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Shingles shot prevents very painful virus

KETK
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POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 6:14pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 10:00pm

Remember those itchy, red, polka dots you tried to scratch off when you were a child? Well the chicken pox may have disappeared, but the dormant disease is still in your system. This is known as Shingles.

The shingles virus is a painful rash that often causes nerve damage. KETK spoke with Brad Martin, a pharmacist at Kinsey Pharmacy, who said, "The scary thing is sometimes people get it in their optic nerve, which causes damage to their vision. So it can be a serious disease. It's not just a rash".

While it's difficult to peg the exact reasons this virus flares up, most can be contributed to the weakening of your immune system. During the holiday months when stress and cold temperatures require antibodies to ward off unusual problems, the virus may surface. Martin said, "If your immune system stops suppressing it (the virus), it can come back".

Luckily, there are many methods of prevention. First and foremost, it is important to take care of your health. Lower your stress levels by exercising, eat healthy foods, and take vitamins. Martin recommends, "It's a good idea to get the shot. The shot reminds the immune system this virus is still around and you need to produce the antibodies to keep it suppressed".  

This is not just a winter virus though. In fact, the shingles are a problem year round. So we asked East Texans if they would take a shot to prevent it. One said,  "After watching my son go through shingles, absolutely. If you've ever had to deal with anybody with the shingles, and you know how painful it is, it's tremendously hurtful. It takes weeks to get over".

While the shingles shot does have benefits that outweigh the risks, it's important to note that you are injecting a live virus into your system. Occasionally, this can create a rash. Those over 60 years of age are strongly encouraged to look into this shot. Martin also recommends checking with your local doctor before receiving the treatment.

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