Shingles is a
reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, a type of herpes virus that causes
chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus
lies inactive in your
nerve roots and remains inactive until, in some
people, it flares up again. When the virus becomes active again, you get
shingles instead of chickenpox.
Anyone who has had even a mild
case of chickenpox can get shingles. People who have a weak
immune system are vulnerable to reactivation of the
virus that causes shingles. Many things can weaken your immune system,
Exposure to shingles will not cause
you to get shingles. But if you have not had chickenpox and have not gotten the
chickenpox vaccine, you can get chickenpox if you are exposed to shingles.
Someone with shingles can expose you to chickenpox if you come into contact
with the fluid in the shingles blisters. If you cover the shingles sores with a
type of dressing that absorbs fluid and protects the sores, you can help
prevent the spread of the virus to other people.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 27, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this