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Shingles and you

One in four of us will get shingles in your lifetime. Almost all adults in the UK have had chickenpox. Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus. The virus can reactivate later in life to cause you shingles.

Shingles infection can cause

  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling unwell
  • Raised temperature
  • A painful rash (of fluid filled blisters in one area of the body)

Sometimes shingles affects your eyes or the skin around your eyes, this can cause you severe pain or at worst, even blindness.

After the rash has gone some older people have ongoing pain, which can last 6 -12 months, for others this can last even longer.

An information leaflet ‘Shingles vaccination for those aged 70 -79’ is also available.

The pain of shingles

The pain is often described as a burning sensation, stabbing or throbbing. It can be severe and is difficult to treat. Long term pain is more likely in older people.

Protect yourself from the pain of shingles

The shingles vaccine protects older people from shingles and the severe long term pain that can follow and linger.

Shingles vaccination

Routine shingles vaccination for older people was introduced in Wales in 2013 and is being rolled out in phases. A free shingles vaccination is available for those aged 70 years to protect against herpes zoster as part of a national immunisation programme. In time it will be available for everyone aged 70 to 79.

Currently uptake of the shingles vaccine is only around 50% so lots of you that are entitled to this vaccination are missing out on it's protection.

Vaccine Eligibility Checker

Not sure if the shingles vaccination is available to you?

Why not check the shingles vaccination eligibility checker

Simply enter your date of birth into a box to see if you are eligible to have a free shingles vaccine this year. A response will be generated and clear to read based on your date of birth.

The vaccine to protect from shingles is not licensed in the UK for use in those under 50 years of age. If you are over 50 but under 70 and think you are at increased risk of shingles discuss this with your GP, so a decision can then be made based on an individual clinical assessment.

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