later.

Shingles is a very painful and blistering rash that can last several weeks. It generally affects one part of the body, such as your torso, but shingles can also cause pain and rash in the face and affect the eyes.

It is estimated that approximately one in three people will experience shingles in their lifetime, and your risk increases after age 50. So by the time someone reaches 85 years of age, one in two of those people will have already had the shingles at some point in their life already.

For most people, the shingles pain may resolve as the rash heals, but for others shingles may continue to linger on and actually have long-lasting nerve pain – something called postherpetic neuralgia. Sometimes that’s abbreviated PHN; it can last for months or even years after the rash heals.

The pain from the postherpetic neuralgia can sometimes be very difficult to control, and it often requires pain medication and sometimes other treatments for the pain as well. For some, this nerve pain can affect normal daily activity, and can even lead to loss of independent living. As well for some, it can cause some anxiety, and also cause depression as well for some people.

There are ways to protect yourself. There is a vaccine available to you if you’re 50 or over, and it can help reduce the risk of developing shingles. The thing is, for folks that are aging and are over 50, there’s an exponential increase in the risk of developing shingles as you age, particularly at that 50 point. It exponentially increases after that age.

If you suspect you have shingles, you need to see your doctor right away. If you’re 50 or over, you should consider getting the shingles vaccine, and actually speak with your pharmacist or physician with respect to the risks and benefits of the shingles vaccine to see if it’s right for you.

In fact, in some regions, you can receive information and the vaccination directly from a pharmacist, at the pharmacy right there.

Presenter: Dr. Alan Low, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pharmacist

Shingles Video Quiz ( 16 participated.)

Do you know how to protect yourself against Shingles?


Shingles can result in a painful and sometimes debilitating condition callled post herpetic neuralgia.


There is a vaccine currently available to help prevent shingles from occuring.


The vaccine is indicated for anyone abouve the age of 40.


After age 50, the risks of getting shingles goes up drastically.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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