Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body, often the face or torso. The rash forms blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. For some people the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-lasting pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), and it is the most common complication of shingles. Your risk of shingles and PHN increases as you get older.
Shingles vaccine has been used since 2006. Zostavax® is the only shingles vaccine currently approved for use in the United States. This vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by 51% and PHN by 67%. It is given in one dose as a shot, and can be given in a doctor’s office or pharmacy.
CDC recommends shingles vaccine for people age 60 years and older. Even people who have had shingles can receive the vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease.
- CDC Shingles Website
- Shingles Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know About Shingles and Shingles Vaccine [2 pages]
- Shingles Vaccine Information Statement
- Shingles information on vaccines.gov
- Pictures of Shingles Warning: Some of these photos are graphic.
- CDC Feature: Prevent Shingles
- Page last reviewed: May 1, 2014
- Page last updated: July 14, 2016
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