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Is shingles contagious?

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Posted on Mon, 4 Jul 2016
Question: I have the beginning stages of what appears to be shingles. A couple blisters...quite large. Is my 2 yr. old Grandson at risk if I babysit him? Should I be breaking the blisters to drain the fluid they contain?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Yes,he is at risk if you stay close to him;do not break blisters yourself

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

I have gone through your medical history carefully and understood your concern.

1. One person being at begging stage of shingles is contagious from the beginning of symptoms until the dry crust appear.

So you can transmit to your grandson if you stay too close or let him touch you especially the blisters.

2. I do not advise to break the blisters and let the fluid come out. This is because the fluid contains the virus, and it's highly contagious and can be spread easily the o other parts of your body.

Let them break and dry on their own.

3. Apart cortisone cream, antiviral should be started orally, and locally. You should your physician as need to take prescription first.

Take pain killers for the pain.

Wish fast recovery.
Dr.Albana
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Albana Sejdini (20 hours later)
If I do not take oral anti-viral drugs, will the shingles "not" go away? Are there other topical solutions that may be effective. My outbreak is on my chin, what is the possibility it will spread to other areas on my face....such as my eyes, mouth.

Lastly, this is my first experience with shingles. What is the likelihood of contin- uous occurences...what can I do to prevent it from happening again. Thank you so very much for your input!

Sincerely, XXXXXXX XXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Following answers to your questions

Detailed Answer:
Hi back XXXXXXX

1. The shingles will take longer to subside if you do not take antiviral. Usually, they are prescribed only in severe cases or in patients with weak immune system.

2. To minimize it's spread, I always advise my patients to wash their hands with warm water and soap each time they think to have touched the blisters.

If you do so, the shingles won't spread to other body parts.

3. Apart steroids, you can use topical antiviral cream along with oral antiviral med.

4. With regards to relapse in future, I want to say as following:
- shingles is caused by the virus of varicella-zoster, which causes chickenpox in childhood. Most likely you've got chickenpox when you was younger. After chickenpox is over, this virus becomes dormant at the end parts of body nerves.
For a specific reason, later in life, this virus wake up and cause outbreak ad in your case.
- possible triggering factors include: aging, stress or weaken immune system

Hope it answered to your questions.
Wish fast recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Albana Sejdini (2 days later)
Thank you for your previous response.

I did see a doctor locally, and because it has been 7-8 days since initial outbreak, they advised against an oral anti-viral at this point. The blisters are now scabbing over...they did give me a topical cream to promote healing and fight against any possible infection.

The last question I would like your opinion on is, " How effective would the Shingles vaccine be for me going forward, now that I have had a breakout"?

Thank you again, XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (28 hours later)
Brief Answer:
You can still take the vaccine but wait for at least 1year

Detailed Answer:
Hi back,

Sorry for the late reply due to my XXXXXXX clinical overload.

Usually, shingles vaccine is recommended for older aged as you although you had an outbreak.

You are still at risk to develop shingles again although your actual outbreak. To minimize the symptoms next time, it is recommended to get vaccinated. Because, when vaccinated, the extra antibodies will keep the virus dormant.

As you are having the outbreak at the moment, this will provide a natural immunity against shingles in future. So, you can schedule to get vaccinated after one year.

Wish fast recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Albana Sejdini

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 6882 Questions

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Is shingles contagious?

Brief Answer: Yes,he is at risk if you stay close to him;do not break blisters yourself Detailed Answer: Hi, I have gone through your medical history carefully and understood your concern. 1. One person being at begging stage of shingles is contagious from the beginning of symptoms until the dry crust appear. So you can transmit to your grandson if you stay too close or let him touch you especially the blisters. 2. I do not advise to break the blisters and let the fluid come out. This is because the fluid contains the virus, and it's highly contagious and can be spread easily the o other parts of your body. Let them break and dry on their own. 3. Apart cortisone cream, antiviral should be started orally, and locally. You should your physician as need to take prescription first. Take pain killers for the pain. Wish fast recovery. Dr.Albana