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Is shingles contagious?

If you have not had chickenpox before, you can catch it from someone with shingles. However, it is not possible to catch shingles itself from someone with the condition.

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

Shingles usually affects a specific area on either the left or right side of the body and does not cross over the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from between your eyes, down past the belly button). It causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters.

Most people will feel unwell for several days before the rash appears.

Your GP can diagnose shingles based on your symptoms and the appearance of the rash.

Read more information about shingles.

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