Is Shingles Contagious & How Long Does it Last?
Shingles is a common infection that many people suffer from. It is a condition that is caused by Varicella zoster virus. When you suffer from Shingles, you have a patch of blister around your torso, or sometimes in your face. You get shingles when you already have suffered from Chickenpox at least for once in your life.
Even after you have recovered from chickenpox, the Varicella zoster virus stays in the nerve tissue for the rest of your life, in an inactive state. It is only when the virus gets reactivated that Shingles develops.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Many people wonder, if Shingles is contagious or not. The condition is not contagious, however, the virus is. This means that you cannot get Shingles from an affected person. The condition doesn’t spread from one person to another. But, the virus that causes the condition can spread from one person to another.
As already mentioned, Shingles occurs to those, who have already suffered from chickenpox. Once you develop chicken pox, the body develops antibody against the Varicella zoster virus. That is why, people, who haven’t suffered from chickenpox ever, have a higher chance of getting affected by this virus.
When you come in close contact with a person with Shingles, through their oozing blisters, you get the virus. One thing that many people make mistakes about is that the virus spreads from crusty scabs, once the blisters have dried. Well-covered blisters cannot spread the virus. The virus only spreads from the fresh, oozing blisters. In fact, you cannot get Shingles from nasal secretions or saliva secretions and hence, is not contagious as such.
Only those who have suffered from chickenpox can get Shingles. Usually the Varicella zoster virus stays inactive throughout your lifetime. However, if you have a weak immunity, the virus will be reactivated. This is when you suffer from Shingles.
How Long Does Shingles Last?
A person develops patch of blisters in Shingles. It usually takes about 3 to 5 weeks to recover from Shingles. As the virus reactivates, the rashes start to appear on the skin within the first 5 days. From day 1 to day 5, rashes develop on the skin. There is a burning and tingling sensation on the skin.
It is only after 3 to 5 days that the rashes turn into blisters. They are filled with fluid. After about 10 days, the blisters start to dry up. Scabs develop as a crust on the blisters. It takes about a couple of weeks for the scabs to be completely removed from the skin.
Usually, Shingles occurs only once in a lifetime. However, there are chances that a person suffers from Shingles more than once in a lifetime.