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I am 61. Do I need to be vaccinated against shingles?​

“Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles,” says Anita Mehta, M.D., a board-certified Dermatology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Dr. Mehta says vaccines that can significantly reduce the risk of getting shingles have been approved and are available.

“I recommend the shingles vaccine for individuals 60 and older,” she says.

Shingles, also known as herpes-zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox – is a blistering, often painful skin rash.

“Once someone has had chickenpox, the virus may live dormant in their nervous system,” she explains. “Under certain circumstances, the virus may reactivate and cause shingles.”

She says it most commonly occurs in people older than 60, with the risk often increasing with advancing age.

“Although it can occur anywhere on the body, shingles usually appears as a single stripe of painful blisters, wrapping around either the right side or left side of the torso.”

Contact your doctor promptly if you suspect shingles, especially if:

  • The pain or rash occurs near an eye.

  • You're 60 or older, which increases your risk of complications.

  • You have a weakened immune system.

She says that even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences.

“This is a one-time vaccination that can easily be administered in a doctor’s office. But, as it’s not for everyone, talk with your primary care physician about whether the shingles vaccine is right for you,” concludes Dr. Mehta, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus near the Texas Medical Center.

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Anita Mehta, MD, FAAD

​I believe in providing the best possible care to my patients through evidence-based medicine, education, communication and compassion.