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Shingles vaccine in short supply

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It’s an odd name for a nasty condition: shingles. It has nothing to do with roofing. The Latin name, cingulum, meaning “belt,” became “shingles” in early English. The Latin name is a reference to the strips of rash on one side of the body. Shingles is a painful skin condition that can develop in anyone who has had chickenpox. The virus that causes chickenpox, Varicella zoster virus (VZV), is a member of the herpes family. It goes into hiding when a person recovers from chickenpox, but many years later if age, illness or stress weakens the immune system, VZV can reappear. It causes extreme tenderness along the path of the affected nerve. Within a few days, a blistering rash appears.

Shingles usually attacks older people, but even individuals in their 40s may suffer. Prescription anti-viral drugs such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) can shorten the duration and intensity of the attack. These drugs are most effective if taken within a few days of the initial symptoms.

There is now a shingles vaccine, Zostavax, that halves the chance of coming down with shingles. It also seems to reduce the severity of the attacks that occur.

Data just published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (February, 2011) show that people can get shingles more than once. As a result, it makes sense to get vaccinated even after having shingles. People are urged to get the shot after they turn 60 and not to wait until they are debilitated. The shot is considered much less reliable if the immune system is weakened.

 Zostavax — a one-time vaccine that costs  $200 — cut the risk of getting shingles by 55 percent in clinical trials, but now its  manufacturer, Merck, says it won’t be able to fill many orders until fall 2011.

At Custer Pharmacy, we have ordered the vaccine two months ago but are still waiting to receive it in our order. If you are interested in getting the vaccine you need a prescription from your physician. Your name will be on a waiting list and you will be given the vaccine as soon as available. Medicare Part D does cover most of the cost.

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on July 7, 2011, 5:23 am. Filed under ThisIsMyCounty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry