Is It Possible to Spread Shingles?

November 2, 2021

Is It Possible to Spread Shingles?

Not only is shingles extremely itchy and painful, but it’s contagious as well! While it’s true that only people who have had chickenpox in the past can get shingles, it’s still important to be very careful around others if you do have this viral skin infection.

Our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville team provides further info on shingles below, so keep reading!

What Is Shingles?

Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox infection is over, the virus may live in your nervous system for years before reactivating as shingles.

This type of viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Shingles usually appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck or face. Additionally, nearly one in three people in the United States will have shingles at some point in their life, according to the CDC.

Common Shingles Symptoms

  • Tingling or numb sensation under the skin
  • A patchy, red rash that oozes and itches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

How Does Shingles Spread?

Shingles itself isn’t contagious, but the varicella-zoster virus that causes it can be spread to another person who hasn’t had chickenpox, and he or she could develop the disease. If this happens, the person would get chickenpox, not shingles.

The varicella-zoster virus is spread when someone comes in direct contact with an oozing blister. It’s not contagious if the blisters are covered or have formed scabs. If you were to get shingles, we’ve listed some ways to keep it from spreading below.

Ways to Prevent Shingles Spread

  • Keep the shingles rash clean and covered. This can help prevent other people from coming into contact with your blisters.
  • Wash your hands often. Also, try not to touch the blisters.
  • Avoid being around pregnant women.
  • Avoid other at-risk people.

Shingles is no joke! If you have shingles or have further questions about this viral infection, don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville team.

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