What Are the Causes of Shingles?

Q:
What are the causes of shingles?

A:
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who’s had chickenpox may develop shingles.

After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years.

There are some risk factors.

  • Being older than 50. The risk increases with age.
  • Having certain diseases. Diseases that weaken your immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, can increase your risk of shingles.
  • Undergoing cancer treatments. Radiation or chemotherapy can lower your resistance to diseases and may trigger shingles.
  • Taking certain medications. Drugs designed to prevent rejection of transplanted organs can increase your risk of shingles.

For more specific information, you may turn to your doctor.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.