Pharmacy Corner
Shingles: Protect yourself Is the rash contagious?


You cannot directly give shingles to another person but you CAN spread the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles. If they get the virus they will first get chickenpox and then are at risk of getting shingles at a later time. The virus is found in the rash and you are contagious when you have blisters on your skin. You are not contagious before the blisters are on the skin and you are also not contagious once the blisters have fully crusted over.

NOTE: It is harder to spread shingles than chickenpox and the risk is relatively low if the rash is covered.

Here are some tips for preventing the spread of the rash:

  • Keep rash covered, especially when blisters are present
  • Wash hands often
  • Avoid touching or scratching the rash. This is also important as scratching can increase the risk of a skin infection
  • Do not share towels with anyone who has not had the chicken pox. Be careful when drying yourself, you want to just lightly pat dry.