Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you have had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue; years later it may reactivate as shingles. Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox, that person will develop chickenpox not shingles.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Fluid filled blisters
  • Itching

Some people may experience:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigue


A person with shingles can pass the varicella-zoster virus to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox. This occurs through direct contact with the open sores of the rash. If infected the person will develop chickenpox not shingles. The risk of transmission is extremely low if the rash is kept covered.

If you have shingles:

  • Keep the rash covered
  • Avoid scratching or touching the rash
  • Wash hands often
  • See your physician for anti-viral medication which can shorten the length and severity of the illness


A shingles vaccine is available to adults which can reduce the risk of developing shingles.

If you develop shingles or chickenpox, please notify the school nurse Lea Hysom at

More information about shingles is available on the CDC website.