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Letter: Above the age of 50? Here’s why you need the shingles vaccine

The painful skin condition can cause permanent damage if not protected against, says reader
Woman urges people over the age of 50 to get vaccine after life changing shingles experience. | BongkarnThanyakij / Getty Images Plus

Dear Editor,

While the nerve pain impact from the shingles virus is excruciating, the potentially permanent side effects may be even more dramatic, such as permanent facial paralysis and hearing loss.

Please take this seriously — anyone aged 50 plus — get vaccinated.

I was negligent in not getting my shingles vaccination. To this day I had all the COVID vaccinations and all the boosters. When it came to another vaccination (shingles), well, I had just had enough and thought it could wait.

Very wrong decision. I contracted shingles.

It was caught very early so it did not spread and was focused in only one small area. The expedient strong medication worked it’s magic for severity but not so magical for the unbearable nerve pain.

The pain has lessened but medication is still required and probably will be for some time.

The first four days were indescribable. This is how long it took for the medication to successfully attack the virus.

I thought I was going to pass out from the pain every minute of the day. I couldn’t sleep, had no appetite, and clothes could not be worn, even the softness of silk. One might think walking around naked and losing weight isn’t so bad a side effect but that was just the beginning.

Three days into the experience, hearing in my left ear was blocked, or so I thought. It’s probably a wax buildup. I was in so much pain this was not high on my list to address until a week later. I went to see my family doctor for an ear flush. Not needed and he immediately directed me for an ear examination.

Warning! Side effects such as partial facial paralysis and hearing loss are not necessarily a topic of discussion between physician and patient.

Health studies have not yet verified associated cause and effect for such side effects. Mr. Google can bring up some credible medical data but one has to know the right questions to ask.

In my case, the virus attacked the ear nerve, did it’s damage and my ear cannot be repaired. Morale of the experience — health prevention.

Do the research, speak to your physician, get the vaccine.

North Vancouver

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