My sister was just diagnosed with shingles and I was wondering if shingles are contagious. I have asked different doctors and got different answers. I have heard if you haven't had chicken pox it is contagious to you. I had chicken pox when I was in my 20's but I got to my doctor within the first 24 hours of the outbreak and he gave me some medicine that caused me to not get a full outbreak of sores and so I got better faster, so I don't know if that means I could still get chicken pox. Please help.
Its not the actual shingles that are contagious but a certain part of the virus can be picked up in immunosuppressed people,and in people that have never actually had the chicken pox,but only in certain circumstances.
my youngest son is very immunosuppressed to prevent the rejection of his transplanted liver.if there is ANYONE around him,or even when he was still in school,who has the chicken pox or a shingles break out,we had to be immediately notified,just to check out the risk factors for him.i think there are still some unknowns regarding this to a certain extent and thats why you will get differing opinions from various medical professionals.
i know when my dad,who regularly will get a shingles outbreak like every other year or so,has to stay away from my son for just the period of time that the blisters are still weeping.once they scab over,the risk is gone.unlike actual chicken pox,which has a much longer contagious period and can be spread to someone who has never had it just by airborne means such as coughing.but if you have actually had chicken pox,and built immunity,you cannot actually get anything from just being exposed to someone who has an active shingles outbreak.
there is actually a specific test that can be done to check whats called a VZV titer.it will tell you whther or not you are actually immune to chicken pox or not.every pre transplant patient has to have this test done before they actually have any transplant just to see for sure whether or not they are immune as this can present problems down the road.
shingles and the chicken pox are both varients of the herpes virus,there are other ones too such as the actual herpes virus,cold sores,and the CMV virus.alot of people actually carry the CMV,or cytomegalovirus but your immune system keeps it in check.its when your immune system gets compromised like with HIV/AIDS,transplant patients and people who have suffered severe burns,it will come out and show itself.you can also get tested to see whther or not you actually carry the CMV virus too.its in a very high overall part of the population and most people never even know they actually carry it unless like i mentioned,your immune system gets compromised at some point.it just gets treated with IV anti viral meds.my son ended up having this occur shortly after his transplant.the thing was,they didn't know whther he actually had it before the transplant or if it came from the blood products he had been given or if it was actually in the donated liver itself.but he recovered from it just fine with the meds.
aim 4,just wanted to let you know,you didn't actually 'catch' shingles from someone if you actually had chicken pox yourself.you had it hiding out somewhere within your spinal column at the nerve level.depending on just where it actually showed itself would tell you exactly what level of the column it is hanging out in.you still have it,since it never goes away.it actually follows that specific nerve dermatome.once you have had chicken pox or shingles it is with you forever,it just does not always show itself in alot of people.FB