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.
Are you thinking about getting the shingles vaccine? Maybe you've read about the shingles vaccine in the news, or friends have talked about it. If you're over age 60, the shingles vaccine may help you avoid getting shingles. And if you've had shingles, the shingles vaccine may help prevent a recurrence.
Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful skin rash, often with blisters that's caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In people who have had chickenpox,...
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.