When I was picking up my latest prescription, the pharmacist asked if I wanted to get the shingles shot. Since it has been on my mind for years, I agreed, thinking I was going to make an appointment. When I was asked to fill out a questionnaire, I realized this is more than just making an appointment. And I was right. Fifteen minutes later I received my first of the two-dose shingles shot! And even though it wasn’t what I had planned, I’m glad I finally did.
Shingles is not a walk in the park. It’s a viral infection that causes a painful rash anywhere on your body caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, and if you were born before 1980 you have a greater than 99% chance of having had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.
Early signs of shingles include mild to severe burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching. One to 14 days later, you will get a rash that consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days.
So how can you prevent shingles, especially for us who are older and have a greater risk of developing shingles?
As you may know, there is a more recent shingles vaccine. The first vaccine, Zostavax, was approved in 2006 which reduced the risk of shingles by 51%. Many of you may have received that vaccine. But in 2017 the two-dose recombinant zoster vaccine Shingrix was approved and is more than 90% effective. Even if you’ve already received the Zostavax vaccine or if you had shingles in the past, it is recommended that you receive the Shingrix vaccine. But if you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or have a weakened immune system, you should talk to your doctor first.
While some people may have a very sore arm, fatigue, and low-grade fever after the vaccine, most people experience only mild side effects. In my case, my shoulder was just sore for several days.
So don’t procrastinate. The highly effective Shingrix shingles vaccine is the best defense against shingles and is recommended for anyone over 50. But you may want to check your Medicare drug plan first to make sure it is covered.
A beautifully written article by Mike Ballenger about Bob Kenyon and his sense of adventure at any age is this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”. It is an inspiring story – although not inspiring enough for me to want to swim the cold Columbia. Read, enjoy, and learn what Bob feels it means to live a fulfilling life.
Caring for someone with a chronic condition is rewarding, but it can also be challenging. To learn how to take of yourself so you can better care for your loved one, there is Powerful Tools for Caregivers – a free, six-session class that will be held on Mondays, Feb 27 – April 3, 11am – 12:30pm via Zoom. To sign up or ask questions contact Roni Hyde at email@example.com or 541-705-4870. Space is limited and registration is required.
Brain Tease: Some months have 31 days and some 30 days. How many months have 28 days?
The television game show host for Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975 and The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007 was Bob Baker who is alive and well at 99. I received correct answers from Keith and Marlene Clymer, Lana Tepfer, Donna Mollett, Melissa Hayes, Jeannie Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, and Sharon Mounsey this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
This week’s question may bring back memories of thumbing through the library’s wooden card catalog searching for a book for your class assignment. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the library classification system used to categorize non-fiction books? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a copy of the classification system.
Well, it’s been another week, writing down ideas before they are forgotten. Until we meet again, don’t sleep too long with your clothes on.
“Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.” Emily Dickinson
Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through
Friday unless otherwise noted.
Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River
Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center
(541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)
For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office
(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior
Answer: Every month has 28 days.