What is Shingles?

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It's the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster). The virus does not leave your body after a chickenpox infection and becomes active again causing shingles.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of shingles include:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Burning, red rash with fluid-filled blisters

How is it spread?

Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another.

The virus that causes shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox through direct contact with the rash. The person exposed would develop chickenpox, not shingles.

The virus is spread through direct contact with fluid from the rash blisters, not through sneezing, coughing, or casual contact.

How long is it contagious?

Shingles is contagious from when blisters start forming until the blisters scab over.

Should I see a health care provider?

Yes, contact your health care provider if you think you or your child has shingles.

Shingles Patient Factsheet

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