Friday, April 19, 2024

Can You Have Shingles More Than Once

Preventing The Virus Spreading

Can shingles come back more than once?

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.

Is Treating Relapse The Same

The approaches to treating shingles and any relapse are the same. In the latter case, healthcare providers may become particularly interested in isolating the cause of the weakened immunity thats causing the recurrence. That said, there is no outright cure for this disease, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms.

These approaches include:

  • Antiviral medications, such as Zovirax , Famvir , and Valtrex , can help, especially if given within 72 hours of symptom onset.
  • Over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol or Motrin or Advil can also help manage discomfort and pain.
  • Compresses and creams are among other approaches that help relieve itching these include applying wet compresses, using calamine lotion, and taking colloidal oatmeal baths.

How Do You Get Shingles

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox, you can get shingles.

Until I was diagnosed with shingles, I didn’t realize that once you’ve had chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus remains dormant in your body for the rest of your life. The virus may later become reactivated, causing the nerves and surrounding skin to become painful and inflamed, and thereby producing shingles. Sneaky little virus.

The only thing I remember about having chickenpox is lying on the couch with my brother, both of us dotted with the pink anti-itch lotion our mom had applied to our rashes with a cotton ball, but I’ve definitely had it.

According to The Mayo Clinic, the reactivated virus travels along your nerve pathways, causing painful blisters to appear on your skin. That’s how my doctor knew exactly what I had without even having to see me. What seemed totally random and bizarre to me was actually so specific, it led her right to a shingles diagnosis.

So, in sort of an odd way, you kind of get shingles from yourself or from your younger self, that is. Thanks a lot, kindergarten me!

My bigger question was how I got shingles at a relatively young age. I thought shingles was an “old people” disease.

I was thinner, but I was decidedly not healthier. My mind and body were stressed, and that made me extra vulnerable to developing shingles.

RELATED: How A Dangerous Lie About Body Size Keeps Fat People Stressed & Depressed

Don’t Miss: What Does Infected Shingles Look Like

Myths About Shingles A Virus That Can Strike At Any Age And At Any Time

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

I think this red bump is getting bigger. Thats what I told my husband after growing concerned about the strange-looking rash that appeared on my face four days earlier. I read online that most rashes are not serious, so I thought a trip to the doctor was unnecessary.

What if you have Lyme disease? he asked me. That question prompted me to be evaluated, but I was concerned that the doctor would tell me it was only a pimple. I was shocked to learn that I had shingles.

Im only 48 and even though it was only a small rash on my face, I was shocked to learn that if the rash had spread to my eye it was very close to it I could have gone blind. Fortunately, my doctor was able to prescribe an anti-viral medication. Within a week after my doctors visit, the painful rash was gone.

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox the varicella zoster virus . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , shingles rates have been increasing in the United States for unknown reasons. In fact, 1 in 3 people will contract the disease at some point in their lifetime.

That said, there are a lot of myths about shingles out there. So what do you need to know?

Myth 1: Only older people get shingles

Fact: You can get shingles at any age if you already had chickenpox since the virus lies dormant in your body and then reactivates as shingles even children can get it, although thats rare.

Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles

Shingles: Can I Get it More than Once?  polyDNA Answers Survey Question ...

Occasionally, some people dont get a rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments you can take early for shingles. Even if you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider will help you get your condition diagnosed and treated.

You May Like: Does Insurance Cover Shingles Shot

You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox

You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.

But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.

When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.

This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.

Related Stories From Yourtango:

I don’t know whether my grandmother was ever told this, but it turns out that the chronic pain she experienced from shingles is not unheard of.

The same article from Harvard explains that “about 1 in 10 adults who get shingles experience long-term pain, even after the rash has healed completely. This condition is called post-herpetic neuralgia . It may last for months, or even years. And it can be debilitating.”

I’m not sure why I’ve gotten shingles so many times, but I’m fortunate that every time I’ve had it, it’s been relatively mild. I’ve always been able to manage the pain with over-the-counter medications and healed with lots of rest and the medication my doctor prescribed.

Also Check: How To Install 3 Tab Shingles

Treatment If Shingles Gets Worse

In some cases, shingles causes long-term problems. Treatment depends on the specific complication.

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that lasts months or even years after the shingles rash heals. Certain medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids, can relieve pain. Most cases of PHN get better within a year.
  • Disseminated zoster is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment may include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye. It could threaten your sight. Get treatment from an ophthalmologist right away. Treatment may include rest, cool compresses, and antiviral medicines.
  • If the shingles virus affects the nerves originating in the brain , serious complications involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on the nature and location of the complication.

Risk Factors For Shingles Recurrence

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Moore and colleagues studied the medical records of nearly 1,700 people with a confirmed shingles attack from 1996 to 2001. Only 8% had compromised immune systems, she says. But 95 of them suffered 105 recurrences by the end of 2007.

“Clearly most recurrent attacks are occurring in people with healthy immune systems,” she says.

The time between attacks ranged from 96 days to 10 years.

Recurrences were:

  • 2.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 30 or more days during the initial episode
  • 4.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 60 or more days during the initial episode
  • 60% more likely in women than men
  • 40% more likely in people who were 50 or older when they had their initial attack

“Still, most recurrences occurred in people with none of these risk factors,” Moore says.

The only way to protect yourself against shingles is to be vaccinated, she adds. The vaccine, known as Zostavax, was approved for use in adults ages 60 and older after studies showed it prevents shingles about half the time.

IDSA spokesman Aaron Glatt, MD, of the New Island Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., tells WebMD that he was “surprised” at the high rate of recurrence.

“We knew you could get another episode, but we didn’t know the risk was so great,” he says.

Merck, the company that makes the vaccine, funded the study.

Show Sources

You May Like: Bad Reaction To Shingles Shot

When To Call A Doctor

if you:

  • Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
  • Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia .

If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have PHN. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

What Is The Outlook For People With Recurring Shingles

Shingles usually clears up within two to six weeks.

In a small number of cases, the pain can remain once the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia . Up to 2 percent of people who get shingles have PHN for five years or more. The risk increases with age.

Recurring shingles isnt preventable. You can reduce your risk by getting the shingles vaccine, even after youve had shingles.

A showed that people who had the shingles vaccine had 51 percent fewer cases of shingles. For people 50-59 years old, the shingles vaccine reduced the risk of shingles by 69.8 percent.

People who received the shingles vaccine generally had less severe cases of shingles. They also had

Recommended Reading: How Old To Get Shingles Vaccine

Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for those 50 years of age and older who are in good health.

You should get the Shingrix vaccine even if:

  • Youve had shingles already.
  • Youve been previously vaccinated with Zostavax . If youve been vaccinated with Zostavax, wait at least eight weeks before getting vaccinated with Shingrix.
  • You dont know for sure if youve ever had chickenpox.

Ask your healthcare provider, who knows your entire health history if getting this vaccine is right for you.

Recurrent Shingles: Herpes Zoster Can Strike More Than Once

Suffering Shingles  Piece of Mind

Heres what to know about recurrent shingles and risk factors.

Individuals who have experienced the painful and often debilitating condition known as shingles would like to think that its a 1-and-done infection. Unfortunately, although a reoccurrence of shingles is not common, it can and does happen due to the innate nature of the varicella zoster virus that causes the latent infection.

VZV does not discriminate by age. The virus is at the root of both the childhood infection known as chickenpox and the adult infection shingles. Both chickenpox and shingles are characterized by a blistering red rash. Other shared symptoms include fever, fatigue, and headache.

Once the primary infection resolves, VZV moves into the dorsal root ganglia where it remains dormant for decades. It can then reactivate as HZ and possibly cause serious complications like postherpetic neuralgia and postherpetic itch .

According to the CDC, an estimated 1 million cases of HZ occur annually in the United States. Although the incidence rate in the general population is about 4 cases per 1000 individuals, it increases to about 1 case per 100 individuals among people who are 60 years and older.1

Other risk factors include age , gender , high anxiety and stress levels, certain immunosuppressive therapies, cancer, autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS and lupus, and chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.1

References

You May Like: What Are The Home Remedies For Shingles

Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse

In some cases, shingles causes long-term complications. Treatment depends on the specific complication.

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that lasts months or even years after the shingles rash heals. Certain medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids, can relieve pain. Most cases of PHN resolve within a year.
  • Disseminated zoster is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment may include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye, which could threaten your sight. You should seek prompt treatment from an ophthalmologist for this condition. Treatment may include rest, cool compresses, and antiviral medicines.
  • If the shingles virus affects the nerves originating in the brain , serious complications involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on the nature and location of the complication.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Shingles

Often the first shingles symptoms happen in the area where the rash will appear. A person may have tingling, itching, or pain in this area. When the rash shows up, the pain may be mild or severe.

The rash starts as groups of tiny pimples on one side of the body or the face. It’s often in the shape of a band or belt. The pimples change to pus-filled blisters that break open and scab over in about 710 days. The scabs usually heal and fall off about 24 weeks after the rash starts.

Some kids with shingles also may have a fever and a headache, and might feel tired and achy. Rarely, a child has the pain of shingles without the rash. More severe symptoms can happen, but usually in people over age 50.

Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Pain Does Shingles Cause

When Should You Call Your Doctor

If you think you have shingles, see a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia.

A rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose, can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.

If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out whether you have postherpetic neuralgia . Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

How Is Shingles Treated

Shingles: What you need to know about causes, symptoms, and prevention.

There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral medicine may relieve the symptoms and help prevent complications. See your doctor for a prescription of antiviral medicines as soon as possible after symptoms develop. Treatment should be started within 3 days of the shingles rash appearing.

If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether antivirals are right for you.

Over-the counter medicines, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, can be used for pain relief. If over-the-counter medicines are not controlling your pain, your doctor may prescribe other medicines.

There are several things you can do to help manage the condition. They include the following.

Don’t Miss: What Do Pictures Of Shingles Look Like

Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.

Other things you can do include:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Dont smoke or use tobacco products.

These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.

You Can Only Get Shingles If You’ve Had Chickenpox

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a condition caused by the same virus as chickenpox. About 350,000 Americans get chickenpox each year, which causes an itchy rash that lasts about a week. But even after your symptoms stop, the virus never leaves your body.

Most viruses are killed by your immune system, but the chickenpox virus hibernates inside your nerve roots, which are cords that transmit pain and itching sensations to your skin. You don’t feel any symptoms while the virus is dormant because your immune system stops the microbes from multiplying.

But as you age, your immune system tends to gets weaker. Like a collapsed dam, this weakened defense can let in a flood of viral microbes to your system, causing the virus to spread from your nerve root into your skin, and ultimately leading to a shingles outbreak.

You May Like: When Can You Get The Shingles Vaccine

If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital

Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:

  • Youll be in a contact isolation room.
  • The door will be kept closed.
  • A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
  • The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.

Popular Articles
Related news