Shingles is caused by the Chicken Pox virus which you had when you were a child coming back after many years . When it does so, instead of giving you chicken pox it travels down a nerve to the skin. It sounds harmless enough but it produces a very unsightly rash which can also be very painful and this pain can persist for months after the rash has gone. Not every one suffers badly of course but its certainly pretty unpleasant.
There are of course many myths about this condition
" it can be caught by someone else" - wrong it is your own virus and whilst another person who has never had chicken pox might catch chicken pox from you they cannot catch shingles.
"if it meets in the middle you'll die" - wrong. Shingles only affects one part of the body and cannot kill you though it may make you feel very ill.
Fortunately we are now able to vaccinate some people in order to prevent shingles.
The first people to have the vaccine will be those aged 70 or 79 on September 1 2013.
The brand name of the shingles vaccine given in the UK is Zostavax.
We have begun to vaccinate people and if you are eligible it will be offered to you when you come for your flu jab. It is perfectly safe to do the two together.
For more information about the shingles vaccine follow this link