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What is the cause of shingles?

1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Joel Gallant
Internal Medicine - Infectious Disease

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Joel Gallant
Dr. Joel Gallant
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