Can You Get Shingles More Than Once

Most adults have some memory of their time with the chicken pox. Luckily, that virus only strikes once, with some very rare exceptions. Sadly, the dormant chicken pox virus can strike again in adults, but in the form of shingles. Can you get shingles more than once? The answer is yes.

Two Times the Charm

It was believed for a long time that if an adult got the shingles virus, with the rash and painful symptoms, then that would be it. This has been proven false. The shingles virus can strike more than once, which is not good news for anyone who has had the disease.

Get the Vaccine

The good news is the shingles vaccine. Adults who have had shingles once can still get the shingles vaccine and this is the best way for adults to arm themselves from developing shingles for a second time.

Stages of the Disease

Shingles develops in three stages and they are all bad. The first stage has adults feeling like they have the flu, with aches and chills, nausea and diarrhea, and headaches, but no fever. The second stage is when the rash and blisters appears and the pain begins. The third stage involves healing, but many people, about 1 in 5 experience continued pain long after the blisters and rashes have healed. Those 1 in 5 who experience continued pain never lose their memory of their time with the shingles virus, so for them, the vaccine can offer a welcome reprieve.

Reactivates at the Roots

The shingles virus strikes when the dormant chicken pox virus reactivates and the roots of the nerves become infected with the virus. The shingles virus is called herpes zoster, but it is not the same as the sexually transmitted herpes. The chicken pox virus is contagious when it is in the chicken pox form, but once it becomes shingles, it is no longer contagious. Knowing this, there really is no other way to prevent getting shingles a first or second time other than getting the shingles vaccine.

Mature Adults

Shingles rarely happens in children, but is almost always seen in adults. The virus prefers to strike adults who are 50 years of age and older. The vaccine is recommended for the same age groups, too. There are some recommendations against the virus for those who have compromised or weakened immune systems. Because the vaccine contains the virus, it can be potentially dangerous for those who have recently completed a round of steroids or who are on chemotherapy treatments or who have some other reason for having a weak immune system.

Researchers are continually searching for ways to curb this horrible and painful disease. It is important for adults to learn about the disease so they can recognize the symptoms of the first stage. If adults 50 and over recognize the early symptoms, their doctors can put them on anti-viral and anti-biotic medication to help make the second stage less painful. They can also put adults on antidepressants because there seems to be a connection between stress and continued pain.

  1. Judy Bynnom
    Sep 28th, 2012 at 23:34 | #1

    can I get a tatoo over a shingles scar?

  2. maria perry
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 14:28 | #2

    I had shingles 3 years ago, mid torso, on one side, from front to back, the scabs looked like craters on the moon. I was so poorly and prayed every night for the pain to go. diagnosed too late for the anti viral. Doctor suggested my immune system was low and that was why i got the shingles so badly, not that the shingles gave me a low immune system as I thought. I am paranoid now if someone says they have shingles, I do not want to feel like that again. 3 years on I get the jumping nerves just where the rash started and ended, almost daily. I have been on Amitryptalin tabs 20mg per day all this time to repair the nerve endings. Sometimes the pain is jumpy and my skin hot and i lift my top expecting to see the shingles back but thankfully no. Hope this information may help somebody.

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