Aging Well July 26th

How would you like to experience skin rashes with blisters and severe pain that could last for two to four weeks or even years? Sounds like fun? Shingles, I have been told by several folks, is an agonizing experience you want to avoid. And since 2006 there is a vaccine – which is available at Safeway and other local pharmacies – that can help prevent this unwelcome condition.

To learn more about shingles, I went online to a website called Medline Plus recommended by Linda Stahl who works at the Planetree Health Resource Library. Medline Plus offers a wealth of objective health information from the National Library of Medicine – the world’s largest medical library.

In summary I found that 1. Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. 2. Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox . 3. Only someone who has had chickenpox, (or on rare occasions has gotten the chickenpox vaccine) can get shingles. (The virus stays in your body, and can cause shingles many years later.) 4. You can’t catch shingles from another person with shingles. (However, a person who has never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine could get chickenpox from someone with shingles, but it is not very common.) 4. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles and it is far more common in people 50 and older. 5. In clinical trials, the vaccine for shingles reduced the risk of shingles by 50%. And for those who still get shingles after receiving the vaccine, it can reduce the pain. 6. No serious problems have been identified with the shingles vaccine. 7. In certain situations you should not get the vaccine, i.e. if you have a weakened immune system, a severe to moderate illness, or are pregnant.

The vaccine is recommended for adults over 60 and although the vaccine is not inexpensive your Medicare insurance may cover it. Talk to your health care provider and pharmacist for more information.

This week I was going to write in more detail about the push and pull of the budget negotiations occurring in Washington DC. But why should I try to explain it when you can actually can get down and dirty and balance the federal budget yourself. Through a computer simulation game called “Budget Hero” developed by American Media, you can now solve the budget crisis your way – by raising revenue or cutting programs or both. You can find the website at or just google Budget Hero. Like any new game it may take you a while to understand the rules – at least it did for me – but give the game some time and you will gain a better understanding of the challenges facing our elected leaders – and why so often the fiscal can has just been kicked down the gravel road of politics.

There are only a few tickets left for the 1:00 performance of Les Miserables at the Keller Auditorium on Sunday August 7th. Online the few remaining orchestra level seats for that performance are priced at $117. And we are offering you a chance to purchase terrific seats – section orchestra C rows H, J and K – to see this acclaimed musical of revolution and redemption for only $70 – including transportation. Call the Center to purchase your tickets.

It is Tuesday night music at the Center from 7:00 – 9:00 when during the summer you can still drive home before the twilight succumbs to the night’s advances. Tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing in four piece instrumental harmony. And next Tuesday, August 2nd, the musical power of the Strawberry Mountain Band will be pulling you out of your seats for several hours of dancing. Everyone is welcome and donations are graciously accepted.

The comedian/actor who found his greatest fame occupying the middle square of Hollywood Squares and also played Uncle Arthur on Bewitched was Paul Lynde. And the lucky winner of a free third Saturday Breakfast is Herm Neuberger. This week’s “Remember When” question is about a Texas born musician, songwriter and band-leader who in the 1930’s, along with Milton Brown, created a new music genre called Western Swing. Who was the man whose fans called the “King of Western Swing”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or stick it inside a loaf of bread baked with Light Crust flour by the Doughboys.

Well it has been another week when I’m once again glad I no longer live in the Midwest. Until we meet again, accept what you can’t change and change what you can.

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