Shingles Support Society – UK
A vaccine to prevent shingles (herpes zoster) is available to most people from 70-79 years old in the UK. Uptake of the vaccine was good when it was introduced in 2013, but now, in some areas, fewer eligible people are taking advantage of the injection.
It has been shown to half the number of cases that occur, and in the others, who do develop shingles the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia is much reduced. It is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which is a neuropathic pain that makes shingles such a potentially life-changing illness in older people.
Prompt treatment with antiviral medication can alleviate the acute phase, but in older people, PHN is increasingly common with about 65% of 85-year-olds who develop shingles finding that PHN continues to plague them long after the shingles rash has gone.
In order to encourage health professionals to encourage eligible people to take advantage of the vaccine, Marian Nicholson, director of the Shingles Support Society and a sufferer of a very mild form of PHN herself, took part in filming an educational video. The producers employed medical personnel to give details of epidemiology, treatment, etc. Marian’s role was to describe how shingles pain has affected the lives of patients – stories that she has heard on the shingles helpline: the woman who could not leave her house as wearing clothes was so painful- or the man who had to take several showers each night as this was the only way he could sleep (for a while)…
This vaccine is available in many EU countries and people should be encouraged to take advantage of it.
For more information contact Marian Nicholson, PAE Board Member