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This is a condition that is seen in those who have previously had chicken pox. The chicken pox virus remains in the body, dormant; should the virus re-activate then the subsequent condition is termed ‘Shingles’. Why the virus reactivates is not entirely understood, it tends to occur more frequently in those over 50, causing a painful rash on one side of the body.

Long term problems associated with Shingles are infrequent, however they can be serious. Some people experience chronic pain in the area where they had their Shingles rash, Shingles around the eye can cause vision problems and you may also get some skin infections or hearing loss (this is rare).

Get advice from 111 as soon as possible if you think you have it.

Shingles vaccine

You’re eligible for the shingles vaccine if you’re aged 70 or 78 years old.

When you’re eligible, you can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year.

The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 and over because it seems to be less effective in this age group.