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The shingles vaccine
is an injection to protect you from the herpes-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles is a painful rash that develops in people who had chickenpox. You can get the shingles vaccine even if you do not know if you had chickenpox. If you have had shingles, the vaccine can help prevent another outbreak.
Who should get the shingles vaccine:
- Anyone 60 years or older
- Anyone who has had shingles, to prevent another outbreak
Who should not get the shingles vaccine or should wait to get it:
Anyone who has a temperature of 101.3°F or higher should wait to get the vaccine until symptoms get better. You should not get the vaccine if:
- You had a severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any part of the vaccine
- You have a weakened immune system from HIV or AIDS, are taking a drug such as steroids or cancer treatment, or have certain cancers
- You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within 4 weeks of receiving the vaccine
Risks of the shingles vaccine:
You may develop a rash that looks like chickenpox near the injection site. The site may also be red, sore, swollen, or itch. You may get shingles even after you receive the vaccine. You may have an allergic reaction. This can be life-threatening.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, swelling in your throat, or hives.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have a high fever or behavior changes that concern you.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have questions or concerns about the shingles vaccine.
Apply a warm compress
to the area to relieve swelling and pain. If you develop a chickenpox-like rash near the injection site, cover the rash until it goes away.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.