How do shingles develop?
Chickenpox usually occurs at a younger age. During this time, the body fights off the varicella-zoster virus. This disease may last up to 10 days. But, even if the physical signs of chickenpox fade, the virus may still live inside your body. Therefore if you have had chickenpox before, you are at risk of getting shingles as well.
The virus can reactivate when you reach adulthood, at aged 50 years and older, when you have a weaker immune system. Once it does, it spreads along your sensory nerves, causing painful rashes or blisters.
Are shingles contagious?
A person with active shingles can transmit the virus, when the rash is still in its blister phase. Therefore it is important to cover up your blisters, and avoid physical contact with anyone who has not had chickenpox yet, has a weak immune system, pregnant women, and young children.
Are shingles contagious: Signs and symptoms
One of the first signs you should look out for is tingling, itching, or pain in one side of the body. The most common areas in which shingles form include the chest, abdomen, arms, and legs. Afterwards, you may notice the affected area becoming red and swollen. The rash will then appear and blisters may form a patch or single-stripe following the line of the infected nerve. Your skin will become more sensitive that any friction can cause extreme pain and itchiness.
Some also experience other symptoms besides rashes or blisters:
- Low-grade fever
- Extreme feeling of fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Upset stomach
- Bacterial infection
If you show physical signs of shingles, it is best to isolate yourself since shingles are contagious, especially if you have open blisters.