Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop shingles. Most adults in the United States had chickenpox when they were children, before the advent of the routine childhood vaccination that now protects against chickenpox.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing shingles include:
Sep. 01, 2011
- Age. Shingles is most common in people older than 50. The risk increases with age. Some experts estimate that half the people who live to the age of 85 will experience shingles at some point in their lives.
- Diseases. Diseases that weaken your immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, can increase your risk of shingles.
- Cancer treatments. Undergoing radiation or chemotherapy can lower your resistance to diseases and may trigger shingles.
- Medications. Drugs designed to prevent rejection of transplanted organs can increase your risk of shingles — as can prolonged use of steroids, such as prednisone.
- Shingles: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/detail_shingles.htm. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Shingles: Clinical overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/hcp/clinical-overview.html. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Habif TE. Herpes zoster. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Ferri FF. Herpes zoster. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Shingles vaccine: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-shingles.pdf. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Albrecht MA. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of varicella-zoster virus infection: Herpes zoster. http://uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Albrecht MA. Clinical manifestations of varicella-zoster virus infection: Herpes zoster. http://uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- FDA approves Zostavax vaccine to prevent shingles in individuals 50 to 59 years of age. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Zostavax (prescribing information). Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck & Co.; 2011. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/z/zostavax/zostavax_pi2.pdf. Accessed June 24, 2011.