LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Arkansas Pharmacists Associationis working to increase the number of Shingles vaccinations by 10 percent.
Shingles is an important topic that affects many Arkansans and doctor's say there's a lot of misinformation.
Pharmacist Dr. Eric Crumbaugh stopped by "THV 11 News This Morning" with more details.
Q. What is shingles?
A. Shingles is a disease that 99.5 percent of adults over the age of 40 are at risk for because they have been exposed to chickenpox.
• There are 1 million cases of shingles per year, with 70 percent being in patients over the age of 50.
• One in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime.
• By 85 years of age, 50 percent of individuals will have had shingles.
Q. Why should we be concerned about getting shingles?
A. Among the complications of shingles disease is a very painful rash which can persist months after the infection. It can cause scarring.
• 1 in 5 people will have pain that will continue after the rash clears.
Q. How do you get shingles?
• It is a reactivation of your chicken pox infection so you cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles.
Q. Can you prevent shingles?
A. There is a vaccine that is very effective in preventing shingles.
• Only 14 percent of people over age of 60 have been vaccinated against shingles.
• You can get vaccinated at your local pharmacy.
• Go to www.vaccine.healthmap.org to find a local pharmacy that offers the vaccine, or
• Find a pharmacy with the "We Vaccinate" sticker
Q. Do you need a prescription to get the vaccine?
A. Most pharmacies have an agreement with a physician to allow pharmacists to administer the vaccine.
Q. Does insurance cover the shingles vaccine?
• The vaccine is covered on most pharmacy insurance plans with small copay.
o Medicare Part D
o Arkansas State Employees
Q. If your insurance doesn't cover it, how much will it cost?
A. It may cost up to $240.
Q. Who should get the shingles shot?
• It is recommended for anyone over the age of 50.
o Should still get vaccinated even if you have had shingles.
Q. How effective is the vaccine?
• The vaccine reduces a person's risk of getting shingles by 50 percent.
o If a patient who receives the vaccination gets the shingles, they will have a much milder case.
• As we age our immune system deteriorates.
o The effectiveness of this vaccine decreases as you age.
o The sooner you get the vaccination, the better protected you will be.
Q. Is there anyone who shouldn't get the vaccine?
A. You should not get the shot is you are allergic to neomycin or gelatin (neomycin is in triple antibiotic cream, and gelatin as in Jell-O©)
o People with a weakened immune system (HIV, cancer, high-dose steroids)
Q. Are there any adverse effects from the vaccine?
A. It is a live vaccine, so it is possible, but not probable, that you could get a case of shingles from the vaccine.
o If this happened, it would be a very mild case.
o A rash where you get the shot is very common but will clear quickly.
Q. What if you think you already have shingles?
• If you think you have shingles - a tingling pain or rash on one side of your body -- go to your doctor's office.
o There is medication to treat shingles.
o The pain is very hard to treat because it is nerve pain.
Q. Should you keep records of the shot?
A. Yes, we recommend that your pharmacist record any vaccine that you get on a card like this.
• A record of the shot will be entered into the state vaccine registry.