Shingles is caused by the same varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox, the common but rarely dangerous childhood disease that causes a widespread itchy, red skin rash. The virus stays in the body in a dormant stage, reawakening decades later to cause a blistering rash called shingles. Depending on where on the body the outbreak is, complications, though rare, have the potential to cause blindness, hearing problems, pneumonia, encephalitis and even death. More commonly, shingles causes a lot of pain, and the pain can linger long after the rash has gone. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1 in 3 Americans will suffer a shingles outbreak in their lifetime. There is a vaccine for shingles that has been shown to reduce your risk by half and reduce the pain associated with shingles if you do get an outbreak. The CDC recommends all adults 60 and older get vaccinated against the painful nerve disease, barring certain medical conditions. To make getting the vaccine more available, the Rite Aid pharmacy chain is launching a national shingles vaccination and education campaign at more than 1,200 of its locations in 31 states and the District of Columbia. You can log on to www.riteaid.com/shingles to find a location near you and call the pharmacy to check if an appointment is needed and other details. To learn more about shingles, go to our recent feature //www.parentgiving.com/elder-care/what-you-need-to-know-about-shingles/.
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