Chickenpox and shingles are two illnesses caused by the varicella-zoster virus.
Chickenpox most commonly occurs in children and usually causes mild symptoms like:
- blistering rash
In the 1990s, an average of
After a chickenpox infection, the virus remains dormant in your body. Shingles occur when the virus becomes reactivated.
Shingles can cause similar symptoms as chickenpox. But a shingles rash usually appears as a cluster of blisters on one side of your body rather than showing up all over.
Keep reading as we take a deeper look at the differences between chickenpox and shingles.
Chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virus, but they develop in different ways.
Chickenpox is highly contagious and can easily be passed between people. The varicella-zoster virus is found worldwide and can be spread through sneezing or coughing.
You can also develop chickenpox after coming into contact with the fluid in the blisters of a person who has shingles.
It can take about
After developing chickenpox, the virus can remain undetected in your spinal nerve roots or near where your spinal cord attaches to your skull.
The virus can remain in your nervous system indefinitely without causing symptoms, but in about
You can’t catch shingles from another person. It’s only possible to develop shingles if you’ve already had chickenpox.
It’s possible for somebody who has never had chickenpox to develop chickenpox after coming into contact with the fluid in your shingles rash.
Chickenpox and shingles produce similar symptoms. Here’s a look at how they compare.
Chickenpox bumps usually appear about 2 days after other symptoms. They become fluid-filled blisters before eventually scabbing over and falling off.
A shingles rash often contains red patches and fluid-filled blisters. It commonly wraps around one side of your torso, but may also occur on your face or other parts of your body. Before the rash appears, you might feel itching, tingling, burning, or pain.
Here’s a look at how a shingles rash and chickenpox rash compares.
Chickenpox is most common in children. In the United States, children
Receiving a chickenpox vaccine significantly decreases the likelihood of developing it. Vaccines are roughly
Shingles most commonly develop in adults
Chickenpox is highly contagious and can easily be transmitted to people who haven’t had chickenpox or haven’t been vaccinated. It’s still possible to get chickenpox if you’ve been vaccinated, but it’s less likely.
Shingles can’t be passed between people, and it only occurs in people who’ve previously had chickenpox. But if a person who hasn’t been exposed to the virus touches the fluid in your rash, they can develop chickenpox. Covering your rash can help prevent passing it to others.
Can you get shingles if you’ve never had chickenpox?
You can only get shingles if you’ve previously had chickenpox. After a chickenpox infection, the virus stays in your nervous system. If the virus becomes reactive again, it leads to shingles. The first time you’re infected with the virus it leads to chickenpox.
Vaccines are now widely available to protect against chickenpox and shingles. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent both before they develop.
The varicella vaccine was introduced in 1995, and has significantly decreased the number of cases of chickenpox. It prevents
The CDC also recommends that people over the age of 13 who’ve never had chickenpox or a vaccine get two doses at least 28 days apart.
There are two types of vaccines licensed in the United States:
- protects from chickenpox
- can be used for children over 12 months and adults
- can be given to children for their first two doses
- protects from chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella
- approved for children ages 12 months to 12 years
The CDC recommends that healthy adults
Shingrix is more than
Chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virus, but they’re separate conditions. Chickenpox typically develops in children and causes red or pink spots across your body that blister over. It’s highly contagious, and can easily be passed between people.
Shingles can only develop after you’ve already had chickenpox. It causes a rash that most commonly occurs on one side of your torso. Unlike chickenpox, shingles is most common in people over the age of 60.