What is the cause of shingles?

Zoster reactivation. Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by reactivation of varicella zoster, the chickenpox virus, which lives in your nerve cells. It's painful, but if you have a healthy immune system it will get better on its own, and faster if you take anti-herpes drugs quickly. The main complication is post-herpetic neuralgia, chronic pain in the area of the lesions, which is more likely to occur in older people.

Related Questions

What is the cause for shingles to break out for a 31 year old?

Unknowable. This is often unknown unless you have an underlying medication condition or immune weakness. It is often seen in those under significant stress or anxiety. Read more...

What are the causes of shingles and how can I prevent it?

Varicella. Shingles is basically re-activated chicken pox virus. When we have chicken pox the virus will "retreat" and become dormant in nerve roots. In some patients it can reactivate later in life causing the painful rash along the path of certain nerves. There is a vaccination for shingles that can significantly reduce the chances of someone having shingles (aka herpes zoster). Read more...

What would cause this shingles rash if you are obviously immune to chicken pox because you babysat kids with it last month?

Shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, a type of herpes virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in your nerve roots and remains inactive until, in some people, it flares up again. When the virus becomes active again, you get shingles instead of chickenpox. Read more...