Shingles is a viral infection. It presents over the skin of the body with a painful, red, blotchy rash which blisters and weeps. Shingles rashes can also occur near to the eyes. The infection lasts for 7-21 days. When the rash subsides after a few weeks, the skin may remain painful. It is possible to contract Shingles more than once.
Shingles is common in adults over 70, however, other adult age groups can contract shingles, particularly during/after suffering from other illnesses, or having low immunity.
Children and teenagers can contract shingles after having Chickenpox.
- A tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
- A headache or feeling generally unwell
A rash will appear a few days later.
You cannot spread shingles to other people.
However, people who have not had chickenpox could catch chickenpox from you as shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. You cannot get shingles from a person with shingles or chickenpox.
Treating shingles as soon as possible can help prevent complications and speed up your recovery. You should start treatment within 3 days of your symptoms developing.
You are only eligible for the shingles vaccine on the NHS if you are aged 70 to 79. The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 or over as it seems to be less effective in this age group.
The shingles vaccine should reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you do develop shingles, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter. The vaccine will help to boost your immunity against further shingles attacks. Research suggests the shingles vaccine will protect you for at least 5 years but this figure is probably longer.
It can be given to people aged 50 or over. If you’ve had shingles before, you can still have the vaccination provided it’s been over 1 year since you have had shingles.
Shingles – 1 dose