RUSSELL, Ky (WSAZ) -- One million Americans will get shingles every year.
Heather McCoy is one of them. She's battled them off and on since the Fall of 2011 and is frustrated there's no end in sight.
"It's awful pain, I try to deal with that best I can," says Heather. "When it really gets me is when the pain causes sickness with it, and that's been a major issue, the last several months."
The duration of Heather's battle with shingles is uncommon; the pain she's suffering is not.
"The pain is indescribable; it's so severe," says Dr. Paul Ferguson, who's a neurologist with Cabell Huntington Hospital. "Often times, patients will tell me it's the worst pain they've ever felt."
WSAZ.com's Bill Murray knows that first-hand. He felt like there was something in his eye, during a performance at the Marshall Artist Series, in early March. Within three days, his nose and eyelids had blistered.
"When we see the tip of the nose we know we have to really really be careful with the eye," says Dr. Russell Fry. He's an ophthalmologist with University Eye Surgeons, in Huntington. "If untreated, you could potentially go blind if it affects the nose and forehead that's why we're always so quick to get the eye evaluated in that situation."
Since 2008, a shingles vaccine has been available. It is not widely known, but recent TV advertisements have raised public awareness.
"There's a lot of direct consumer advertising for the vaccine," says Edgar Gonzales, who's a pharmacist at Cabell Huntington Hospital. "The FDA has approved it for people over the age of 50. It will do one of the two things. It will prevent the shingles from occurring, or it will reduce the likelihood of the event recurring so it's about a 50-50 shot."
For more information about shingles, click the above link.