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If You Have Had Chickenpox Can You Get Shingles

What To Know About Shingles And The Chickenpox Vaccine

Shingles: What You Should Know About the Sequel to Chickenpox | Jeffrey Brown, DO

The chickenpox vaccine is not causing a surge or epidemic of shingles. In fact, in addition to reducing your children’s risk of developing chickenpox, it can likely reduce their risk of developing shingles later in life.

  • Weinmann S. Incidence and clinical characteristics of herpes zoster among children in the varicella vaccine era, 20052009. Journal of Infection Diseases. 2013 208:1859-68.

  • Hales, Craig M. Examination of Links Between Herpes Zoster Incidence and Childhood Varicella Vaccination. Ann Intern Med. 2013 159:739-745.
  • Leung J. Herpes zoster incidence among insured persons in the United States, 1993-2006: evaluation of the impact of varicella vaccination. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011 52:332-340.
  • Russell ML. Shingles in Alberta: before and after publicly funded varicella vaccination. Vaccine. Volume 32, Issue 47, 29 October 2014, Pages 63196324.

What Causes Shingles On The Butt

Shingles on the buttocks occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus, varicella-zoster virus , is reactivated in your nerve tissue. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus moves to your nerve roots, where it can stay dormant for years. When reactivated, VSV causes shingles instead of chickenpox.

What causes the virus to reactivate remains unknown, but it occurs more in people with weakened or suppressed immune systems.

What Can Parents Do To Protect Their Children From Chickenpox

The best way to protect children from chickenpox is to have them vaccinated.

If your child is not yet vaccinated and comes in contact with another child who has chickenpox, he may still be protected if he is vaccinated right away.

If one of your children has chickenpox, it will probably spread to other members of the household who are not already immune. If someone else catches the infection, it will appear two to three weeks after the first family member got it.

If your child has an immune system disorder, contact your doctor. The doctor can give the child a special type of immune globulin , which contains a large number of antibodies , to help prevent infection, or he can provide early treatment with an antiviral drug.

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Shingles Vaccination What You Should Know:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends shingles vaccine for people 60 years of age and older. This is a one-time vaccination to prevent shingles. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccine.

Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox or not. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease.

Your risk for getting shingles begins to rise around age 50. However, shingles vaccine is only recommended for persons age 60 and older because the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine have only been studied in this age group.

Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider. Generally, a person should make sure that the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.

Can You Get Shingles If You Have Had Chickenpox

Check if you have shingles

Both shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus, varicella zoster.

If you have had chickenpox, the virus can lay dormant in your bodys nerve cells and come back later as shingles. So yes, its possible to get shingles if you have had chickenpox.

This is especially true for people over the age of 50 as well as the immunocompromised. Its therefore recommended that they get the shingles vaccine if possible. Of course, no vaccine is 100% effective, but it can considerably reduce someones risk of developing shingles.

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When To See A Doctor

Chronic intercostal neuralgia can greatly impact a persons quality of life.

The condition can be extremely uncomfortable. Chronic pain from intercostal neuralgia can also lead to reduced movement and poor sleep quality. It can also make it difficult for a person to breathe.

Also, intercostal neuralgia has some symptoms in common with other potentially serious health conditions. These include:

For this reason, it is important for anyone with prolonged or acute intercostal neuralgia to see a doctor immediately.

People should also see a doctor if they experience other symptoms of shingles.

Can Children With Chickenpox Go To Child Care Or School

If your child is too sick to take part in regular activities, or if he has a fever, he should stay home. For mild cases, children can go to child care or school as long as they feel well enough to participate in their activities. For more information about exclusion policies, see Chickenpox: When should children stay at home? .

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Can You Get Shingles More Than Once

Yes, you can develop shingles more than once. The virus can lay dormant and later reactivate.

“It just goes and hides in the nerve root again,” explained Dr. Parsons. “For my young adult patients who get it, I’ll recommend getting the shingles vaccine sometime in the next few years.”

Insurance may not cover Shingrix before 50, so you’ll have to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.

Shingles And Nerve Paths

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Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. Only people whove had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccines can develop shingles. Having a chickenpox vaccine can lead to shingles because the vaccine contains the virus that causes chickenpox.

Shingles isnt contagious, but people who have not had chickenpox can develop chickenpox if they come in contact with open blisters of somebody with shingles.

After your body fights off a chickenpox infection, the herpes zoster virus remains dormant in your cranial nerves and spinal ganglia until it becomes reactivated. Spinal ganglia are nerve cells that connect your spinal cord to nerves in your body and limbs.

The virus reactivates when your immune system is no longer able to suppress it. Reactivation most commonly occurs in older adults because the immune system tends to get weaker with age, as well as in people with suppressed immune systems.

Once the virus is active, it usually spreads down sensory nerve fibers that lead from your spinal cord to your skin. These nerves carry sensory information like feelings of pain, itchiness, or pressure from your skin to your spinal cord and brain.

Once the virus gets to the end of these sensory nerves, it reaches your skin and usually leads to a rash. This rash often shows up in one or two nearby areas of skin called dermatomes.

A dermatome is an area of your skin where the sensation is supplied by one spinal nerve.

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What Is Herpes Zoster

Shingles, like a number of itchy, highly communicable skin conditions, is caused by the herpes virus. Herpes zoster, the specific form of the herpes virus, is also responsible for chickenpox. Unlike some forms of herpes, herpes zoster is not a sexually transmitted infection. The shingles and chickenpox viruses are unique because they can lie dormant in the body for years. During herpes zosters resting phase, a person will notice no symptoms. Its only when the virus resurfaces that symptoms crop up again. Once a person has herpes zoster, their chances of having another flare up are high. Herpes zoster is highly contagious, and is spread by skin to skin contact, or contact with the fluids that may be contained in shingles or chickenpox lesions.

Why You Cant Get Shingles But You Can Still Get Chickenpox

Shingles are a reactivation of the same virus that caused chickenpox. Therefore, you need to have had exposure to VZV earlier in life.

Chickenpox tends to be more prevalent in children and is transmitted very quickly through groups. Even so, its still a real risk for adults. Chickenpox is a highly infectious disease that can spread to about 90 percent of unvaccinated household contacts of a person who has it.

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Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Chickenpox And Shingles Tests

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the chickenpox vaccine for children, teens, and adults who never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Some schools require this vaccine for admittance. Check with your child’s school and your child’s health care provider for more information.

The CDC also recommends that healthy adults age 50 and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. The vaccine provides strong protection against shingles and complications from the disease. You should get the vaccine even if youâve already had shingles, as it may prevent future outbreaks.

A different shingles vaccine called Zostavax is no longer available in the United States. If you had a Zostavax vaccine in the past, you should still get vaccinated with Shingrix. Talk to your health care provider about the best time get Shingrix.

If Ive Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox Can I Still Develop Shingles Later In Life

Be Aware

Unfortunately, yes, despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective and the effects of vaccines lessen with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who did not.

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What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

Is The Zostavax Vaccine Still Being Used

Yes. The CDC, however, recommends Zostavax for adults age 60 and older, but not routinely for people aged 50 to 59. Zostavax is given as a single-dose shot versus the two-dose shot for Shingrix. Zostavax is less effective than Shingrix in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia .

You can consider Zostavax if you are allergic to Shingrix or if Shingrix is unavailable because of supply shortage and you want some immediate protection from a possible case of shingles and/or postherpetic neuralgia. Because its a weakened live vaccine, it may be dangerous if you have cancer, HIV, or take steroids, chemotherapy or other medications that suppress your immune system. Ask your healthcare provider if the Zostavax vaccine is an option for you.

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Who Should Not Get Shingrix

You should not get Shingrix if you:

  • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
  • Currently have shingles.
  • Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.

If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.

Treating Shingles With Over

Shingles

What is shingles?

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection that presents as a blister-filled rash typically appearing on one side of the body . The rash associated with shingles is usually extremely painful. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus which is also responsible for chickenpox. After an individual has chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. The virus can reactivate at any time, even decades later. If it reactivates, it travels along nerve fibers to the skin. This reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus is referred to as shingles.

Treating shingles

Although no cure exists for shingles, a prompt medical diagnosis is imperative in order to receive proper treatment. Medications are available that accelerate the healing process, ease pain and reduce inflammation. Early treatment is crucial to avoid complications associated with shingles, so a health care provider should be consulted as soon as possible if shingles is suspected.

Over-the-counter medications

The shingles virus causes inflammation and pain in nerve endings. Certain over-the-counter medications can help ease the pain or reduce the inflammation experienced with shingles:

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Can You Get Shingles If You Never Had Chickenpox

Both chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virusthe varicella-zoster virus . Most people who get chickenpox get it during childhood. Shingles is a painful disease that can develop later in life. However, you can only get it if youve already had chickenpox.

Getty Images / Mixmike

What Causes Chickenpox And Shingles

VZV causes both chickenpox and shingles. People commonly come into contact with the virus during childhood. Once you’ve had chickenpox, VZV hangs around in your body, dormant in the spinal cord.

“The virus will hide there for many, many years. And then we see it show up as shingles in some people,” , a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology , told Health.

If VZV reactivates, a person develops shingles. Shingles is a condition affecting areas of skin that are supplied by spinal nerve cells and creating a painful red rash.

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What Are The Complications Of Shingles

Shingles can have complications that last long after the rash is gone and may occur if the infection has not been treated appropriately. Complications include:

  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Postherpetic neuralgia
  • Loss of hearing and balance problems
  • Bacterial infection of the skin, causing increased swelling, redness, warmth, pain, tenderness, and pus formation

What If Youre Over 50 And Have Never Had Chickenpox

If You Have These Symptoms, You May Have Shingles

If youre over 50 and confident that youve never had exposure to chickenpox, a primary doctor can run a blood test to determine your level of chickenpox immunity.

If it turns out that youve never been exposed to chickenpox, consider getting vaccinated against the virus to protect against any future exposure.

Most adults between 30 and 50 years old dont need to worry about racing to get either the chickenpox or shingles vaccine.

Consider getting the shingles vaccine before turning 50 if you:

  • work in an industry that might have higher exposure to chickenpox, like healthcare or teaching

Do not get a chickenpox vaccine if you:

  • previously had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of chickenpox vaccine or any ingredient of the vaccine
  • are moderately or severely ill

Talk with a doctor before getting a chickenpox vaccine if you:

  • have HIV or another condition that affects your immune system
  • are taking a medication that affects your immune system for 2 weeks or longer
  • have cancer of any kind or are taking medications for cancer
  • have recently had a blood transfusion

Before shingles appear, youll normally develop:

  • pain in the body

The shingles rash typically starts as a single strip rash around the side of the body. It may eventually break out to another nearby area if you spread it by scratching.

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So Should I Get The Chickenpox Vaccine Or The Shingles Vaccine

For most healthy people, if youre between 30 and 50 years old, theres no need for either vaccine, Orrange said. There are some exceptions, including health care workers, pregnant women, teachers and those who are HIV-positive. If youre an adult who hasnt received the vaccine or you think youve never been exposed to chickenpox, you can ask your primary care doctor to run a blood test called varicella titers. It shows your level of chickenpox immunity.

But if youre 50 or older, you can and should get the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, whether or not you remember getting chickenpox in childhood. Its given as a shot in two doses, two to six months apart.

Theres also an older shingles vaccine called Zostavax. Its given to those 50 and over with certain medical conditions, and to people 60 and over. Zostavax is 19 times stronger than the chickenpox vaccine. Its unknown, by the way, whether the shingles vaccines protect against the varicella virus that would lead to chickenpox in adults who were never exposed. The makers of Shingrix or Zostavax would have to run a study on that question, Orrange said, but theres little incentive to do so since a chickenpox vaccine already exists.

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.

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