What you Should Ask About Shingles Disease
An estimate of about a million people in America suffer from shingles disease every year. If you haven't heard of the disease, its time you get yourself informed. You or a loved one could be at risk of suffering from shingles disease.
What causes shingles?
This disease is closely associated with chicken pox. This is because the virus varicella zoster which causes chicken pox is also the cause of shingles disease. In addition, a person can only suffer from shingles if he has had chicken pox in the past. This is because the chicken pox virus lies dormant after patient recuperation and can recur at some point in the person's life as shingles.
Is it the same as herpes?
Another name for shingles is herpes zoster. Some other skin diseases may also carry the name herpes. Shingles disease however and some other skin diseases carrying the name herpes is not the same as genital herpes which is a sexually transmitted disease.
Who is at risk of having shingles?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible you can get shingles if you have never had chicken pox?
Me and my bitch of a mother who won't be proved wrong in a million years are having a debate. So please deal with me here so i can prove this 7 arms, red looking monster right.
No. They are the same virus. The initial infection is chicken pox. Shingles can be a secondary infection.
Can you get shingles if you never had the chicken pox and never had the vaccine?
No. Shingles is the re-activation of the chicken pox virus. If you've never had chicken pox, you can't get shingles.
Edit: Sweetie, I don't think thats what she's asking.
Can I get shingles if I haven't had chicken pox?
Today I went to the mall with a friend who recently (about a week ago) developed a rash that was identified as shingles. We didn't touch at all but we shared a drink. I have never had chicken pox and according to several articles online, you can't get shingles if you have never had chicken pox, as they are the same virus, yet people who have never had chicken pox can catch shingles from another person? I'm confused. I've had the chicken pox vaccine, so does this mean I cannot get either (chicken pox or shingles). Also, my dad had a shingles outbreak several months ago and I did not get it from him even though we live in the same house, so am I immune or what?
Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, formerly known as herpes zoster . Like other herpes-type viruses, it likes to hide from your immune system, retreating to your nervous system where it is safe from attack. And vericella can come back years or decades later as shingles. It follows your nerves, which is why the rash is limited to an area served by a nerve, almost always on one side.
Now, here's what's interesting. If you have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated, and you are exposed to someone who has shingles, you can't get shingles from them. You can't get shingles from them because shingles is the virus crawling out of the nervous system. What you can get from them is chickenpox.
But you said you were vaccinated, so you probably won't get chickenpox from them.
BUT! You can get shingles. Not from a person with shingles, but from yourself.
I don't know when or with what you were vaccinated, but vaccines for chickenpox are generally made with live virus. They weaken the virus in hopes you won't get sick from it, but some people get a chickenpox rash after vaccination.
When the vaccine was first introduced, there was fear that people might get shingles even though they had never had chickenpox. There haven't been a lot of cases, but it has happened.
Shingles isn't very contagious. Once the rash develops crusts, there isn't much virus left to pass around. Shingles tends to occur after periods of stress, and is more common in older people. In most people, it doesn't occur more than once. It can be treated with antiviral drugs.
AND! There is a separate vaccine available for shingles, for people who are 60 or older.
I hope I haven't confused things any further.