The answer to this question will have a lot to do with how susceptible you are to get this painful condition. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is extremely contagious. It can be transferred from one person to another through direct contact or a rash or other sores that develop. Risk factors for getting shingles can include having lived in an area where the virus was very common, not having been vaccinated during the illness, having a history of skin rash prior to the attack, and being elderly.
This is why shingles is almost always associated with a recent case of the herpes simplex type virus (HSV). In the past, the only way to get the virus was to have an outbreak of chickenpox – which is why you rarely see outbreaks of shingles occurring before the age of 70. Since the introduction of the vaccines for both HSV and HPV, though, there has been a marked decrease in the cases of shingles. The difference may lie in how the infections are initially diagnosed. In the past, doctors usually used a paper-based diagnosis process that involved looking for the appearance of rashes and blisters on the patients’ skin.
In recent years, more sophisticated tests have been developed for evaluating this aspect of shingles. Because there is a delay in diagnosis, it is possible that the patient is not aware that they have been infected with this condition. The most accurate method is to look for evidence of a rash or blisters, as well as fluid in the joints, under the skin, and in various organs. A physician can look for evidence of altered behavior, including possible fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. These symptoms can all be indicators that an individual may be suffering from a secondary infection, and that the virus may be contagious.
The varicella-zoster virus, which causes shingles in adults, is transmitted through direct contact with a wart or other form of lesion. It is very contagious among children who are in close physical contact with an infected individual. The incubation period of this disease is two to four weeks, after which symptoms may emerge. Symptoms of shingles usually include one or more of the following: pain in the area where the rash originally appeared, pain and burning sensations, a raised temperature, and a reduction in the number of blisters seen on the skin. An average of 90% of those who develop shingles will experience at least one episode of pain and discomfort. Shingles is not generally dangerous, but those who do not recover completely from their first attack should be under the care of a physician immediately.
How contagious is shingles when you catch shingles? Like many contagious diseases, the answer to this question depends on where the infected person has been, who they’ve come into contact with, and how long they’ve had the illness. People who have had herpes don’t become contagious when they catch shingles, because the virus needs to remain dormant in order for someone to catch it. So the best way to answer the question of how contagious is shingles in the case of people who’ve never had the virus is: probably not.
If you or your child has had chickenpox, or any of the other highly contagious diseases mentioned above, then the chances of catching shingles are relatively small. However, there is one instance in which the virus is so contagious that you would be foolish not to wear a protection. Those who are unprotected are more at risk for developing chickenpox than those who are protected, so you should wear the appropriate vaccines to prevent this infection. For the full extent of the complications that can occur from this infection, you should contact a medical professional if you have opened sores or broken skin caused by shingles. You will also find that your immune system will have been weakened considerably, and any of the complications listed here could develop, resulting in serious illness.
How contagious is shingles in children? Like adults, children too can get shingles, but their chances of infection are notably reduced. The reason for this is simple – they usually get chickenpox before turning five, and since the virus stays dormant in their systems for much longer, they therefore are at a much lower risk of developing serious problems. If a child does catch the infection, however, then he or she must be treated promptly, as the rash experienced is quite severe, and is often painful. If a child develops an open sore or blister, the blisters tend to get very large, and children can easily get sick with this infection.
In conclusion, the short answer to the original question of “How contagious is shingles?” is: usually not. However, it’s important to understand why the virus is so contagious, and how you can protect yourself from its spreading.