Infectious diseases prevention highlighted in recent health education in the city
Prevention and control of infectious and chronic diseases among the elderly is the focus of educational events this September, national healthy lifestyle promotion month.
There are more than 264 million people aged 60 or older in China, making up 19 percent of the total population.
Due to their age, poor nutrition and lack of immunity, elderly people are more likely to suffer infectious and chronic diseases.
Medical experts have stressed the importance of shingles prevention and control, as the disease can impose serious pain and complications, greatly impacting old people's life quality.
There are more than 1.56 million people aged 50 or older who suffer from shingles in the nation each year. The older the age, the more severe the symptoms.
"Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox," said Dr Xu Jinhua, director of dermatology department of from Huashan Hospital.
"It is an infectious disease that normally attacks people 50 and older. Almost every Chinese person in that age bracket has an inactive form of the virus that has the potential to become active.
"The early symptom of shingles is pain on the chest or back, so many people visit cardiology department or other departments. When they start to show skin symptoms and get the correct diagnosis, they have missed the best treatment time and can suffer afterward complications like neuralgia. The pain can last for months and even years.
"Moreover, many elderly people have underlying diseases like hypertension, diabetes and tumor, the pain caused by shingles can lead to more serious complications."
Experts said prevention is important and called for vaccination for people age 50 and older as a means of shingles prevention and control.
"It is important to promote education among the elderly on shingles vaccination," Xu said.