Welcome Medicare Nation! Today we’re talking about Shingles. I recently had shingles and my eyes were opened to how painful it is. It’s really a terribly painful illness, so I wanted to give you some facts and tips to help you diagnose your symptoms early.
What is Shingles?
A virus that is a type of herpes zoster virus. You can only get shingles if you’ve had chicken pox. The virus stays dormant in your spine and attach itself to some of the nerves in your spine. Then something comes along and activates it when you have a lower immune system. If you are on auto-immune suppressing drugs, you are more susceptible to the virus.
Increased stress can also trigger an outbreak of shingles.
What are the symptoms?
A blistery rash that generally starts around your back and wraps around your side. I got a blister on the palm of my hand. About a week before the outbreak, you can begin having pain from the nerve endings being affected.
Patches of blisters will grow and then they are painful. You can have headaches and other pain that goes along with it.
The virus starts coming down your nerve path and it becomes extremely painful. The pain is similar to neuropathy pain.
Because I sought treatment within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, I was able to take an anti-viral medication. This caused the pain to being to lessen over the next few days.
Lidocaine can be given to block the pain.
Advil.,Motrin will also be given to lessen pain.
Anybody can get shingles. More likely to occur in older folks because the immune system is naturally weaker.
50% of people over the age of 60 to get shingles.
Shingles is contagious. It is contagious when the blisters are broken open and oozing. Direct contact with open blisters should be avoided.
Shingles Vaccine - given to people 60 and over - Zostavax. There is a 51% chance of not getting the virus when you get the vaccine.
Who should NOT get the vaccine?
-People with allergies to gelatin
Info about Shingles Vaccine:
Medicare Advantage plans will require a co-pay. Find out what it costs with your plan by calling customer service with you plan.
Original Medicare - you will pay 20%
Medigap - you won’t pay anything
There is no season for shingles. Anyone can get it at any time.
You can find out more about shingles here.
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I may answer one of your questions on the air!
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Find out more information about Medicare on Diane Daniel’s website!