Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is a common complication of shingles. The condition causes burning pain that lasts long after the rash and blisters of shingles go away.

Who is at risk?

People over the age of 60 are at greatest risk, as the risk of postherpetic neuralgia increases with age. There’s no cure, but treatments can be effective at easing symptoms. For most people, postherpetic neuralgia improves over time.

What are common symptoms?

This condition is caused by nerve fibers being damaged during an outbreak of shingles. If pain lasts three months or more after the shingles rash has healed, you may be suffering from postherpetic neuralgia. The pain is generally described as burning, jabbing, deep, and aching. You may also experience sensitivity to touch, and even clothing may be painful. Itching and numbness may also occur.

What about prevention?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults 50 and older get a Shingrix vaccine to prevent shingles, even if they’ve had shingles or the older vaccine Zostavax. Shingrix is given in two doses, two to six months apart. Research suggests this vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia.

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