Table of Contents
- Shingles (herpes zoster) facts
- What is shingles? What does shingles look like?
- What causes shingles?
- What are risk factors for shingles?
- What is the contagious period for shingles?
- What are shingles symptoms and signs?
- How do health care professionals diagnose shingles?
- What types of health care professionals treat shingles?
- What are medical treatments for shingles?
- Are there any home remedies for shingles?
- What is the duration of a shingles outbreak?
- What are complications of shingles?
- What are complications of shingles? (Part 2)
- What are complications of shingles? (Part 3)
- What can be done for recurrent shingles?
- What is the prognosis of shingles?
- Is it possible to prevent shingles with a vaccine?
What is the contagious period for shingles?
The virus that causes shingles, the varicella zoster virus, can be transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the fluid from the active blistering rash. Therefore, susceptible individuals should avoid contact with people who have active shingles, especially pregnant women who have never had chickenpox and immunocompromised individuals. It cannot be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, and it is not contagious before the blisters appear. Once the shingles rash has dried and developed crusting, it is not considered to be contagious.
There are a few important points to consider when discussing the varicella zoster virus and transmissibility. If an individual who has never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine comes in direct contact with the fluid from the shingles rash, they may go on to develop chickenpox, but they will not immediately develop shingles. It is possible, however, for them to develop shingles later in life, just as it is with others who have previously been exposed to the virus and developed chickenpox. Also, if you have previously been exposed to the varicella zoster virus and you have had chickenpox, you will not contract the virus from others with shingles.