Posted by Colin Heggie on May 21, 2019
Teresa Bartel introduced her Railway Plaza neighbour, pharmacist Gerard Kampman, owner of North End Pharmacy Remedy’s Rx.  Gerard provided an update on shingles, the herpes zoster, which is the same virus as chicken pox.  Chicken pox in children is very contagious, but relatively benign, whereas shingles in adults is painful, & can have a significant impact on quality of life, particularly if a chronic phase produces ongoing pain.  Risk factors for shingles increase with age, lack of previous chicken pox or the vaccine, a compromised immune system or co-existing medical conditions.  Since the mid-1990’s, vaccines have been available for children, to prevent chicken pox.  In 2006, the Zostavax® vaccine was introduced to help prevent shingles in adults.  A new, more effective vaccine, “Shingrix,” is now available.  It requires two intramuscular injections, several weeks apart, with some local discomfort &/or fever, at a total cost of around $300.  Neither Zostavax® or Shingrix is guaranteed to eliminate shingles, but they will reduce the severity of the condition, & the likelihood of an ongoing painful chronic phase.