For those who are asking the question “when are shingles contagious,” the answer is that it would depend on the person who comes in contact with the person with the disease. Shingles, which is a viral infection resulting in a painful rash, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is also the one that causes chickenpox. This can be transmitted to another person. This means that someone who has shingles can give someone who has never had chickenpox, but it would be chickenpox not shingles. Naturally, if the person already had chickenpox, he or she would not be affected.

Determining When Shingles Are Contagious:

Shingles and chickenpox are caused by one and the same virus. In fact, the ones who had chickenpox are usually the ones who are at risk of having shingles because after recovering from chickenpox, the virus may lie dormant within the nervous system and may reactivate later on, especially when the person’s immune system becomes weak.

Hence, just like with chickenpox, the spots caused by shingles are contagious when they still have fluids in them. Hence, those who have blisters should avoid contact with other people. Once the spots scab over, the risk of contagion is over.

Chickenpox is a relatively harmless and common disease. This means that most adults have had it and are immune to it. It is only possible to pass on the disease through direct contact with the blisters. This means that someone with shingles has the option of covering up the blisters and still go about his or her daily routine, without worrying about infecting another person.

Precautions to Take:

Although chickenpox is relatively harmless, it is still important to avoid it. This is particularly true for pregnant women who have not had chickenpox themselves. They should never share towels or washcloths, avoid swimming in public pools, stay away from physical contact sports, and avoid intercourse. This is because the chickenpox virus can be harmful to an unborn baby.

Sometimes, it may be impossible to be in a situation where you have no contact with others if you have shingles. For instance, you may be the primary caregiver of a newborn baby. Should the baby show signs and symptoms, seek medical attention.

The Signs and Symptoms of Shingles:

1. Fever
2. Muscular pains
3. Pins and needles in the skin areas where the shingles manifest
4. Feeling unwell

These symptoms usually appear around five days before the spots appear. The spots, meanwhile, can last between 10 and 30 days. Sometimes, they affect the face and the eyes, which can be a significant concern. This is why, if you have shingles, you do have to seek medical attention. Most people only develop spots on the stomach area, but this is not always the case.

Shingles, clearly, are quite a complex disease. Technically, they are only contagious to those people who have never had chickenpox. However, as viruses mutate over time, things may change. This is why it is important to always take precautions, not in the least because you cannot tell whether the people you come in contact with already had chickenpox.