How contagious is shingles, the virus that can develop from the same varicella virus that causes chickenpox? If you or someone you love has the condition, you might be very interested in knowing whether you can safely be around that person. Perhaps the concern involves the potential to spread it to other people. It’s important to note that the virus is indeed contagious. However, it isn’t quite as simple as avoiding being in the same room with someone who has it. If you’re curious to know more, keep reading. You might be surprised at how the disease is spread and how it presents in other people.
How Is Shingles Spread?
If you or someone close to you has the condition, the easiest way for it to be spread to another person is through direct contact with the rash itself. In fact, people who have an active rash are contagious until that rash has crusted over. Typically, this takes anywhere from a week to a week and a half. However, it’s also possible for the virus to be spread through droplets in the air. In other words, an infected person may cough or sneeze and spread infected droplets. This can even occur through regular speaking. If you’re in the room and come into contact with those infected droplets, you can then potentially develop a form of the condition yourself. That said, it’s not possible for one person who has this particular condition to cause another person to develop the same thing. In other words, you could potentially make someone sick, but they’re not going to come down with this specific virus in this particular form. If that sounds confusing, keep reading, and it will all start to make more sense.
The Disease Process
Remember, the same virus that causes people to develop this rash also causes chickenpox. Therefore, anyone who comes into direct contact with the rash or is infected by droplets may subsequently develop chickenpox. Does that mean that you can only potentially infect certain people? The answer is yes. Suppose you’re around someone who has already had chickenpox or has been vaccinated against the disease. In that case, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to transmit any disease to that particular individual. However, those who have not been vaccinated since childhood or have never had the disease are extremely susceptible to developing chickenpox, which could then turn into something more significant. By the same process, you cannot develop shingles yourself unless you have previously had chickenpox. In short, you cannot contract this particular disease unless you already had chickenpox. That’s because the varicella virus itself must first be present in your body. It always presents as chickenpox first.
It’s Crucial to Use Caution
Does that mean that you can throw caution to the wind if you’re around someone who has already had chickenpox? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You should still use caution and avoid direct contact with these individuals, especially if the particular individual in question has additional factors that could potentially affect their health. Examples include people who have a suppressed immune system, those who have or have had cancer or are undergoing chemotherapy, and anyone on immunosuppressant medications. Of course, you should never be around someone who is very old or very young when you have this condition as a precaution. The last thing you want to do is make someone else sick. This is a painful condition that can potentially cause significant complications in the right circumstances. Therefore, you want to do everything that you can to avoid causing any potential health risks for other individuals.
There are several potential complications involved. By and large, it depends where the rash is and how significant it is. Most people can fight the disease on their own or with a simple visit to the doctor. In some cases, people decide to use shingles cream to minimize the level of pain they feel. While there is no cream designed to cure the rash simply, a good shingles cream can make the disease far less uncomfortable than it might otherwise be. What is the best cream for such a thing? Most people find a soothing ointment is particularly effective, especially when the rash becomes quite painful and they’re looking for a way to relieve some of that discomfort. Aside from discomfort, other potential complications can be far more severe. A rash that involves the eyes can damage the eyes and cause permanent blindness if not appropriately addressed. In some extreme cases, the disease can even cause potentially fatal complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and sepsis. Encephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain, which ultimately causes it to swell. Sepsis involves bacteria in the bloodstream, which then has the potential to create a widespread infection. This, in turn, causes general organ failure. As you can see, this disease is not something to be taken lightly.
What Should You Do if You Have It?
What should you do if you’re diagnosed with this disease? For starters, limit your interaction with other people. You won’t always know who has a robust immune system or who has previously had chickenpox, so it’s best to limit your interaction with people while you’re under medical care for the disease. Please don’t allow anyone to come into direct contact with the rash until it has scabbed over, as previously mentioned. It would be best if you also refrained from being in close contact with other people because they could get sick from infected droplets. That means that you shouldn’t share food or beverages with other people. You mustn’t share bedding or clothing with anyone else if you’re infected. Depending on the health and medical history of those you live with, it may be necessary to isolate yourself until you’re no longer contagious completely. It’s also vitally important that you get medical help as quickly as possible to avoid any potential complications. Furthermore, you should use the best cream for shingles you can find. This can make you feel more comfortable while the disease runs its course. It may also help you if you have sensitive skin, as you may not have to worry as much about extreme discomfort or the itching or burning that could potentially continue after the fact.
There is nothing fun about being sick. This is especially true when you could potentially infect other people. While most people experience this particular disease without any significant complications, the potential is always there. That’s precisely why it’s so important to seek professional medical care quickly. It’s equally important to find the best cream for shingles you can find and engage in a good self-care routine that allows you to be as comfortable as possible while you’re recovering.