What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes Chickenpox. This virus can remain dormant, or asleep, in the body and can become active again, usually years later, causing Shingles.
Shingles starts as a painful rash on 1 side of the face or body. Other symptoms include feeling generally unwell with a fever. It is a blistering rash that will scab over the next 10 days approximately. It normally clears within 2-4 weeks. Sometimes a week before this rash appears, you may experience tingling, pain or itching in the area where the rash will appear.
Is It Contagious?
The virus is spread through direct contact with the fluid from the blisters. It is not spread through coughing or sneezing.
A person with active Shingles can spread the virus to a person who has never had Chickenpox.
Otherwise, Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another.
The risk of spreading the virus is lowered if the rash is covered.
As you get older your risk of Shingles increases. A FREE Government-Funded vaccination is available to everyone aged 70 years old. A catch up schedule is also available at present for people aged 71-79 years
As ever, if you have any queries or concerns contact your local doctor!