Shingles - Chickenpox ????

Updated on February 19, 2011
S.K. asks from Chicago, IL
10 answers

My dad has been diagonised with shingles. Before that, thinking it was some kind of a rash my mom touched it while applying anti-itch cream and powder couple times. We understand my dad was contagious , so is there a possibility(or for sure) my mom has gotten it from him already? She says she washed her hands after that and has been careful ever since he has been diagonised.
Also, she doesn't remember if she had chicken box as a girl or not. How long would it take for the symptoms to appear in case she has been affected. I am wondering if we can do anything right away since she has been exposed to this virus? TIA.

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answers from Minneapolis on

From WebMD: You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. But a person with a shingles rash can spread chickenpox to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine. After you have had chickenpox, you are not likely to get it again. The first symptoms of chickenpox often are a fever, a headache, and a sore throat. Teenagers, adults, pregnant women, and people with health problems need to see a doctor for chickenpox. People with long-term diseases or other health problems may need more treatment for chickenpox. They may need immunoglobulin treatment (IG) or antiviral medicine.

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answers from Miami on

I also contracted chicken pox as an adult from a friend of mine who had shingles at the time. I was 27 and I think she kissed my cheek good-bye...I got cp about 7-10 days later or something.

This does not mean your mom will get it, but if you have children who have not been vaccinated, I would make a decision if you want to expose them or not.

Hope this helps. J.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

They make a shingles vaccine now, that I think you can get at CVS or Walgreens. I don't think your mom will get it from contact, but at any rate, she should probably get vaccinated.



answers from Minneapolis on

We had this same situation with my parents. Mom did not remember ever having chicken pox and dad got shingles. We had mom go to the dr. and have a chicken pox titer drawn (blood test). She was found to have the antibodies already. Then upon talking to an older sibling she was told she had the chicken pox when she was about 3 years old. She did opt to have the shingles vaccine at the same time, not because you can catch shingles, but because shingles can develop in anyone who has had the chicken pox virus. You cannot catch shingles from someone with shingles.

As for my dad with the shingles, they put him on 7 days of Acyclovir to help get rid of them, or at least lessen the severity. We also did isolate him from going out into the general public until his sores were dried up. We did not want him to unknowingly expose someone who had not had chicken pox. Shingles can be very painful even after they have healed, my dad was lucky and only has minimal tingling and occasional tenderness on the side of his head where he had them.

So my advice is to have your mom get the blood test to put your mind at ease, if she's not immune they may treat her prophylactically with an antiviral such as Acyclovir.
Take care,


answers from Dallas on

I thought.......if it was shingles it is unlikely your Mom would get it. My husband had it when I was pregnant and I was fine, however I had had the chicken pox shot.

there is a blood test she can take to know whether she ever had chicken pox. then you can take an innoculation if you haven't... for future concerns



answers from St. Louis on

after reading the other answers, here's the shocker: YES, you can get chicken pox multiple times!! My 14y.o. son has had it twice....fully-confirmed by his doctor.......& we now believe we've missed two other times!

He had a full-blown case at age 4....& again at age 13. His 2nd round was after vacationing with my mom who finished out the trip with shingles. Incubation is up to 21, good luck!



answers from San Antonio on

You can catch chickenpox from the of my best friends in college caught chicken pox from his grandmother who had shingles. But shingles cannot be caught from shingles...although there can be group break outs.

She can have a blood test to see if she has had mom always told M. I never had them, so I got tested before I got pregnant. I have the antibodies, so I did have them.

I think a vaccine for chickenpox at this point would be too late because she has already been getting a flu shot the when you have already been exposed to the flu. It takes a while for the vaccine to build up an immunity to the illness.

Chicken pox can take up to 21 days to show up after exposure.



answers from Columbus on

I think the incubation time is something like ten days. Someone with s mild case, who has not developed full immunity van get them a second time. I have a daughter who gets shingles, as far as we know, she has never passed on chicken pox. My understanding is, that it is possible, but much harder to contract chicken pox from someone with shingles, unlike chicken pox themselves, which is highly contagious because of the way the body sheds the virus. To be safe, she should call her doctor to see if she could benefit from AntiVirus medications.




answers from Appleton on

Chicken Pox can take up to 14 days to show after exposure. You should be able to call a nurse at you Ped's office and ask questions. I would also look up info online. Chicken Pox in an adult can be a dangerous disease and not to be taken lightly. Chances are if she washed her hands right away and didn't touch her face, eyes, mouth or nose before washing her hands she should be okay. I believe most viruses are introduced through a mucus membrane and not through skin contact.



answers from Miami on

Incubation stage is about anywhere between 10-21 days. IF your mom never had chicken pox, it is very likely she will come down with chicken pox from the shingles. This is exactly how I caught chicken pox from my friend, whose husband had shingles. I was exposed to her from her exposure from her husband. It doesn't matter if she washed her hands well. She can still contract it. I didn't have any skin-to skin contact with my friend...we worked in the same office at the time so just being in the same room with each other is all it took. I honestly do not believe getting the vaccine would help her not get it. If the virus is already in her body and she never had, it is very likely she will get chicken pox. Hopefully she will be lucky and not get it but I can tell you that chicken pox as an adult is miserable. I had it when I was 25 years old.

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