Health Tip: Getting the Shingles Vaccine

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Who is a candidate, and who isn't

(HealthDay News) -- The Zostavax vaccine helps protect against shingles, a painful infection caused by herpes zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these guidelines for getting the shingles vaccine:

Who should get the vaccine:

  • Anyone who is 60 or older, whether or not they can recall having had chickenpox as a child. Researchers have found that more than 99 percent of Americans 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they don't remember being sick.

Who should NOT get the vaccine:

  • Anyone who has ever had a serious reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other ingredient in the shingles vaccine. Speak with your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system should speak with their doctor before getting the vaccine.
  • Anyone taking immune-suppressing drugs or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Any woman who is pregnant or could be pregnant.

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