Shingles (Herpes Zoster) FAQs
Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEPD, on February 18, 2016
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Q:Shingles is a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. True or false?
A:True. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Q:What are early symptoms and signs of shingles?
A:Early symptoms and signs of shingles include burning, itching, tingling, or sensitive skin for up to three days.
Q:Is shingles contagious?
A:Yes, shingles is contagious, and is spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the fluid from the blisters.
Q:What is the treatment for shingles?
A:Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are the most commonly used drugs to treat shingles, and they can help shorten the duration of the illness and the severity of the symptoms.
Q:What is the most common complication of shingles?
A:Nerve pain is the most common complication of shingles. The medical term for this pain is postherpetic neuralgia.
Q:Is there a shingles vaccine available?
A:Yes. The shingles vaccine is recommended for all adults age 60 and older, regardless of whether they remember if they had chickenpox or not.
Q:Can you get shingles more than once?
A:Yes. Most people who develop shingles only get it once, but it is possible to have repeated outbreaks of the illness.
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