Shingles - How infectious?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Tartan_Terrier, Nov 17, 2008.

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  1. Just had a family visit which was unfortunately spoiled when my mother contracted shingles. I've heard that it isn't too infectious once the symptoms appear, but am unsure as to whether or not to trust to luck, or contact the doctor in advance.

    From what I hear the disease has an incubation period of three weeks or so, so at present I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

    Should I be stocking up on calomine lotion?

  2. All the answers here
  3. Shingles can be very serious if not diagnosed in time, but dont bother with the calamine it only gives relief for a few minutes then it start to keep the heat in use calamine powder lots better or better still hope you dont catch it .
  4. You cannot "contract" shingles. Shingles is the re-activation of a latent chicken pox virus (varicella virus). The fluid which exudes from the shingles lesions is laden with varicella virus and is therefore infectious but only to those people not immune to chicken pox. Previous infection with chicken pox infers life long immunity.
  5. mwl946

    mwl946 LE Good Egg (charities)

    You cannot catch shingles! Its caused when the virus from previous chicken pox lies dormant in the body for a number of years only to resurface in the form of shingles.

    You CAN however catch chicken pox from someone who has shingles, so only need to worry if you havent had chicken pox.

    Shingles is capable of passing on the chickenpox virus whilst the vesicles (blisters) are moist and open. Once they have crusted over, the infection risk is minimal.

    Calamine lotion works well if applied (copiously) with a soft, one inch paint brush! Hope this helps

    ** Above speaks the voice of experience having caugh chickenpox from a patient with shingles when i was 30 - not to be recommended!!
  6. mwl946

    mwl946 LE Good Egg (charities)

    OOPS too slow :oops: :oops:
  7. Ah well, at least I'm safe then, but it looks like my two youngest may be unlucky!
  8. I had shingles for the first time about 4 years ago and it comes back every so often. It's a mild form of herpes but NOT an STD! It's a virus of the skin which is an organ and because it covers the whole body it can 'flare up' anywhere.

    The first occasion was very painful, I couldn't sleep properly. The only pain relief was laying (asleep if need be) in a very hot bath. I was off work for a few days.

    Now it comes back mainly in the skull area, sides and wrists and then it's nothing more than an irritation similar feeling to a friction burn. Apparently stress bring s it on though I can't confirm this.
  9. acl

    acl Old-Salt

    All the above is correct. Mom had chicken pox 20 years ago and a year ago she started to develop shingles. It's horrible. Go to your GP and find out whether you've had it already or not.

    I can't remember if I had it when young but I didn't get it when my mom had shingles so I suppose some people can be immune.
  10. It depends on where your mum had the shingles rash and if your children had direct contact with the rash and/or the exudate. For example a rash on the face or other exposed area may spread the virus more easily than if it were on a non-exposed area e.g the back. The rash is infectious until all the lesions are dried and crusted over.

    Incubation period for chicken pox is 10 to 21 days from exposure with the average being 13 days. Chicken pox is infectious for about 24 hours before the rash appears until all the lesions have crusted over which takes about 5 days.

    In short there's sod all you can do now apart from watch and wait. Very often chicken pox rash is preceded by a short (1 to 2 day) period of cold/flu like symptoms (called a viral prodrome).