Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. The symptoms are a rash of reddish blisters accompanied by pain and itchiness. For most people, the rash and other symptoms subside with no complications or lingering symptoms. Can you get shingles more than once?

Because the pain from shingles can be intense, it’s not uncommon for the person to wonder if they will have to suffer with shingles more than once. When someone gets shingles, their immune systems become able to suppress the virus again.

The virus can become active again after the person has already had shingles. So, it is possible for a person to have shingles more than once. However, a person is not likely to have shingles again for a few decades after having shingles.

People who have weakened immune systems have an increased risk of having shingles more than once. A compromised immune system can cause the person to have persistent case of shingles that doesn’t go away.

In most cases, a person who had chickenpox will either not get shingles at all or get them only once. Approximately one-fourth of adults get shingles in their lifetime. Adults over the age of sixty are most commonly affected.

Complications of shingles are rare. One possible complication of shingles can cause the pain or itchiness to last long after the blisters have healed. Postherpetic neuralgia is pain from shingles that lasts at least one month after the end of the shingles.

This complication occurs in about ten to fifteen percent of people who get shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia is most common in people over the age of fifty. Some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and topical pain relievers are sometimes used to treat postherpetic neuralgia.

Adults over the age of sixty can get a vaccine for shingles called Zostavax. The vaccine does not prevent shingles in everyone but it reduces the severity of shingles in people who develop this condition after being vaccinated. The vaccine reduces the risk of complications like postherpetic neuralgia.

Another possible but rare complication of shingles is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome which can occur when shingles develops around the ear. This complication is caused by damage to the cranial nerves which causes weakness of the facial nerves. This shingles complication can sometimes cause deafness.

Shingles around the face near the eye can cause shingles complications that could lead to scarring of the eye. Shingles that affects the eye could potentially lead to loss of vision. If a person develops shingles near the eye, a physician should be consulted.

A skin infection is another of the possible complications of shingles. The skin infection can be treated with antibiotics. Signs of an infection include redness, tenderness, and warmth of the area. Any signs of complications require the assistance of a physician.