Shingles virus can strike one in three
BY MATT VINE
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Kathleen Mosier Koerner, who turns 92 this Sunday, of Tunkhannock, woke up one morning when she was about 70 and didn’t know what hit her.
She hurt all over and in a matter of hours discovered that the excruciating pain she was feeling all over her body was from something she had as a little girl.
Welcome to shingles.
The Centers for Disease Control claim that one out of three people will get shingles over their lifetime, and you could be next.
Tyler Hospital Emergency Room Director Mohammad Ashraf said that about one million people experience shingles annually mostly persons over the age of 50 who had chickenpox when they were children.
“Shingles is characterized by painful patches on the skin that is restricted to a single nerve,” Ashraf said. “The symptoms and patches tend to resolve over 10 to 15 days, but the pain associated with this can last weeks to months. Patients are infectious until the patches dry over.”
Ashraf said that the shingles virus can cause pain all over the body.
“How the shingles virus is spread inside a person, depends on a rash that is located anywhere on a person’s body,” Ashraf said. “Some of the locations that this rash could be are on the chest, abdomen, and also around the eye.”
Ashraf noted that in order to tell if a person has shingles, he or she might feel a sharp deep pain in a small area on the body.
“Some of the other symptoms may include burning sensations and body aches,” Ashraf said.
He also noted that if a person has one of the symptoms, it will take two to three days for a rash to appear in an area.
“If a person has a rash, and they are over 50 years old, they have to see their primary care physician as soon as possible for treatment,” Ashraf said.
However, the good news is that there are ways to prevent shingles from happening.”
Ashraf said that in 2006, a vaccine was developed to help decrease a person’s chance of having shingles later on.
“However, we don’t know how long the vaccine is good for,” Ashraf said.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get a vaccine that worked, then an antibiotic is usually recommended.
“However, once a person is treated, he or she can have Post Hepatic Neuralgia,” Ashraf said. “This means that a person might have a long-term pain at the site of a rash.”
Ashraf said that the shingles vaccine is now recommended for people age 50 and older as long as a person is not pregnant and not having any chronic pain on the body.
Last week, Shealynn Shave, a spokesman for the Tyler Health Partnership, said that the group gave a $10,335 check to Tyler hospital to help individuals with the cost for a shingles vaccine this year.
Tyler is expecting to provide a clinic in the spring to help keep the shingles virus at bay.
“Many health care plans don’t cover the costs for a shingles vaccine,” Shave said. “An average cost for seniors who want a shingles vaccine can range from $180 to $275.”
And, so, the Tyler partnership wants to bring those costs down dramatically as a public service.
Last November, some 65 persons benefited from a similar vaccination clinic, and around 40 are on a waiting list, Shave said.