Shingles facts, suggestions and information about Shingles prevention, treatment and symptom relief

Shingles is a painful condition, and a Shingles outbreak can occur to you at any time, if you've had chickenpox in the past. Learn more about this debilitating illness, what you can do to prevent a Shingles outbreak and treatments for easing the pain and discomfort of a Shingles outbreak.

How to Prevent Shingles

There is nothing you can do to completely prevent a Shingles outbreak. If you have had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine, there is a 1 in 5 chance that you will have a Shingles outbreak during your lifetime. And as you age (i.e., 60 and above), the likelihood of having a Shingles outbreak increases (your chances are about 50%, when you reach the age of 80). Although 100% Shingles prevention is not possible, there are some things you can do to significantly reduce your odds of having a Shingles outbreak:
  • Since extreme stress is one contributor to increasing your changes of having a Shingles outbreak, try to reduce stressful situations in your life as much as possible.
  • Although your living situation may make it difficult to take advantage of this suggestion, research indicates that older patients living in a household with children who have had chickenpox, have a reduced likelihood of having a Shingles outbreak.
  • A one-time vaccination of Zostavax can reduce your odds of having a Shingles outbreak by up to 50%, and if you do have a Shingles outbreak, this vaccine will help to reduce the pain and duration of your Shingles outbreak.
  • Although, this is often out of our control, try to avoid making health and lifestyle choices that would tend to compromise your body's immune system. Patients taking medications for the treatment of HIV, lupus, arthritis or Hodgkin's disease will have a suppressed immune system and therefore be more susceptible to having a Shingles outbreak.

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