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Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles, the disease, is not contagious, but people with shingles are contagious to people who are susceptible to chickenpox. Such susceptible individuals include babies, young children, and unvaccinated individuals, so people with shingles are contagious for herpes zoster virus infections (chickenpox). Pregnant women are not unusually susceptible to shingles but if shingles develops near the end of pregnancy, the fetus may be harmed. Chickenpox usually appears about one to three weeks after exposure to the virus. Infected individuals unfortunately become contagious for chickenpox about one to two days before the pox lesions become apparent and remain contagious while uncrusted lesions are still present. Children usually have pox blisters healed in about seven to 10 days, but adults may take longer (about two weeks or more) to heal completely. Similar time spans exist for shingles blisters to crust over and become noninfective for chickenpox virus (herpes zoster virus). About one in 10 people who get chickenpox may develop shingles later in life. In most people, shingles develops only once.
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