Are shingles contagious? This is a question that many people all over the world often ask. So what are shingles? Shingles form as a result of a viral infection known as Herpes Zoster that takes place in people who have had chickenpox in the past. This chicken pox can arise due to the following reasons:
If you are suffering from an immune system disorder such as HIV/AIDS, have undergone continued emotional distress, or are taking chemotherapy treatments. Shingles can also strike if you have been taking anti-rejection drugs as these drugs need to suppress the immune system so that they can avoid the rejection of a transplanted organ.
Are Shingles Contagious?
Shingles begin as a form of a low-grade fever or symptoms of flu are displayed. After the fever starts, it may be followed by pains or itching of the skin. Very soon a re-rash will start appearing, this takes place within 5 days. This rash will then turn into painful a blister that will then begin to leak a clear fluid that crusts over then heals. While the condition itself is not contagious, the virus can spread from one person to another.
Now, who is at risk? The following are people who are at a greater risk of contacting shingles virus.
• If the shingles infection is active in nature, it is contagious to those with no prior history of varicella. Those people who have good health are immune to varicella and thus they are in no danger at all of getting this zoster virus. How do you know if you are immune? You know for sure that you are immune, if you have been vaccinated against chickenpox or you have already had a chickenpox infection before.
• If a woman is pregnant, she should at all costs avoid anyone showing to have an active shingles infection. This is because if the pregnant woman has no history of chickenpox, the virus being shed can be passed to her and ultimately to her unborn baby. Also, if a pregnant woman is exposed to the shingles virus, she could get chickenpox herself and in turn, her baby could be born already having chickenpox.
• Almost every child will suffer from chicken pox at a very small age. Thus, by the time the child reaches adulthood, he or she is already immune.
So how do you prevent shingles? The best way to prevent the infection is to get vaccinated. For the senior population, Zostavax has been approved. This is a one-time chickenpox booster injection and helps to prevent getting shingles and its complications. Another way of preventing this infection, the best way in fact, is to take the chickenpox vaccination if you have never had one, or if you have never had chickenpox before. Read more about varicella shingles prevention here.
If you feel that you have symptoms of chickenpox or shingles infection, it is always best to get in touch with your health care provider. Alternatively, you can also try these natural shingles remedy for relief. So in conclusion, are shingles contagious? The answer is NO, but the virus that causes it is!