How Are Shingles Transmitted?


Quick Answer

Shingles cannot be transmitted from one person to another, but the virus that causes shingles can spread from an individual with a blistered rash to a person who has had chickenpox before. Shingles is a skin disease that closely relates to chickenpox, and is caused by a virus called herpes zoster, as noted by Healthline. People who have suffered chickenpox in the past have a higher risk of getting shingles.

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Full Answer

People who had chickenpox at one point have the herpes zoster virus within them in an inactive state for their rest of their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person with shingles can spread the disease it if the rash is blistered. When the rash develops a crust, the condition cannot be spread to other people.

Shingles appear when the inactive herpes zoster virus in a person becomes active again. Before shingles appear, there is usually itching and pain on the spot where it will appear. The rash may develop on one side of the face or other places on the body. Other symptoms include stomach upset, fever, chills and headache.

Shingles can be prevented by a vaccination called Zostavax, which is usually recommended for people who are 60 years and older, as stated by the Department of Health of New York State. Keeping the rash clean and not touching a blistered rash helps to prevent transmission.

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