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By George Sacco

On August 12, the morning after the Brisbane Scenic 12K and 5K, I thought I was bitten by a bee. It turns out it wasn’t a bee. It was a severe case of Herpes Zoster, or shingles. Here is some information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, a flyer titled Shingles Vaccine — what you need to know. The flyer has six parts.

Part 1 (what is shingles) which is quoted in part ,states, “Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters. A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.” My doctor told me shingles can and does often last several months. Part 2 (shingles vaccine) states, “A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006. In clinical trials, the vaccine reduced the risk of shingles by 50%. It can also reduce pain in people who still get shingles after being vaccinated. A single dose of shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years of age and older.” The flyer also covers other information, in Part 3 (some people should not get shingles vaccine or should wait), Part 4 (what are the risks from shingles vaccine), Part 5 (what if there is a moderate or severe reaction and what should I do) and Part 6 (how can I learn more): “Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit the CDC’S website at vaccines.

Advice from a shingles survivor: If you notice that you have developed painful red rashes with blisters on one side of your body, don’t wait like I did, but see a doctor as soon as possible. Also, here is some advice I received from a shingles survivor I met in a health food store: drink lots of water and green tea; do not eat nuts, especially peanuts or peanut products; sleep at least one to two hours longer than you normally do; cut down on as much stress as possible. The advice worked for me. The hardest part was cutting down on stress.

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