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Shingles - What Increases Your Risk

Things that increase risk for shingles include:

  • Having had chickenpox. You must have had chickenpox to get shingles.
  • Being older than 50.
  • Having a weakened immune system due to another disease, such as diabetes or HIV infection.
  • Experiencing stress or trauma.
  • Having cancer or receiving treatment for cancer.
  • Taking medicines that affect your immune system, such as steroids or medicines that are taken after having an organ transplant.

If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox, her baby has a high risk for shingles during his or her first 2 years of life. And if a baby gets chickenpox in the first year of life, he or she has a higher risk for shingles during childhood.1

Recommended Related to Shingles

Understanding Postherpetic Neuralgia -- the Basics

Neuralgia is nerve pain that occurs when a nerve is damaged, irritated or inflamed. The pain spreads along neural pathways, may be brief or chronic, and can range from mild to outright unbearable. A relatively common type of neuralgia is postherpetic neuralgia, which strikes after the infection known as shingles (herpes zoster). Typically, people with this form of neuralgia experience a continuous burning sensation. Pain may be very severe and long lasting. Any pain that persists for more than a...

Read the Understanding Postherpetic Neuralgia -- the Basics article > >

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a common complication of shingles that lasts for at least 30 days and may continue for months or years. You can reduce your risk for getting shingles and developing PHN by getting the shingles vaccine.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 11, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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