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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 Shingles -- the Basics

Shingles (herpes zoster) results from a reactivation of the virus that also causes chickenpox. With shingles, usually the first thing you may notice is a tingling sensation or burning pain on one side of your body or face. Within days to weeks, red bumps and grouped, painful skinblisters then erupt in the same area of your face or body along the distribution of nerves on the skin. Typically, this occurs along your chest, abdomen, back, or face, but it may also affect your neck, limbs, or lower...

Read the Understanding Shingles -- 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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