The Sunrise Health Region has announced it is now offering residents in the region the opportunity to purchase the Shingles vaccine (Zostavax) and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral illness caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus following a chicken pox infection. Shingles is most common in older adults, children who had chicken pox before two years of age and those with a weakened immune system. Symptoms include a painful blistering skin rash which usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from two to four weeks.
Other symptoms can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach.
Shingles can lead to scarring, secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, loss of hearing or vision, inflammation of the brain and death. Approximately one in every five persons with shingles will experience post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) which involves burning, shooting or stabbing pain that can persist for months or even years.
Depending on the age given, the shingles vaccine prevents the disease in approximately 40 per cent to 70 per cent of those vaccinated. While it may not prevent the disease in all cases, the vaccine may reduce the frequency of post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can lead to cancer of the vulva, vagina or cervix in women, cancer of the penis in men and genital warts, cancer of the anus, tongue, mouth and throat in both men and women. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and there are more than 100 types of HPV.
It is estimated that 75 per cent of sexually active individuals will have at least one HPV infection during their lifetime, with the highest rates observed in women aged 20 to 24.
When given before exposure to the virus, the HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) prevents most cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva in females and cancer of the penis in males. The vaccine also reduces the risk of spreading the virus.
The shingles vaccine is intended for adults 50 years of age or older. The Gardasil® vaccine is approved for females aged nine to 45 and males aged nine to 26. Both vaccines can be purchased via the Sunrise Health Region Public Health Office; in Saskatchewan, Gardasil® is provided free of charge to females in Grade 6 only. For more information on available vaccines, residents can contact the Sunrise Health Region Public Health office at (306) 786-0600.