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. If the virus becomes active again, you may get a rash that occurs only in the area of the affected nerve. This rash is called shingles.
Anyone who has had even a mild
case of chickenpox can get shingles. This includes children.
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 who has shingles can expose you to the virus if you come into contact
with the fluid in the shingles blisters.
If you are having an active outbreak of shingles, you can help prevent the spread of the virus to other people. Cover any fluid-filled blisters that are on a part of your body that isn't covered with clothes. Choose a type of dressing that absorbs fluid and protects the sores.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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