woman looking at her face on the mirror

Can You Get Shingles More Than Once?

Shockingly, one in three people can get shingles twice. This can be for a variety of reasons including age and genetics. But don’t worry! The article below will explain everything you need to know about can you get shingles more than once.

Who are at risk of getting shingles more than once?

You’re more likely to get it again if:

  • If you have weakened immunity as a result of illnesses such as leukemia, lymphoma, or HIV medication usage, or if your immune system is suppressed.
  • You’ve had shingles for more than 30 days and are still in severe pain. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
  • You were age 50 or older when you had shingles the first time.
  • You are a woman.

How often does shingles reoccur?

If you’ve already had shingles, it’s unlikely you’ll get them again. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible; it’s just unlikely. Shingles can recur a second or, very rarely, a third time. But you may take measures to avoid or relieve the condition the next time around.

Why do some people get it twice, even thrice?

Shingles may show up more than once, even in otherwise healthy individuals. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also the virus that brings about chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a small, single-celled virus that infects the nerves. Once chickenpox symptoms have vanished, the virus remains in your body, dormant but kept under control by your immune system. It can re-emerge many years or decades later as shingles, which are a painful blistering rash that typically appears on the torso or side of the face.

It is characterized by a severe, burning pain that can persist for months. Other symptoms, such as a headache, fever, or tiredness, may be present. The initial symptoms generally last one to three weeks, although the dreaded complication is persistent agony in the same region (post-herpetic neuralgia).

Shingles is a painful, potentially dangerous condition that affects the skin and nerves of people over 50 years old. When you turn 50 years old, your risk increases rapidly. As a result, doctors advise individuals aged 50 and up to get vaccinated.

Shingles symptoms

Symptoms can include a rash of small, fluid-filled blisters that can itch and can be painful. The pain can range from dull to sharp or burning.

Shingles is usually confined to a single side of the body (left or right), but can affect two sides simultaneously in some people. It’s important for parents with children who have shingles on their face, neck, torso, groin or buttocks to seek medical attention immediately because if your child has chickenpox when they’re under 12 months old it could lead to severe complications for them later down the line. This is why it’s so vital you get vaccinated before turning 50 years old.

Other symptoms include:

  • upset stomach
  • headache
  • chills
  • fever

Find out more about how long shingles last.

How to prevent shingles from occurring more than once

The newest vaccine, Shingrix, is 90% effective in preventing the condition. You should be immunized even if you have previously been immunized with Zostavax or had shingles since it’s possible for it to return.

You can also take steps to avoid contracting the virus by practicing good hygiene. Make sure your hands are clean before you touch anything, especially things that have touched the ground or other objects.

Wash your clothes regularly and don’t share towels with others who may be ill. If someone in your house has shingles, prevent them from touching shared items like soap bars, toothbrushes, doorknobs, etc., so they can’t spread their infection to you through contact transmission of the virus on these surfaces.

Can I get shingles more than once in the same place?

Shingles is likely to appear in another region of your body. The rash is most prevalent on the torso or face, in general. So it’s possible that if you’ve had it on the right side of your stomach, it will return on the left – or anywhere else on your body, for that matter.

What if I already had it? Can I still get vaccinated?

If you’ve never had chickenpox or been immunized for it previously (as an adult), then there is no reason not to get the shingles vaccine if you are eligible. It is also recommended for those who have had shingles, as it can help reduce the likelihood of getting it again.

The shingles vaccine is a two-dose series, and both doses must be administered at least two months apart. If you’ve already had one dose of the shingles vaccine, you can still receive the second dose to increase its effectiveness. There is no maximum age limit for receiving the second dose of Shingrix; in fact, older adults are more likely to benefit from it.

Is the shingles vaccine Shingrix safe?

shingrix vaccine

Yes. The shingles vaccine is safe and can help prevent you from getting the condition again. It has been approved by the FDA and is recommended for adults 50 years old and up.

The shingles vaccine, Shingrix, was recently released to the public in 2017 and is a more effective alternative to Zostavax. Zostavax was only about 51% effective in preventing shingles. If you’ve had shingles before, it’s still important to get vaccinated with Shingrix as there is a 90% chance of it preventing the condition from occurring again.

Shingrix is also a two-dose series administered at least two months apart – unlike Zostavax which required just one dose.

If you’ve just recovered from shingles, the CDC advises waiting at least until the rash has gone.

Doctors advise against getting the vaccine if you:

  • are allergic
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have cancer
  • are undergoing chemotherapy treatments
  • have leukemia
  • are taking immunosuppressants

What are my chances of getting shingles?

If you have never had chickenpox or been immunized against it previously (as an adult), then there’s a one -time chance of getting shingles. The more likely you are to get it, the higher your chances can be reduced by receiving Shingrix two-dose vaccine series if you’re eligible for them.

What can I do about postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)?

There is no complete “cure” for PHN but medical treatment can help relieve its symptoms and shorten their duration. If possible, find a medication that treats multiple areas of pain simultaneously because some medications only treat one symptom or location of nerve damage at a time. You can also apply ice packs on the outside part of your body over the affected area to reduce swelling and in order to ease discomfort experienced .

There are also some over-the-counter medications that can help relieve pain and itching. However, if your PHN is severe or lasts for a long time, consult with your doctor to see if prescription medication may be necessary.


Scroll to Top