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June 2008 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Shingles Vaccine for Pain Prevention, Tips to Avoid Antibiotic Resistant Infections, and Benefits of Broad Genetic Testing
Date:6/24/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Here are highlights from the June issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource attribution is required. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit http://www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.

Pain Prevention for Older Adults -- the Shingles Vaccine

A vaccine to prevent shingles -- a painful and common skin rash -- has been available for more than two years, but few people reportedly are vaccinated.

The June issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource covers why this vaccine, Zostavax, is recommended for adults over age 60.

Nearly everyone in this age group has had chickenpox. And the virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster virus, remains dormant in the body's nerves. In some people, the virus can reactivate and travel along nerve endings to the skin. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of adults over 60 develop shingles.

Shingles usually appears as a blistering rash along one side of the trunk, chest, back or face. The condition is particularly dangerous on the face because it can affect the eye and lead to temporary or permanent blindness. The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia, a chronic pain that can be so severe people are willing to do just about anything to get rid of it.

The best medicine for shingles may be prevention. The Shingles Prevention Study, a large government-funded study, found that the vaccine prevented about 50 to 60 percent of shingles episodes in older adults. It also prevented about 70 percent of postherpetic neuralgia cases.

The vaccine, given in a single dose, is not appropriate for adults with weakened immune systems a
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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