Vaccines have been at the forefront of almost every conversation over the past year, but do you know if you’re up to date on your routine vaccinations?
The reality is that one-in-five adults over the age of 55 aren’t up to date on their vaccinations or are unsure of their status. This is concerning, as Canadians are busier than ever with demanding work lives and commitments taking over their evenings and weekends. Stress, whether from being busy or a fear of missing out, can take a heavy toll on your body and immune system, and it may contribute to some diseases.
According to Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist, Victor Wong, one of the most common culprits to take over our weakened immune systems is shingles.
“Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus, which stays inactive in your nervous system even after you have recovered from the itchy red spots,” explains Wong. “Years later, the chickenpox virus can reactivate as shingles causing a painful, blistering rash that can last up to four weeks with the associated debilitating pain lasting for months or in some cases years.”
With one third of Canadians likely to develop shingles at some point in their lifetime and an estimated 130,000 new cases in Canada each year, shingles usually appears in one small section of your body.
Symptoms can include pain, burning, sensitivity to touch, itching and blistering. In severe cases, complications can include vision loss (if you develop shingles in and around the eyes), inflammation of the brain, facial paralysis, issues with hearing or balance, as well as bacterial skin infections.
“While there is no cure for shingles, the good news is that it is preventable,” Wong says. “If you’re over 50 and have had chicken pox or feel as though you might be at risk, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the shingles vaccine, as well as other routine vaccines you may be missing.”
Find more information at shoppersdrugmart.ca.