A quarter of adults will get shingles in their lifetime (all of whom will previously have had chickenpox) and the risk increases with age. There are around 50,000 cases among those aged 70-plus in England and Wales each year.
While shingles is usually mild, with pain around the blisters and sickness that can last several weeks, some suffer severe pain for years after their rash has healed, and around 50 Britons die from shingles each year, according to the Vaccine Knowledge Project at Oxford University.
The shingles vaccine, offered to people on the NHS when they turn 70, aims to cut the risk of the condition and reduce the severity of the illness if it does develop.
The main symptom is a burning pain in the area of the rash, which can be quite severe. Other symptoms include fever, headache, chills, tiredness and upset stomach. Very rarely, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or death.
How does a person develop shingles?
Anyone who has had chicken pox is at risk of developing shingles later in life. However, if you have never had chickenpox, then you can catch it from someone who has shingles.
It is common for an outbreak to occur in people who have a weakened immune system, due to illness, cancer or drugs such as chemotherapy or steroids.
Apart from the shingles vaccine, there is no other proven method of preventing this condition. The vaccine is available on the NHS only for patients who are aged 79, 78 or 70.
Even if you have already had shingles, you are still at risk of developing symptoms again. The shingles vaccine helps to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of future attacks.
The shingles vaccine
We can offer the Shingles vaccination for suitable clients over the age of 50 years.
There are two vaccinations on the market:
The original one dose vaccination – Zostavax can be booked at Cosmopolitan – £210
The new two dose course from GSK – Shingrix – A non live and very effective vaccination is a two dose with an 8 week gap between appointments – £210
Due to significant demand, both doses must be ordered and paid for in advance so that we can ensure the schedule can be completed on time
Oral anti-viral treatment can be taken, which has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. Most commonly Aciclovir 800mg, 5 times daily is the recommended dose. If you are currently suffering with shingles, make an appointment with our doctor so your symptoms can be assessed and treatment started immediately.
Zostavax is a one-dose vaccination.
Shingrix is a two-dose course, with 8 weeks between doses.
Have a look at our pricing table for more information about our other vaccinations and travel medications.
How much does it cost?
The vaccination costs £210.00.