Zoster (Shingles) Immunizations

Zoster, also called herpes zoster or shingles, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Zoster (shingles) cannot be passed from one person to another.  However, the virus that causes shingles, VZV, can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox through direct contact with the rash.  The person exposed would develop chickenpox, not shingles.  The virus is not spread through sneezing, coughing or casual contact. A person with shingles can spread the disease when the rash is in the blister-phase.  Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious.  A person is not infectious before blisters appear or with post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after the rash is gone).

Zoster (Shingles) Signs & Symptoms

Shingles usually starts as a rash on one side of the face or body.  The rash starts as blisters that scab after 3 to 5 days. The rash usually clears within 2 to 4 weeks.

Before the rash develops, there is often pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will develop. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach.

Zoster (Shingles) Immunization Recommendations  

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) vaccine (Zostavax) can, in most circumstances, prevent this disease.  It can also reduce pain in people who get shingles after being vaccinated.

A single dose of shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older.

Zoster (Shingles) Links & Resources  

The links provided below offer more information about Zoster (Shingles) and Zoster immunizations.


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