Shingles is contagious after its signature rash appears and during the subsequent development of the blisters accompanying the rash, according to MedicineNet. This usually lasts for around five to seven days.
During this time, known as shingles’ active stage, the affected person sheds the virus from skin lesions, potentially passing it on to others, notes MedicineNet. The shingles virus is contagious to people who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine. The virus spreads from person to person when touching the blisters caused by shingles. To guard against shingles, health care professionals recommend the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, for people older than 50 and the chickenpox vaccine for all children.