SHINGLES IS A PAINFUL, blistering rash
caused by the same virus that causes
chickenpox. Shingrix is a new vaccine
approved to prevent shingles.
Administered in a series of two shots
given two to six months apart, Shingrix has
been more than 90 percent effective in
preventing shingles and associated long-term nerve pain in clinical trials. The Food
and Drug Administration has approved
Shingrix for use in patients 50 and older.
This vaccine includes an ingredient to
boost the immune response; the clinical
trials show that because of this the protection is stronger and longer lasting. Shingrix
is generally well tolerated, with pain at the
injection site listed as the most common
side effect. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices is
recommending that everyone 50 and older
receive this vaccine series; if you have
already received Zostavax, the CDC is recommending revaccination with Shingrix.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can
get shingles, and almost one out of three
people in the United States will develop
shingles in their lifetime. The chickenpox
virus stays dormant in your nervous system and can reactivate as shingles. The
shingles rash usually lasts for two to four
weeks, and some people experience
serious complications such as pneumonia, hearing or vision loss, or long-term
nerve pain. The best way to decrease
your risk of getting shingles and its complications is by getting vaccinated.
Shingrix is now available in the
U.S. Call or stop by your local Costco
Pharmacy to check availability. Age
restrictions vary by state.
FDA approves new
Preparing for travel risks
AS YOU PLAN for international travel,
don’t forget to include a pre-travel
health evaluation. A pre-travel consultation can help you determine any health
risks based on your itinerary and activities, make sure that you are up to date on
routine vaccinations and provide tips on
how to stay healthy during your trip.
More than 25 percent of travelers
report an illness during international
travel, according to an article in the New
England Journal of Medicine (NEJM;
NEJM.org). Most are mild and self-lim-iting, such as diarrhea or respiratory
infections. However, some travelers
contract preventable infections during
their trip. The NEJM also reports that
up to 80 percent of people don’t seek
pre-travel health advice.
You should complete your travel
consultation four to six weeks before
your trip. A thorough travel consultation will review your medical history
and itinerary and provide recommendations on the following issues.
Routine vaccines. People who have
not received all of their routine vaccines
may be at risk for diseases while traveling abroad. There are widespread outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis
(whooping cough) in developed and
Travel vaccines and medications.
Certain vaccines, such as those for hepatitis A and typhoid, are routinely recommended for most travelers. Depending on
the destination, some vaccines or medications are required, including vaccines for
yellow fever and meningitis, or medications to prevent malaria. The recommendations will be personalized for your
itinerary and activities.
Other travel-related illnesses. Traveler’s
diarrhea affects up to 40 percent of travelers. Standard treatment includes oral
hydration and over-the-counter antidiar-rheal medications. An antibiotic may be
warranted if there is no response to standard treatment.
Altitude sickness can occur when traveling to high-altitude destinations, especially if the ascent is rapid. Medications
are available to prevent altitude sickness
Safety and prevention. A travel consultation will also provide information on how
to stay healthy and safe while you travel,
and what to do if you get ill after you return.
Typically, the travel consultation will
include educational materials on food and
water precautions, in addition to good personal safety practices and information on
ho w to protect yourself against insect bites
and other travel-related hazards. Pack a
personal first-aid kit as well as information
on medical facilities at your destination.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COSTCO PHARMACY, CLICK ON THE “PHARMACY” LINK
AT COSTCO.COM OR VISIT YOUR LOCAL COSTCO PHARMACIST.
A little bit of planning can help
ensure your trip is healthy and safe.
Costco Pharmacy offers routine vaccinations; availability and age restrictions vary by state. Costco Pharmacy
also offers full-service travel consultations in all Idaho, Oregon, Washington
state and Southern California locations.
For additional details, please visit
Costco.com and click on “Pharmacy” or
contact your local Costco Pharmacy.