Shingles: the virus that causes shingles, the varicella zoster virus, can be spread from a person with active shingles to another person who has never had chickenpox. In cases like this, the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox, but they would not develop shingles. This could also be a child, who could get chickenpox instead of shingles.
Shingles is most common in older adults and people with weak immune systems because of stress, injury or certain medicines. The virus is spread through contact with fluid from the blisters caused by shingles. A person with active shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. A person is not infectious before the blisters appear. The person is no longer contagious, once the rash has developed crusts.
If the area with shingles rash is covered, it is less contagious than chickenpox.
If you have shingles:
- Keep the rash covered.
- Avoid scratching the rash.
- Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of varicella zoster virus.
- Until your rash has developed crusts, avoid contact with
- pregnant women who have never had chickenpox
- premature babies
- people with weakened immune systems, such as people receiving immunosuppressive medications or undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, and people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
The most common presentation for ocular HSV and HZV infection is pain, blurred vision, redness, tearing, and light sensitivity in one eye. HZV is also often accompanied by a shingles rash (small “vesicles,” or blisters) on the forehead on the side that is affected and sometimes the tip of the nose.