• 2019 Senior Report Senior Report: Older Americans have more options for home care, but still struggling.

    The United Health Foundation has released results of a sweeping new study benchmarking the health of older adults. The America's Health Rankings® Senior Report was created in partnership with GAPNA to improve the health of America's seniors.

    The data will help advanced practice nurses and other providers deliver quality care.

    Find out about it!

  • 38th Annual GAPNA Conference

    October 3-5, 2019 at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.

    Focused education; lasting connections, networking, free access to the GAPNA Online Library.

    Earn up to 22 contact hours (including pre-conference workshops).

    Get more information and register now!

  • AwardCall for Excellence Award Nominations

    The awards are: Emerging Chapter Award, Established Chapter Excellence Award, Special Interest Group Excellence Award, Excellence in Clinical Practice Award, Excellence in Community Service Award, Excellence in Education Award, Excellence in Leadership Award, and Excellence in Research Award.

    The nominations are tallied in July and the winners are announced every year during the Awards Celebration at the GAPNA Annual Conference.

    Now is the time to nominate a colleague or yourself - DEADLINE is June 1, 2019.

    Get started... nominate today!

  • FREE continuing education credit is available for the following session:

    "Contemporary Heart Failure Management"

    (session captured at the GAPNA 2018 Annual Conference)


    For May/June 2019 - Get Your Free CNE Now!

  • AwardNew for GAPNA members: MCM Education

    GAPNA has partnered with a MCM Education to offer a series of CNE programs available to GAPNA members. "Alzheimer’s Disease Today and Tomorrow: Optimal Treatment and Collaborative Care," is the first program offered.

    What are the state-of-the-art strategies for managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? How can the multidisciplinary team work together to ensure timely intervention and optimal outcomes?

    Find out about it!

  • Meet the Candidates for the 2019-2020 BOD!
    The time to vote is right now: May 6 - 31, 2019!

    Please take a moment to read about this year’s candidates and why they feel they should be chosen for the position noted.

    MEET THE CANDIDATES IN ADVANCE OF YOUR VOTE   >

Patient FAQs - Shingles

NIHSeniorHealth.gov, the website for older adults, makes aging-related health information easily accessible for family members and friends seeking reliable, easy-to-understand online health information. Health topics include general background information, open-captioned videos, quizzes, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Below are FAQs regarding shingles.


What are shingles?

Shingles (also called varicella-zoster) are a painful skin disease caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. They are distinctive because it affects only one side of the body. The early signs of shingles usually develop in three stages: severe pain or tingling, possibly itchy rash, and blisters that look like chickenpox.

Who gets shingles?


The rash usually appears a few days after the
patient becomes aware of the tingling and
burning pain that signal a shingles outbreak.




In the early stages of shingles, blisters start
to appear in the rash area.

Shingles are very common. Fifty percent of all Americans will experience shingles by the time they are age 80. While shingles occur in people of all ages, they are most common in 60-80 year-olds. In fact, one out of every three people 60 years or older will get shingles.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

The first symptoms usually include burning, itching, or tingling sensations on the back, chest, or around the rib cage or waist. In other cases, the face or eye area is involved. The affected area can become extremely painful. This is when most people go to a health care provider to find out what is causing the pain.

Some people report feeling feverish and weak during the early stages. Usually within 48-72 hours, a red, blotchy rash develops on the affected area. The rash erupts into small blisters that resemble chickenpox. The blisters tend to be clustered in one specific area, rather than scattered all over the body like chickenpox.

The torso or face is the part most likely to be affected, but on occasion, shingles break out in the lower body. The burning sensation in the rash area is often accompanied by shooting pains.

After the blisters erupt, the open sores take 1-2 weeks to crust over. The sores are usually gone within another 2 weeks. The pain may diminish somewhat, but it often continues for months – and can go on for years.

How are shingles treated?

Treatment with antiviral medications can reduce the severity of the nerve damage and speed healing. But to be effective, they must be started as soon as possible after the rash appears.

If you suspect you have shingles, see your health care provider within 72 hours of the first sign of the rash. At the early stage of shingles, a health care provider will usually prescribe antiviral pills. These antiviral medicines include acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famcyclovir.

Your health care provider may also prescribe drugs to relieve pain. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.

Patients with long-term pain may also be treated with numbing patches, tricyclic antidepressants, and gabapentin, an antiseizure medication. The shingles vaccine is not recommended if you have active shingles or pain that continues after the rash is gone.

While these treatments can reduce the symptoms of shingles, they are not a cure. The antivirals do weaken the virus and its effects, but the outbreak still tends to run its course. Good hygiene, including daily bathing, can help prevent bacterial infections. It is a good idea to keep fingernails clean and well-trimmed to reduce scratching.

Is there a vaccine to prevent shingles?

Yes. In May 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine to prevent shingles in people age 60 and older. The vaccine is designed to boost the immune system and protect older adults from getting shingles later on.

Even if you have had shingles, you can still get the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no maximum age for getting the vaccine, and only a single dose is recommended. The shingles vaccine is not recommended if you have active shingles or pain that continues after the rash is gone.

Talk with your health care professional if you have questions about the vaccine.

Archive of All Patient Faqs


More about the NIH:

The NIHSeniorHealth.gov site was developed by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIHSeniorHealth features authoritative and up-to-date health information from the NIH. In addition, the American Geriatrics Society provides expert and independent review of some of the material found on this website. New topics are added to the site on a regular basis.


Added July 13, 2017: A notice posted on the NIHseniorHealth.gov Website:
NIHseniorHealth.gov will be retired on August 1, 2017. To continue finding reliable, up-to-date health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health, we’re referring you to https://medlineplus.gov/ or https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/.