Saturday, December 2, 2023

Can Shingles Cause Hair Loss

Can I Catch Or Spread Shingles

Is COVID-19 causing hair loss months later? | Health Beat with Brea Love

Not exactly.

If you have shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can spread to someone else who comes into direct contact with the fluid from your blisters. But if that happens, the person you infect would develop chickenpox, not shingles. That person could later develop shingles. The lesions are considered non-infectious after crusting .

Chapter : Other Hair Loss Causes

Peter Panagotacos, MD Contents Chapter 4: Other Hair Loss Causes

The most common type of hair loss occurs in a predicable pattern, and pattern hair loss occurs when the normal cycle of hair growth changes. Usually pattern hair loss starts slowly, and continues to get progressively worse. Progressive pattern hair loss is a common occurrence among men, and less apparent but still quite common among women. While men typically suffer pattern baldness with receding hairlines and bald spots on the crown of the head, women typically experience generalized thinning hair over the entire top of the head. And as we age, the occurrence and degree of hair loss increases.A wide range of factors other than genetics can result in hair loss, and many of these conditions are temporary and can be effectively treated by a dermatologist. Diffuse non-scarring loss is usually androgenetic alopecia in men and women but can include telogen effluvium, and systemic diseases such as thyroid, iron deficiency, dermatomitis. Patchy scarring loss can be due to follimlites , lichen planolaris and discird lupus. Patchy non-scarring alopecia can be due to ringworm, trichotillomania, traction alopecia, and syphilis. Hair loss causes that are not based on genetics are discussed in this chapter, including the following:

Autoimmune disordersPhysical trauma to the scalpHair loss following childbirthHair styling products

Autoimmune Disorders

Other Diseases

Nutritional Deficiencies


Prescription Drugs


How Common Is Shingles

Very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , roughly one out of every three Americans will get shingles at some point .

Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is at risk for shingles. And if you were born before 1980, theres a 99% chance that you had chickenpoxeven if you dont remember having it .

Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, many Americans have received the chickenpox vaccine, which also protects against shingles .

Also Check: Can You Get Shingles Twice

Shingles Vaccine Reduces Your Risk Of Getting Shingles

While there is no cure for shingles, getting the shingles vaccine can greatly reduce your risk of getting this disease.

Shingles vaccine reduces risk

The CDC recommends the shingles vaccine for healthy adults who are 50 years of age or older.

If you think you may already have shingles, treatment is important. It can reduce your pain and how long the rash lasts.

Find out how dermatologists diagnose and treat this condition at, Shingles: Diagnosis and treatment.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Prevent Shingles: Get vaccinated. Page last reviewed July 23, 2018. Last accessed March 28, 2019.

ImageGetty Images

ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention . Prevent Shingles: Get vaccinated. Page last reviewed July 23, 2018. Last accessed March 28, 2019.

Dooling KL, Guo A, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018 67:103-8.

Hearing Loss And Facial Weakness

Tingling scalp: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Complications of herpes zoster oticus and Ramsay Hunt syndrome might include hearing loss and facial weakness. For most people, these are temporary symptoms, but it is possible for the damage to become permanent, especially if shingles is left untreated.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome accounts for up to 12% of facial paralysis. In some cases, it has a worse outcome than Bells palsya condition that causes temporary weakness in the muscles of the face.

Also Check: Does Humana Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccine

Preventing The Virus Spreading

If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.

You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.

Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:

  • women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
  • people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
  • babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus

Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.

Fact: A Vaccine Can Help Prevent It

It doesnât guarantee you wonât get shingles, but a vaccine can lower your chances by more than 90%. And if you do get the condition, it might not affect you as much. The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 or older, as well as those 19 years and older who are immunocompromised, get two doses of the vaccine Shingrix. The shots are taken 2 to 6 months apart. Exceptions are if you currently have shingles, are pregnant, or a test shows you have immunity. You likely have been exposed to chickenpox even if you didnât develop blisters, so you should get the vaccine even if you don’t remember being ill.

Also Check: How Long Does The Shingles Vaccine Last

Managing Shingles On The Scalp

Pay special attention to prevent permanent hair loss.

Herpes zoster, also commonly known as shingles, is a viral infection that occurs when the dormant varicella-zoster virus reactivates in the body after causing an earlier case of chickenpox. Once a person recovers from chickenpox, VZV travels deep into nerve tissues and remains dormant for decades. When it reawakens, it travels back up the same nerve to the skin where it reemerges as shingles.

Any individual that has had chickenpox can develop shingles unless they have been vaccinated against it, which greatly decreases their risk. Approximately 60% of all shingles cases occur in people over the age of 60.

One of the most common symptoms of shingles is a painful and blistering raised rash that erupts most often along one side of the torso, waist, chest, neck, or back. Other sites include around an eye, ear, or scalp.

Shingles on the scalp is particularly tricky to treat because the skin there is very sensitive. Simple pressure from washing or brushing the hair can result in broken and bleeding blisters.

Besides pain, shingles on the scalp can cause headaches and weakness on one side of the face that makes it appear to droop. It can also cause hair loss from combing or scratching, or even permanent baldness from cicatricial alopecia, which destroys the hair follicles that generate hair growth and replaces them with scar tissue.

Stroke And Other Brain Ailments

Stress can cause hair loss: Here’s what you can do to stop it

In addition to shingles’ telltale rash, neurological symptoms develop quickly and can include headaches, vomiting, fever, and confusion. This could be because varicella zoster virus sits on a nerve. “That nerve cell body has an arm that has contact with the skin, but it also has another arm that goes directly to the brain,” explains Dr. Mukerji. “When the virus goes to the brain, it can cause meningitis, encephalitis, or stroke.”

So, while shingles resulting in brain conditions is rare, it can increase your risk for stroke. Case in point: A 2016 review of epidemiological studies published in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases found that during the year after a shingles bout, the risk of stroke increased 59%, and this risk was highest among those under 40.

In addition, shingles can also cause swelling in the brain and seizures, both of which can lead to serious and permanent complications.

Also Check: Is The Shingles Vaccine Expensive

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash on your skin. If you get shingles, you may notice the following:

  • Before the rash appears: For 1 to 2 days before the rash appears, you may have pain, burning, or tingling on an area of skin where the rash will develop. Some people say they felt an electrical sensation on their skin before getting the rash.

  • Rash appears: A painful, blistering rash appears. It usually appears on one side of your body, often on the torso however, it can appear anywhere on your skin. Some people get more blisters after the rash appears, so it can seem that the rash is spreading.

  • Rash starts to clear: As the rash clears, the blisters may crack open, bleed, and scab over. For most people, the rash will clear within 2 to 4 weeks.

Although the rash will clear on its own, treatment is important. Taking medication within 3 days of getting the shingles rash can:

  • Reduce your risk of developing other health problems, such as long-lasting nerve pain, pneumonia, or hearing loss

Shingles rash on the face

If you have a shingles rash on your face, immediately seeing a doctor for treatment could save your eyesight.

Is Shingles Contagious

If you are in contact with someone who has shingles, you will not get the symptoms of shingles yourself. However, direct contact with fluid from a shingles rash can still spread the varicella-zoster virus, which can cause chickenpox in people who have not had chickenpox before or the chickenpox vaccine. The risk of spreading the virus is low if the shingles rash is kept covered.

Don’t Miss: What Is The Going Rate For Installing Shingles

Shingles Of The Scalp


I’ve had shingles twice before, and now I have it in my hair. I’m having to wait for a GP appointment to confirm it and, hopefully, get some medication but I’m pretty sure from the symptoms, that it is shingles. I’m worried because all recommendations are that medication needs to be started early or you can have permanent hair loss. Should I make a fuss and insist on an ’emergency’ appointment – even though this isn’t life threatening.

3 likes, 9 replies

  • I have never heard that it leads to hair loss.

    Try getting in to see your dermatologist.

    That’s who first diagnosed me. They seem to have a better feel of what you are going through and maybe you could get into one sooner than your GP.

    Good luck and God bless!

  • 5 years ago

    Thank you for your reply.

    I now have a bottle of coal tar shampoo from the practise nurse at my surgery – it smells like sheep dip according to my OH.

    Are you in the UK? I ask because I’ve never heard of anyone ‘having’ a dermatologist – only people being referred to one by their GP, which usually takes several months before an appointment is arranged with the NHS.

  • Serious disease, not set disease.

    My smart phone thinks it is so very smart…

    Merry Juliana

  • The Hair Growth Cycle

    Ali Fedotowsky Is Sharing Photos of Her Shingles Rashes to Help Others ...

    There are three phases in the hair follicle growth cycle: anagen , catagen and telogen . Generally speaking, about 90% of hairs are in anagen, with 5% in catagen and 5% in shedding in telogen, says Dr. Khetarpal. Most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs each day.

    In telogen effluvium, the proportion of hair follicles in the telogen phase increases significantly, up to 50%, leading to mass shedding. Theres generally a two- to three-month lag between the stressful event and the onset of hair loss.

    This is why were seeing these patients now, several weeks after COVID-19 symptoms resolve. Telogen effluvium isnt a symptom of COVID-19 as much as it is a consequence of the infection.

    This hair loss can last for up to six to nine months. Generally, most cases resolve on their own, unless its related to medication or a nutritional deficiency.

    Recommended Reading: Does Walmart Have The Shingles Vaccine

    Am I At Risk For Shingles

    Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:

    • Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
    • Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.

    Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.

    What Is Hair Replacement Surgery

    We offer several hair replacement techniques at UCLA Dermatology, although hair replacement surgery cannot help those who suffer from total baldness. Candidates for hair replacement must have a healthy growth of hair at the back and sides of the head. This hair will serve as hair donor areas where grafts and flaps will be taken.

    We offer four primary different types of hair replacement methods:

    Possible complications associated with hair transplantation procedures may include the following:

    • Patchy hair growth: Sometimes, the growth of newly placed hair has a patchy look, especially if it is placed next to a thinning area. This issue can often be corrected by additional surgery.
    • Bleeding or wide scars: Tension on the scalp from some of the scalp reduction techniques can result in wide scars or bleeding.
    • Unsuccessful grafts: Occasionally, there is a chance that the graft may not “take.” If this is the case, surgery must be repeated.
    • Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is the risk of infection.

    Don’t Miss: What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles On The Scalp

    Can Hair Loss Be Prevented Or Avoided

    There is no way to prevent male-pattern baldness because it is a genetic trait, meaning you inherited a gene for baldness from your parents.

    Some other causes of excessive hair loss can be prevented. For example, you could prevent hair loss by not styling hair too tightly in a way that puts too much pressure on your scalp. You also can talk to your doctor and avoid taking medications that could cause hair loss.

    Can Certain Hairstyles Or Treatments Cause Hair Loss

    Treating COVID-related hair loss l GMA

    Yes. If you wear pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp develops, your hair will grow back normally. However, scarring can cause permanent hair loss. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in permanents may cause inflammation of the hair follicle. This can result in scarring and hair loss.

    Don’t Miss: How To Get Moss Off Shingles

    Hereditary Or Androgenetic Hair Loss

    “The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary hair loss that progresses with age,” says Dr. Harth. “In this type of hair loss, the male hormones in both men and women cause the hair in some areas of the scalp to be smaller, thinner, and later invisible .”

    An estimated 30 million women in the U.S. are affected by androgenetic hair loss, and this particular type of alopecia has a pretty dead giveaway: “Genetic male and female pattern hair loss happens only on the top of the head,” says Gaunitz. In this case, Dihydrotestosterone , a hormone made from testosterone, interacts with the hair follicle receptors to create inflammation, causing the hair to grow thinner as time goes on.

    Interestingly, hair loss related to polycystic ovary syndrome and menopause is a type of androgenetic hair loss because these conditions manipulate DHT levels, causing you to lose hair, according to Gaunitz.

    S Of The Shingles Rash

    If you have a rash of blisters on your skin or a rash that looks like any shown below, see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. If you have shingles, its important to get treatment, preferably within 2 to 3 days.

    If youve had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, its still important to see your doctor.

    A typical shingles rash

    Doctors often refer to this rash as the shingles band because it looks like a band that appears on one area of your body, as shown here.

    A rash on one side of the body

    A key that you have shingles is that the rash only develops on one side of your body.

    Close-up of a shingles rash

    The shingles rash often causes a cluster of tiny blisters. You may notice that the skin beneath the blisters is red and inflamed, as shown here.

    The rash will also feel painful.

    Blistering shingles rash on a man’s chest

    Although the rash can begin in one area, you may notice that a few scattered blisters develop in other areas, as shown here.

    Shingles rash on the palm of a man’s hand

    While shingles tends to develop on your body or face, it can appear anywhere on your skin.

    Also Check: What Are The First Signs Of Having Shingles

    How Long Does Shingles Last

    Most cases of shingles last three to five weeks.

    • The first sign is often burning or tingling pain sometimes it includes numbness or itching on one side of the body.
    • Somewhere between one and five days after the tingling or burning feeling on the skin, a red rash will appear.
    • A few days later, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.
    • About one week to 10 days after that, the blisters dry up and crust over.
    • A couple of weeks later, the scabs clear up.

    Open Access License / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

    Causes of shingles Video

    Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license , applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor. The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

    You May Like: What Is Shingles Vaccination Called

    Popular Articles
    Related news