Thursday, April 11, 2024

When Is The Shingles Virus Most Contagious

Shingles And Chickenpox Vaccination

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

The National Immunisation Program provides a free shingles vaccine, Zostavax® at 70 years of age . There is also a free catch-up program for 71 to 79 year olds until the end of 2021. The Zostavax® vaccine is available on prescription for people aged 50 to 69 years and from 80 years but it must be paid for by the patient.

Zostavax® vaccine contains live attenuated varicella-zoster virus, containing 14 times more virus than childhood varicella vaccines and is contraindicated in immunocompromised people. Zostavax® vaccine should not to be used in people with compromised immune function due to the risk of disseminated disease from the vaccine virus.

  • Safety advisory – Zostavax® vaccine for health professionals and consumers

Vaccination is still recommended for people who have had shingles infection in the past. It is recommended to wait at least a year after recovery.

The NIP provides a free chickenpox vaccine to children aged 18 months of age and as catch-up for children up to 20 years of age as part of the No Jab No Pay legislation. People aged 14 years and older require two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, one to two months apart. People from 20 years of age must purchase the vaccine privately.

Should Someone With Shingles Stay Home From Work Or School

In general, as long as the lesion can be covered, a person with shingles does not need to stay home from work or school.

Health care workers and others working with high-risk individuals should remain home from work until the blisters have scabbed over.

Anyone who cannot keep their blisters covered should stay home from work or school until all blisters have scabbed over.

How You Catch The Varicella

Shingles is not contagious. You cant catch shingles from someone. However, a person with shingles can pass along VZV to people who have never contracted chickenpox.

VZV can be transmitted from a person with shingles to someone who has never had chickenpox via direct contact with fluid from shingles rash or blisters. Its not possible to pass along VZV before shingles blisters appear or after lesions crust over.

However, shingles is a lot less contagious than chickenpox. By covering up your rash, you can prevent the spread of the virus.

Shingles usually happens many years after an initial chickenpox infection. The first signs of a reactivation of the virus are malaise, fever, a localized tingling or burning sensation, and pain. Within a few days a one-sided rash forms on the face or body. It can takes up to 10 days for the rash and blisters to crust over. It will clear up entirely several weeks later.

Read Also: How Do You Get Shingles In Your Eye

Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of Your Body

The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of your body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area. It doesnt spread over your whole body. Your torso is a common area, as is your face.

Primary School And Childrens Services Centre Exclusion For Chickenpox Or Shingles

3 Ways to Treat Throat Shingles

Primary school and childrens services centre exclusion differs according to case or contact status:

  • Cases should be excluded until all blisters have dried. This is usually at least 5 days after the rash appears in unimmunised children, but may be less in previously immunised children.
  • Any child with an immune deficiency or receiving chemotherapy should be excluded for their own protection. Otherwise, contacts are not excluded.

Read Also: Does United Healthcare Cover The Shingles Vaccine

I’m Pregnant And Have Recently Been Exposed To Someone With Chickenpox How Will This Exposure Affect Me Or My Pregnancy

  • Susceptible pregnant women are at risk for associated complications when they contract varicella. Varicella infection causes severe illness in pregnant women, and 10%-20% of those infected develop varicella pneumonia, with mortality reported as high as 40%.
  • Because of these risks, pregnant women without evidence of immunity to varicella who have been exposed to the virus may be given varicella-zoster immune globulin to reduce their risk of disease complications.
  • If you are pregnant and have never had chickenpox, and you get chickenpox during the:
    • First half of your pregnancy, there is a very slight risk for birth defects or miscarriage.
    • Second half of your pregnancy, the baby may have infection without having any symptoms and then get shingles later in life.
  • Newborns whose mothers develop varicella rash from 5 days before to 2 days after delivery are at risk for neonatal varicella, associated with mortality as high as 30%. These infants should receive preventive treatment with varicella-zoster immune globulin .

What Are Risk Factors For Shingles

A weakened immune system might wake up the virus. After youâve had chickenpox, youâre more likely to get shingles if you:

  • Are 50 or older
  • Are under a lot of stress
  • Have cancer, HIV, or another disease that lowers your bodyâs defenses
  • Have had a serious physical injury
  • Take long-term steroids or other medicines that can weaken your immune system

But many people who get shingles donât fit into any of these categories.

Also Check: What Are The 1st Signs Of Shingles

How Do You Get Shingles

You don’t catch shingles from other peopleinstead it’s caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. You can only develop shingles if you had chickenpox when you were younger. You can’t get shingles if you’ve never had chickenpox.

After you recover from chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant there for years. Someday, it might reactivate and cause shingles to appear. Doctors arent exactly sure why this happens, but it tends to happen to older people and/or those with weakened immune systems .

You can’t catch shingles from someone else, but if you have it, you can transmit the virus to others, giving them chickenpox.

Is Shingles Contagious To Kids

Is shingles contagious?

Medical Review By: Ted Schiff, MD

Shingles is miserable. The painful, fluid-filled blisters can last weeks before they crust over and disappear, and in some people, nerve pain lasts even longer. If you have shingles, you probably wouldnt wish it on anyone. While youre waiting for the outbreak to end, if you have children or grandchildren you may be asking yourself, Is shingles contagious to kids and babies?

The answer is no, you cant give them or other adults shingles. But that doesnt mean there is no risk in exposing them. Kids can be vulnerable for another, surprising reason. Heres what you need to know about shingles transmission.

Also Check: Can Shingles Cause Nerve Damage

What Other Problems Can Shingles Cause

Shingles can cause complications:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is most common complication of shingles. It causes severe pain in the areas where you had the shingles rash. It usually gets better in a few weeks or months. But some people can have pain from PHN for many years, and it can interfere with daily life.
  • Vision loss can happen if shingles affects your eye. It may be temporary or permanent.
  • Hearing or balance problems are possible if you have shingles within or near your ear. You may also have weakness of the muscles on that side of your face. These problems can be temporary or permanent.

Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation , or death.

Can You Get Chickenpox If You’ve Been Vaccinated

Yes. About 15% 20% of people who have received one dose of varicella vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild. Vaccinated persons who get chickenpox generally have fewer than 50 spots or bumps, which may resemble bug bites more than typical, fluid-filled chickenpox blisters. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend routine two-dose varicella vaccination for children. In one study, children who received two doses of varicella vaccine were three times less likely to get chickenpox than individuals who have had only one dose.

Read Also: Can You Get Shingles And Not Have A Rash

How Long Is Shingles Contagious

Similar to chickenpox, shingles is a contagious illness. But, before we address how long you may be contagious, we need to talk about how shingles spreads which might actually surprise you.

“Shingles is indeed contagious, but it can only be spread to people who haven’t yet had chickenpox, or the chickenpox vaccine. In these cases, the shingles virus typically spreads via direct contact with the opened blisters of your rash. After being infected, a person doesn’t develop shingles, though he or she develops chickenpox,” explains Dr. Brown.

Since you can’t really know who is and who isn’t susceptible to chickenpox, it’s important to take safety measures if you have shingles.

“When you have shingles, you’re considered contagious until your open sores crust and scab over. This generally takes between 7 to 10 days,” says Dr. Brown. “Depending on where your rash develops on your body and where you work, you may be able to return to work before your shingles dry up.”

Before your rash dries up, Dr. Brown recommends the following to prevent spreading shingles to others:

  • Make sure your rash is covered with gauze
  • Limit interaction with other people if your shingles rash is on your face
  • Consult with your doctor about returning to work if you work in a medical setting or nursing home, as well as if you interact with people frequently while at work

Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

Experts sound alarm over shingles

Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.

Shingrix is given as a two-dose shot in your upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.

Also Check: Best Pain Relief Medication For Shingles

Precautions To Take Around People With Shingles

If youve had chickenpox or shingles before or youve received the chickenpox vaccine, you dont have to worry about getting infected yourself since youre immune to the virus. However, you dont want to unintentionally spread the virus to those whove never had chickenpox.

If youre in contact with someone with shingles, you should avoid directly touching their rash. You should also avoid touching their clothes, bedding, towels, or anything else that might have touched their rash. If you must touch these items, you should wash your hands thoroughly immediately after contact. Even if you’ve already had chickenpox, if you get the fluid from the sores on your hands, you could potentially spread the virus on accident. You could touch a doorknob and leave some of the virus behind. Wash your hands often to avoid this.

If you haven’t had chickenpox before and haven’t been vaccinated, you should avoid direct contact with shingles sores and should also avoid contact with anything the sores might have touched . Also, you should go get the chickenpox vaccine anyone 12 months or older is eligible to receive the vaccine.

How Can You Prevent Shingles

Vaccination is the only way to reduce the chance of getting shingles since the virus that causes shingles is already present in anyone who has had chickenpox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of recombinant zoster vaccine to prevent shingles and related complications in adults 50 years and older. Shingrix is also recommended for adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or treatments they are receiving. The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox.

Don’t Miss: Can I See A Picture Of Shingles

Im Pregnant And Have Had A Blood Test For Chickenpox What Do The Results Of This Test Show

The blood test can show that you:

  • Are immune and have no sign of recent infection. You have nothing further to be concerned about.
  • Are not immune and have not yet been infected. You should avoid anyone with chickenpox during your pregnancy.
  • Have or recently had an infection. You should discuss what the risks are for your stage of pregnancy with your healthcare provider.

What Illnesses Does Varicella

Chickenpox, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Chickenpox first occurs as a blister-like skin rash and fever. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. The sores commonly occur in batches with different stages present at the same time. The blisters usually scab over in 5 days. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. Children with weakened immune systems may have blisters occurring for a prolonged time period. Adults can develop severe pneumonia and other serious complications.

Shingles occurs when the virus, which has been inactive for some time, becomes active again. Severe pain and numbness along nerve pathways, commonly on the trunk or on the face, are present. Clusters of blisters appear 1 to 5 days later. The blisters are usually on one side of the body and closer together than in chickenpox. Shingles does not spread as shingles from one person to another. If people who have never had chickenpox come in contact with the fluid from shingles blisters, they can develop chickenpox.

Also Check: Can A Person Have Shingles More Than Once

Are There Complications Of Shingles

Shingles can have complications that last long after the rash is gone, including:

  • Brain inflammation or facial paralysis if it affects certain nerves
  • Eye problems and vision loss if your rash was in or around your eye
  • Pain that lasts long after the outbreak, called postherpetic neuralgia. It affects up to 1 in 5 people who get shingles.

What Are The Complications Of Shingles

After the shingles rash has disappeared, you might continue to have nerve pain in that same area. Postherpetic neuralgia can last for months or years and become quite severe.

More than 10% of people who get shingles develop postherpetic neuralgia. Researchers dont know why some people get postherpetic neuralgia and others dont. It may be that nerves become more sensitive or that the virus may be invading and damaging the central nervous system.

Other complications include:

  • Other types of nerve issues like numbness or itching.
  • A bacterial infection of the shingles rash.
  • Eye and ear inflammation if the rash is near these organs.

Read Also: Where Are Shingle Shots Available

How Is Shingles Transmitted

The virus can only be transmitted in two ways. The first method is through direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash .

The second method is through contact with the fluid from the shingles sores. Avoid contact with anything that might have touched the fluid from the shingles sores. For example, make sure you dont share any towels or clothes with someone who has shingles.

All that being said, according to the CDC, shingles is less contagious than the chickenpox, meaning its more difficult to spread.

Will Shingles Go Away On Its Own

Experts sound alarm over shingles

Shingles isn’t life-threatening, but it can be incredibly painful and, in some cases, complications can arise. While this rash typically goes away its own, prompt treatment can reduce your pain and help shingles go away faster.

“Several antivirals can be used to treat shingles. These drugs can help you heal more quickly and reduce your pain, but they are most effective when started within 72 hours of your rash appearing. This means it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you suspect shingles,” says Dr. Brown. “When it comes to the pain associated with shingles, most people are able to manage it using over-the-counter pain relievers. But, pain can be severe for some people. In these cases, your doctor can prescribe stronger pain medications.”

Beyond treating your immediate pain and rash, seeing your doctor is also important since serious complications can occur as a result of shingles, such as:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia pain that lasts for months to years after the rash clears, with this pain being debilitating in some cases
  • Skin infection occurs if the open sores of your rash become infected with bacteria, which can require antibiotics and delay healing
  • Vision problems while rare, if your rash develops near your eye, the associated inflammation can damage your retina and, in some cases, result in vision loss

Don’t Miss: Can Shingles Cause Chest Pain

Can I Go To Work With Shingles

You can go to work if you have shingles and are no longer contagious. However, you may need to wait until youre feeling better. Shingles can be excruciating and debilitating.

Youre no longer contagious when the rash and blisters begin to scab over. This is typically 10 days after the rash first crops up.

What Are The Complications Associated With Shingles

Shingles is not usually dangerous to healthy individuals although it can cause great misery during an attack. Anyone with shingles on the upper half of their face, no matter how mild, should seek medical care at once because of the risk of damage to the eye. Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or death. For about one person in five, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. As people get older, they are more likely to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and it is more likely to be severe.

Read Also: Owens Corning Cool Duration Shingles

Popular Articles
Related news