What is Shingles?

Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, in their lifetime. Shingles can be caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.


Who Can Get Shingles?

Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles, even children. The risk of shingles increases with age and about half of all cases occur in men and women above the age of 60. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.


Signs and Symptoms?

Shingles will affect your body in multiple ways. The main symptoms you should look for if you think you are experiencing shingles are:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Tingling in area where rash may develop
  • Rash will develop on side of face or body
  • Rash will form blisters
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Upset Stomach

If experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for emergency care.




What is the flu (influenza)?

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and is can be highly contagious. The most common places on the body that can be affected consist of the nost, throat, and lungs. The illness level ranges from mild to severe, and in some instances lead to death. The most preventable way to avoid the flu is to stop by your local Realo and get a flu vaccine each year.



  • A 100 Degree or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or suffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)


How Serious is the Flu?

The flu is one of the most unpredictable viruses known. It’s severity can vary from each different season it appears depending on multiple factors, such as:

  • What flu viruses are spreading
  • How much flu vaccine is available
  • When vaccine is available
  • How many people get vaccinated
  • How well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness


The risk of contracting the also matters on the person. Each person has a different level of risk for catching the flu and it can spread mainly through droplets that are made when people who have the flu sneeze, cough, or talk near someone who does not have the flu. These droplets have the possibility of landing in the noses or mouths of those nearby. You may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has been infected with the flu virus and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.


Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine every new season. This recommendation has been set since February 24, 2010 when the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.

While we recommend everyone getting vaccinated, it is especially crucial for certain people to get vaccinated:

  • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
  • Pregnant Women
  • People younger than 5 years and people who are 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications



Pneumococcal Vaccine

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages and is the leading cause of death in children younger than 5 years of age. These infections can be prevented with vaccines and can usually be treated with antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or specific drug therapies.


Who Can Get Pneumonia?

Risk factors that increase your chance of getting pneumonia include:

  • Recent viral respiratory infection – a cold, laryngitis, influenza, etc.
  • Difficulty swallowing due to stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or other neurological conditions/li>
  • Chronic lung disease such as COPD, bronchiectasis, or cystic firbrosis>
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Other serious illnesses, such as heart disease, liver cirrhosis, or diabetes
  • Living in a nursing facility
  • Recent surgery or trauma
  • Having a weekend immune system due to illness, certain medications, and autoimmune disorders


How Does Pneumonia Affect the Body?

Most of the time, the body filters germs out of the air that we breathe. This keeps the lungs from becoming infected. But germs sometimes find a way to enter the lungs and cause infections. This is more likely to occur when:

  • Your immune system is weak.
  • A germ is very strong.
  • Your body fails to filter germs out of the air that you breathe.

When the germs that cause pneumonia reach your lungs, the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus. This causes the symptoms of pneumonia, such as a cough, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.

When you have pneumonia, oxygen has trouble reaching your blood. If there is too little oxygen in your blood, your body cells can’t work properly. Because of this and infection spreading through the body, pneumonia can cause death.

Pneumonia affects your lungs in two ways. Lobar pneumonia affects a section (lobe) of a lung. Bronchial pneumonia (or bronchopneumonia) affects patches throughout both lungs.


How Serious is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be very serious and can cause death.

Pneumonia tends to be more serious for infants and young children, older adults (people 65 years or older), people who have other chronic health problems, and people who have weak immune systems as a result of diseases or other factors.

If you develop pneumonia, your chances of a fast recovery are greatest if:

  • You are Young
  • Your pneumonia is caught early
  • Your immune system – your body’s defense against disease-are working well
  • The infection hasn’t spread
  • You are not suffering from other illnesses
  • A germ is very strong.
  • Your body fails to filter germs out of the air that you breathe.

If you have taken antibiotics, your doctor may want to make sure your chest x-ray becomes normal again after you finish the whole prescription. It may take many weeks for your x-ray to clear up.