Eligible residents in Hammersmith & Fulham are being urged to take up the offer of a free shingles vaccination from their GP.
Shingles is a painful skin condition caused by the chickenpox virus and begins as a rash that then develops into blisters. An episode of shingles typically lasts around two to four weeks, although some people may experience different symptoms, or some complications.
The vaccine, which helps reduce the risk of contracting the virus, is available to H&F residents aged 70, 71, 72, 78 and 79 as a single injection into the upper arm. To check if you, or someone you know, is eligible for the vaccine more information can be found here
“Getting the free vaccination will give residents peace of mind they are better protected against this unwelcome virus,” said Cllr Vivienne Lukey, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.
“Shingles is not usually serious, but any resident who thinks they have the symptoms should see their GP as soon as possible to reduce the severity of the symptoms and the chance of complications.”
Early symptoms for shingles include:
- Burning, numb or itchy skin
- A high temperature or fever.
You are at higher risk of the virus if you:
- Are over 65
- Are stressed
- Have a weakened immune system, from medication, pregnancy, or from an existing condition such as HIV/AIDS.
You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, or think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven't had chickenpox before.
The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS if you are aged 80 or over.