CHARLES TOWN — Anyone that has had chicken pox as a child could get shingles as an adult.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a shingle vaccination for people 60 years of age and up.
“We recommend the shingles vaccination for people 60 and older,” said Dr. Craig Hales is the medical epidemiologist, Division of Viral Diseases for the CDC.
Hales said 30 percent of Americans would develop shingles at some point in his or her life.
“Statistics show 1 million cases of shingles in the United States annually,” Hales said, adding about half of the cases are people over 60.
Chicken pox is contagious even a couple days before it breaks out.
Hales said symptoms begin with a rash usually on the trunk of the body. The rash can also appear on the face and legs.
“The rash is very painful and the pain can last for years. The rash itself generally clears up within a week or two, but there can be complications,” Hales said.
Shingles rarely occur to people under 40 years of age and a person can get shingles more than once.
Hales said the shingles rash can leave scars and secondary infection can set in.
“If shingles go into the eye, the cornea can be scarred and in some cases could lead to blindness,” said Hales.
A vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.
Hales said although the vaccine is said to be effective for a lifetime, it is relatively new.
“More research is being done on the duration of its effectiveness,” Hales said..
The Jefferson County Health Department gives shingle vaccinations at a cost of $170.