What Is The Relationship Between Chickenpox And Shingles?


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Kath Senior answered
Both infections are caused by the same virus, called Varicella zoster, which is a type of herpes virus.

Chicken pox is an infectious disease, usually of childhood. It is a minor infection usually, causing blistered skin and general malaise for about two weeks before the body becomes immune to the virus. It is highly infectious and passes between children very quickly.

Once the virus is inside the body, it enters a latent stage once the chickenpox has subsided. The virus lies dormant inside the nerves that lead from the spinal cord to the skin. They may stay there for many years but then reactivate. This can be caused by trauma or stress but, as a result, the virus comes out of the end of the nerve and sets up and active infection in the skin again.

This is shingles. It is typified by a chickenpox like rash that is in one patch on one side of the body. It can be on the torso, or on the side of the face, or down one leg. It is extremely painful as the nerve endings become inflamed.

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