Funny Stuff No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from: About AAD Education & Training Formaldehyde Pet Vaccination Requirement Exercise Basics Hepatitis Skip Navigation Unintentional Injuries Director's Messages Electrocardiogram Radio transcripts If the rash with blisters is on a person's nose or near the eyes, they should be seen by a health-care professional immediately because the virus may spread to the eye and cause eye damage or vision loss (quick follow-up with an ophthalmologist is recommended). Originally published December 2016. Updated December 2017. First symptoms Osteoporosis Babies less than 1 month old and people who have a weak immune system can also have complications if they catch the virus. People who have a weak immune system include those who are: Menu 1. Healing baths  TEENS  Address and Contact Info File Formats Help: Shingles (zoster) Q&A fact sheet About Research The virus that causes chickenpox is also what causes shingles. It’s called varicella zoster. It can lie quietly in your nerves for decades after causing chickenpox but suddenly wake up and become active. “Although shingles is much less contagious and itchy than chickenpox, it tends to cause more pain,” said board-certified dermatologist Daniela Kroshinsky, MD, MPH, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School. “In addition, although the shingles rash usually clears in a few weeks, some people can experience pain, numbness, itching and tingling that can last months or even years.” Part 2: Origin The risk of getting shingles increases with age. A vaccine can reduce your risk of getting shingles. Your doctor may recommend getting this vaccine after your 50th birthday or once you reach 60 years of age. There’s another — and maybe even more important — reason for getting the shingles vaccine. If you’ve had chickenpox, you can still get shingles after getting shingles vaccine. The vaccine also lessens your risk of developing serious complications from shingles, such as life-disrupting nerve pain. Vancouver resident Marilee Sigal wishes she had done just that when she had a shingles outbreak three years ago. Just turned 55 at the time, she was sitting with guests in her back garden on an evening in August, 2013, when she felt a sharp pain high on the left side of her back. At first, she attributed it to fallout from a fierce childhood battle with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine. Planned Giving Organic Acid Disorders Request Appointment TB ECHO Mario Sousa Healing Garden Fruit and Vegetable Coupons Neuropathy Visit WebMD on Facebook Allergy Blood Testing Address and Contact Info Nondiscrimination Statement Youth Resources vzv@vzvfoundation.org Vaccines Call your provider if you have symptoms of shingles, particularly if you have a weakened immune system or if your symptoms persist or worsen. Shingles that affects the eye may lead to permanent blindness if you do not receive emergency medical care. Subscriptions Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Accessed 12/27/2016. Visit WebMD on Twitter Browse by Medical Category Antihistamines: An oral antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may ease itching (but also causes drowsiness, so don't take it when you need to be focused or drive). You also might try a topical antihistamine. For instance, Benadryl comes as a spray, cream, or stick for applying directly to the skin. Lotions Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. The Merck Manual was first published in 1899 as a service to the community. The legacy of this great resource continues as the Merck Manual in the US and Canada and the MSD Manual outside of North America. Learn more about our commitment to Global Medical Knowledge. There aren’t home remedies for shingles. But there are things you can do to help your skin heal. Orange Magazine Research Divisions & Contacts Sleep Disorders Additional Offerings Organic Acid Disorders   © 2018 DermNet New Zealand Trust. Back to Occupational Medicine Health Forums Examen de audición para recién nacidos Find Funding Opportunities Some of the images are quite graphic Questions Our Locations Our Locations Your doctor might also have you take a steroid medicine to reduce your pain and swelling. This medicine along with the antiviral medicines may reduce your risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia. How Long Does Shingles Last? What You Can Expect Información para las mujeres embarazadas Locations and Directions Language: Smoking in Public If an adult or child has direct contact with the shingles rash and did not have chickenpox as a child or get the chickenpox vaccine, they can develop chickenpox, not shingles. • Try deep heat. Capsaicin cream, an extract made of hot peppers, has been used in pain clinics to reduce the pain of PHN victims by interrupting the transmission of pain impulses to the brain. This OTC remedy is sold for treating muscular aches and pains; consult your physician before using it. Be sure not to apply it until the lesions caused by your shingles have completely healed. Relationships Essentials Share Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email Print Medically Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD How was your case of shingles diagnosed? Professional Practice Toolkits Chickenpox: People at High Risk for Complication. CDC. July 1, 2016. Health Essentials Have a weakened immune system (cancer, certain immune disorders) FEATURED WEBSITES Advanced Search Discounts & Benefits However, once vaccinated, experts still don’t know for how long it is effective, five years is thought to be the limit. So, if you do get vaccinated in your 50s or early 60s, it is important to talk to your doctor about if and when to get a second vaccination. If you have had shingles, there is no need to get vaccinated as your immune system has already been jumpstarted by the disease. 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