Shingles

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideShingles Pictures Slideshow: A Collection of Photos on Shingles

Shingles Pictures Slideshow: A Collection of Photos on Shingles

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. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/18/2016
References
REFERENCES:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Shingles (Herpes Zoster)." <http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/>. May 1, 2014.

United States. NIHSeniorHealth. "Shingles." July 2015. <http://nihseniorhealth.gov/shingles/aboutshingles/01.html>.

IMAGES:

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12."Herpes zoster chest" by Fisle

13.Steve Pomberg

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15.Steve Pomberg

16.iStock

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