Is shingles contagious? Yes, but not in the way you may think. Your shingles rash will not trigger an outbreak of shingles in another person, but it can sometimes cause chickenpox in a child. More information:
Caused by the same virus behind chickenpox, shingles is a painful nerve root infection resulting in a skin rash. What does the shingles rash looks like? Who’s at risk? And who needs the shingles vaccine? Get your questions answered in this WebMD slideshow.
A quarter of adults will develop shingles at some point, and most are otherwise healthy.10/ 19Is Shingles Contagious?Yes, but not in the way you may think. Your shingles rash will not trigger an outbreak of shingles in another person, but it can sometimes cause chickenpox in a child. People who've never had chickenpox, or the vaccine to prevent it, can pick up the virus by direct contact with the open sores of shingles. So keep a shingles rash covered and avoid contact with infants, as well as pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine and people who may have weak immune systems such as chemotherapy patients.
11/ 19Can Shingles Cause Chronic Pain?In some people, the pain of shingles may linger for months or even years after the rash has healed. This pain, due to damaged nerves in and beneath the skin, is known as postherpetic neuralgia. Others feel a chronic itch in the area where the rash once was. In severe cases, the pain or itching may be bad enough to cause insomnia, weight loss, or depression.
12/ 19Other Complications of ShinglesIf the shingles rash appears around the eye or forehead, it can cause eye infections and temporary or permanent loss of vision. If the shingles virus attacks the ear, people may develop hearing or balance problems. In rare cases, the shingles virus may attack the brain or spinal cord. These complications can often be prevented by beginning treatment for shingles as soon as possible. headtopics.com
13/ 19Treatment: Antiviral MedicationWhile there is no cure for shingles, antiviral medications can put the brakes on an attack. Prompt treatment can make a case of shingles shorter and milder. Doctors recommend starting prescription antiviral drugs at the first sign of a shingles rash. Options include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex).
14/ 19Treatment: Rash ReliefOver-the-counter pain relievers and anti-itch lotions, such as calamine, can help relieve the pain and itching of the shingles rash. If the pain is severe or the rash is concentrated near an eye or ear, consult your doctor right away. Additional medications, such as corticosteroids, may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
15/ 19Home Care for ShinglesColloidal oatmeal baths are an old standby for relieving the itch of chickenpox and can help with shingles, as well. To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash (but not when wearing calamine lotion or other creams.) If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Gentle exercise or a favorite activity may help keep your mind off the discomfort.
16/ 19Shingles VaccineThe CDC recommends that healthy adults ages 50 and older get the shingles vaccine, Shingrix, which provides greater protection than Zostavax. The vaccine is given in two doses, 2 to 6 months apart. Zostavax is still in use for some people ages 60 and older. headtopics.com
17Who Should Not Get the Vaccine?Do not get the shingles vaccine if:You have a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to any ingredient of a vaccine or to a previous dose of ShingrixYou have shingles now.You are sick with an illness and a fever of 101°F or higher.
You should also consider delaying the vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about its safety for expectant and lactating women.You have had a negative test for varicella; this would be uncommon for adults eligible for the vaccine, as most adults worldwide ages 50 and older have been exposed to the virus. You do not have to be tested before getting the vaccine.
18/ 19Chickenpox Vaccine and Shingles Read more: WebMD »
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