If you are an adult who knows a little bit about health and wellness, then you may understand that there are a wide variety of skin disorders that can crop up and affect you. These diseases and disorders vary greatly in terms of their severity and their symptoms. One such disease is called shingles, and while many people understand that the illness is a serious one, some individuals believe certain misconceptions about the ailment. Keep reading to learn about a few so you know what you need to do and speak to your dermatologist about if the ailment is noted.
Myth - Shingles Is Contagious
One common myth is that shingles is contagious. This is not true since the disease is caused by the dormant varicella zoster virus. This virus is the same one that causes chicken pox and it does not leave the body after you develop the chicken pox infection. You likely know that you will only contract chicken pox once. The chicken pox virus can become active in the body years after your initial infection and this is called shingles. Since shingles forms from the dormant virus in your own body, the ailment cannot be "caught" from someone else.
While you cannot pass shingles on to another individual, you can spread the varicella zoster virus to someone who have never had chicken pox. This person can then develop the chicken pox infection. However, this is only possible if blisters are present on the body.
If you do develop shingles, then it is important to stay away from both children and adults who have never developed chicken pox. Keep in mind that shingles can last up to 5 weeks. Blisters develop about one week into the infection and this is when you need to be wary of spreading the virus to others.
Myth - You Cannot Get Shingles If You Have Not Had Chicken Pox
Many people think they are protected from shingles simply because they have never had chicken pox. Chicken pox has become far less common since the vaccine was invented in 1995. Now that children are provided with the vaccine at an early age, it may seem as though shingles may be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this is not true. The chicken pox virus does need to be inside the body for it to form shingles.
When you are given a chicken pox vaccine, a small amount of the virus does enter the body. Specifically, a small amount of the weakened virus is used to provide the vaccine. This weak virus will become dormant much like the stronger virus will. This means that you can develop shingles later on in life if you have never had chicken pox, but have had the vaccine.