Health Watch — Vaccinations: Shingles

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about vaccinations adults may need. Chicken pox is a childhood disease that may strike again in a different way later in life. Shingles, which causes a painful, blistering skin rash, is caused by the same virus as chicken pox. Now there’s a vaccine for shingles that boosts immunity so the chicken pox virus doesn’t reactivate.

Dr. Craig Rubin, chairman of geriatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the vaccine has been approved for adults over 60, but it isn’t known if it will work for patients over 80 or how long the vaccine is effective. The vaccine doesn’t treat an active shingles infection. If you’ve recently had shingles, talk to your doctor about whether you should have this vaccine.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in geriatrics.


February 2008

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