Collage of the faces of shingles

Shingles Doesn’t Play Favorites

Nearly all adults aged 50 years and older in the US are are infected with the virus that causes shingles.1 After chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.2

Shingles doesn’t play favorites. Anyone over the age of 50 – even if you’re a healthy, active person – may be at-risk. As a person ages, the immune system is impacted in such a way that the body is less capable of preventing the virus from re-activating and causing shingles.5

Vaccination will help reduce the risk of developing shingles and complications caused by the disease.3

Learn more by downloading the fact sheet here. Talk to your doctor about vaccination against shingles if you’re 50 or older.

Shingles Fast Facts

  • Approximately one in three people in the US will develop shingles in their lifetime.1
  • Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox.3
  • Shingles typically presents as a painful, itchy rash that develops on one side of the body and can last for two to four weeks.7
  • Even once the rash is gone, a person can experience postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), pain lasting from a few months up to several years, which occurs in 10 to 18 percent of all shingles cases.1

Meet Our Patient Ambassadors

These are individual experiences; other people’s experience with shingles may be different.

Play Shingles Video

Shingles Video

“Rightly or wrongly, I believed shingles to be an older person disease. I didn’t know anyone, in my age range that had shingles previously.
– Steve B., Dad, entrepreneur and former shingles patient

Steve B.'s Story
Alice L

“The disappointment that I knew nothing about this preventable disease hit me head-on only when I was personally dealing with the painful symptoms of shingles.”
– Alice L.
Journalist, musician, songwriter and former shingles patient

Alice L.'s story
Jon S

“Completed races, beat records, but the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with was my battle with shingles.”
– Jon S.
Rock music enthusiast, avid runner and former shingles patient

Jon S.'s Story
Caroline T

“While I had shingles, I joined a support group on Facebook to find ways to help manage the discomfort. I’ve learned that after reading about my experience on Facebook, six of my friends have been vaccinated.”
– Caroline T.
Mother, dental hygienist, humanitarian and former shingles patient

Caroline T.'s Story
Jackie S

“Shingles felt like fire ants inside my legs. This didn’t just impact me. My family had to step up and help manage our responsibilities”
– Jackie S.
Public Relations professional, activist and former shingles patient

Jackie S.'s Story

What You Need to Know About Shingles

What is shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox. 3

Who is at risk for shingles?

Shingles is not an old person’s disease. Adults as young as 50 years old are considered at-risk for shingles.

Approximately one in three people in the US will develop shingles in their lifetime.1 This risk increases to one in two for adults aged 85 years and older.4

Anyone 50 years or older – even if you’re a healthy, active person – may be at-risk for shingles.

Why are adults 50 years and older at higher risk for shingles?

As a person ages, the immune system is impacted in such a way that the body is less capable of preventing the virus from re-activating and causing shingles.5

What are the short- and long-term consequences of shingles?

Shingles pain can last 2 to 4 weeks7

Shingles typically presents as a painful, itchy rash that develops on one side of the body and can last for two to four weeks.6

Even once the rash is gone, a person can experience postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), pain lasting from at a few months up to several years.7 PHN is the most common complication of shingles, occurring in 10 to 18 percent of all shingles cases.1

Other complications of shingles include scarring, vision complications, secondary infection and nerve palsies.8

Are shingles and chickenpox the same illness?

Although shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus, they are not the same illness.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox.3 Chickenpox is usually a milder illness that affects children. Shingles results from a reactivation of the virus long after the chickenpox illness has disappeared.

Learn More About How to Help Prevent Shingles

Vaccination will help reduce the risk of developing shingles and complications caused by the disease.3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the vaccine, two to six months apart, to help prevent shingles and related complications.

If you’re 50 years of age or older, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the vaccine.

CDC. Vaccines and Preventable Diseases. Shingles Vaccination. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html

Infographics

Shingles Infogram one

Shingles Infogram one

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Shingles Infogram 2

Shingles Infogram 2

Shingles typically presents as a painful, itchy rash that develops on one side of the body and can last for two to four weeks.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Shingles infogram 3

Shingles infogram 3

Approximately one in three people in the US will develop shingles in their lifetime.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention