Shingles is a painful, blistering rash caused by the re-activation of the chickenpox Virus. If you had chickenpox as a child, you could develop shingles as an adult.
After a person gets rid of the chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. The virus travels to the nerves where it sleeps and remains dormant. If the virus “wakes up” shingles is the result. It is not clear what reactivates or the virus, though a short-term weakness in immunity may be the cause.
You cannot get shingles if you have not had chickenpox. However, if someone is exposed to a person with shingles, they could catch the chickenpox virus. This virus spreads when the person with shingles has uncovered, open blisters and someone touches the blisters. Once the blisters form scabs, the person is no longer contagious.
There is no cure for shingles, however medication can be prescribed to ease discomfort and shorten the length of the outbreak.
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