Woman's World

News! Protection against shingles!

- —Brenda Kearns

When your immune system attacks most viruses, they’re dead in a week. But chicken pox viruses can lie dormant only to wake up decades later to attack your nerve endings and skin, triggering a painful rash called shingles! According to the CDC, the risk of shingles spikes after age 50. Here’s how to protect yourself Unwind with walks One of the top triggers of shingles is nonstop stress, Austrian researcher­s say. Blame a troublesom­e stress hormone (cortisol) which tamps down your body’s production of virus-killing antibodies. To cut your shingles risk by as much as 50%, carve out 30 minutes daily for a relaxing walk. UCLA researcher­s say gentle, relaxing workouts (walking, yoga or tai chi) make cortisol levels plunge and antibody production soar by 45% in a week! Feast on fruit

Enjoy three servings of fruit daily and your risk of shingles drops by 67%, report researcher­s in the Internatio­nal Journal

of Epidemiolo­gy. Explains study co-author Sara Thomas, PH.D., fruit is packed with compounds ( bioflavono­ids) that help your immune cells react quickly if the chicken pox virus tries to come out of hibernatio­n. Supplement with C Your immune system naturally slows after age 40, but taking 1,000 mg. of vitamin C daily can get it back into fighting form, cutting your shingles risk by 25% in two weeks, suggests research in the journal Frontiers

in Physiology. Says study author Kai Wang, PH.D., vitamin C is a powerful antiviral, plus it energizes white blood cells. A new vaccine For those of us over age 50, there’s a new Fda-approved vaccine (Shingrix) that CDC researcher­s say could singlehand­edly cut your risk of shingles by 90%! Shingrix is given in two doses and is now covered by many insurance plans.

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