Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the reawakening of the chickenpox virus. Roughly 1 in 4 people who have had chickenpox will go on to develop shingles. People tend to get shingles more often as they get older and the older you are, the worse it can be. If you are aged 70 or 78 years old you are eligible for the shingles vaccine. Additionally, those eligible within the last 3 years can also get the vaccine up until their 80th birthday. If you are eligible for the vaccine or aged between 70-80 years of age and are unsure, please contact your GP practice.
Symptoms of shingles include pain, followed by a rash which looks similar to chickenpox. This rash will develop into itchy blisters and after a few days, these blisters will turn into scabs. Pain can vary from mild to severe and may be experienced as a dull, constant or as a burning sensation. Shingles normally lasts around two to four weeks and usually affects a specific area on just one side of the body. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, some sufferers can’t even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.