If you've had shingles once, you probably won’t get it again.
That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, it’s just unlikely. Also called herpes zoster, shingles can come back a second or, rarely, a third time. But you can take steps to help prevent it, or ease it the next time around.
The shingles vaccine shot can roughly cut in half your chances of getting shingles, a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.
If you’ve already had shingles, the vaccine may help prevent it from coming back.
The vaccine contains a weakened chickenpox virus, which doctors call the “varicella-zoster” virus. It primes your immune system to defend against the disease.
Some people who get the vaccine still get shingles. But they're more likely to have shorter periods of shingles-related...
Experts don't know exactly how many people get shingles more than once. They do know it comes back more often in people with weakened immune systems.
If your immune system is healthy:
Your short-term chances of getting shingles again are very low. One study of people over age 60 found that only 1% got shingles again within about 3 years. Having shingles once lowers your chances of getting it a second time, at least for a while.
Over time, your chances of a second bout go up. Another study found that within 7 years, the odds of getting it again may be almost 6% in people 22 and older. That's about the same as the odds of getting shingles the first time.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Shingles Again?
You're more likely to get it again if:
You had severe pain from shingles that lasted more than 30 days. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
You are a woman.
You were 50 or older when you had shingles the first time.
Your immune system is weak from conditions like leukemia, lymphoma, or HIV, or you take medicines that suppress your immune system.