Branching Out is Back… with a PSA: Get Yourself a Shingles Vaccine

There are too many new things out there that I want to try, from recipes and restaurants to tourist spots and theatrical shows. Guess I’m going to have to continue my adventures of the new and novel into 2016!

Let’s begin this year with a GREAT┬átip on a new experience that I recommend you DON’T try: Shingles. This is not fun. Luckily, it’s a super mild case that is only annoyingly itchy and stings a bit… and on my leg- NOT my face (dangerous!), NOT horridly painful (thanks be to GOD). Did I mention how lucky I know that I am? And thankful??

What’s Important to Know

  • If you suspect your bug bite is not, in fact, a bug bite (like I did), see your doctor right away- shingles symptoms and duration can be lessened with anti-viral medications (I waited five days… dummy).
  • Wondering if any topical sprays or ointments help with the pain? I did too, here’s what I found than helped… only one thing- Solarcaine Aloe Extra Burn Relief Spray, or it’s Generic Store Brand Version. I think it is the pain reliever “Lidocaine” that is what makes it help.
  • Shingles aren’t exactly contagious, but if someone who has never had chicken pox comes into contact with the blisters on an active shingles outbreak, it can cause them to contract chicken pox. Talk to your doc to know for sure!
  • Friends are saying that they know kids as young as two-year-olds who have had shingles, as well as others in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Just because the commercials show retirees talking about the shingles vaccine doesn’t mean that they have cornered the market on this painful condition.
  • I still don’t understand if I can get another outbreak of shingles… some websites say yes, others say no… I’m going to ask my doc if she will let me get the vaccine early (I’m not quite 49 and the recommended minimum age is 60).
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The ONLY spray or ointment that helped with the pain is this one with Lidocaine.
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None of these topical treatments helped with the itch and pain EXCEPT the spray on the left- CVS’s generic version of Solarcaine Aloe Extra Burn Relief

So, here’s your Public Service Announcement: ask your doctor about whether or not a shingles vaccine is right for you. Really really REALLY.