Is Shingles Contagious?

Itchy skin of any kind is always unpleasant and inconvenient to experience, but shingles is a different breed. This type of viral skin condition can be very painful and can last for up to several weeks.

Not only is it painful enough to experience yourself, but you’ll need to be careful around others if you develop it. Our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City team further explains below.

What Actually Is Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It’s caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who gets shingles has had a case of chickenpox first, often decades earlier.

Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso. We’ve listed the early signs of shingles below.

Early Signs of Shingles

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever, chills and headache
  • Itching
  • Raised dots on your skin and redness in that area
  • Stabbing or shooting pain
  • Tingling or burning feeling in or under your skin
  • Upset stomach

If I Get Shingles, Can I Spread It?

Yes, you can. If you were to get shingles, you could spread the varicella zoster virus to people who’ve never had chickenpox and haven’t been vaccinated, if they come in contact with an open shingles blister. Those people would then develop chickenpox—and could later get shingles.

Anyone who gets shingles is contagious until all of the sores have crusted over. If you get this viral infection, avoid pregnant women who may not have had chickenpox or the vaccine, people with weak immune systems and newborns.

Shingles Risk Factors

  • Being 50 or older
  • Being under a lot of stress
  • Having cancer, HIV or another disease that lowers the body’s defenses
  • Having had a serious physical injury
  • Currently taking long-term steroids or other medicines that can weaken the immune system

Shingles is nothing to sneeze at, as it can cause future complications if not treated quickly or effectively. If you believe you have shingles, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City center to get treatment!