Can You Get Shingles If You Haven’t Had Chickenpox?

Can’t You Get Shingles If You Haven’t Had Chickenpox?

The answer is, No. You can’t get shingles if you’ve never had chickenpox. They are similar diseases and it’s important to recognize the risk associated with them. Both shingles and chickenpox are traced to the same virus known as varicella-zoster virus (VZV) [1]. Chickenpox is the precursor to shingles. It’s a contagious rash that occurs mostly in young people.

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the same virus that caused chicken pox. Therefore you can only have it if you have been exposed to VZV earlier in life.

Chickenpox on the other hand doesn’t have to do with reactivation. The disease is more common amongst children and is transmitted very quickly through groups. Even so, it’s still a real risk for adults. Chickenpox is a highly infectious disease that can spread to about 90 percent of unvaccinated household contacts of a person who has it.

Your risk of getting shingles gets higher as you age. This outbreak is usually as a result of the reactivation of the previously dormant chickenpox virus. In this article, we will discuss the comparison between the two and who should get the shingles vaccine.