The concept couldn’t be simpler: the best way to avoid illness is to prevent it.
To avoid getting the flu this winter, get a flu shot. And while you’re at it, get vaccinated for other diseases for which you’re at risk. Which—for those over 50 or 60—include shingles.
Several days ago, I wrote about the obstacles many people, including me, run into when they try to get a shingles shot. On January 12, an excellent post by Paula Span on the same subject was published in the “New York Times” blog New Old Age.
Perhaps, some people don’t know that the viruses from chickenpox suffered decades ago are still lurking beneath the skin. They don’t know that those viruses may become reactivated and cause an ugly and very painful rash. They don’t know that when shingles affects the eyes, it may threaten one’s eyesight.
Or maybe they know about shingles but don’t realize that there is now a vaccine that is even more effective than was originally thought.
I’m not a big believer in shocking or scaring people as a way to get them to do anything—even something that is clearly for their own good. So I thought long and hard about posting an image of a person with shingles. Finally I decided that—if doing that prompted anyone to seek protection from this debilitating disease—it was the right thing to do.
As Paula Span says in her excellent post:
So help spread the word. Shingles is a mean disease, and the older the victim, the meaner it gets. Apart from the pain of that postherpetic neuralgia, it can attack the eyes and permanently damage vision. And once you get an outbreak, you can get another. And another.
I’d welcome your comments or questions.