share
By using this site you are agreeing that we can use cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Information placed on this digital platform is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your Healthcare Professional
Close

Shingles is a viral disease that affects the nerves & surrounding skin which is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus

95% of adults have had chickenpox and are therefore at risk of developing shingles. The virus that causes chickenpox never leaves the body and can reoccur as Shingles later in life.

If you have concerns about shingles, or would like more information, click on the various links on this website or speak to your GP, Practice Nurse, or other Healthcare Professional

SCROLL DOWN TO LEARN ABOUT Shingles

05/14 IR00226
05/14 IR00226a

3 burning questions about shingles

  • The Virus
  • The Cause
  • The Symptoms
  • What is shingles?

    Shingles (also know as herpes zoster) is a viral disease affecting nerves and surrounding skin. It is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox.

    Once you have had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in your nervous system. It can reactivate later in life and cause shingles.

    95% of adults have had chickenpox. If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you could be at risk of developing shingles. Shingles tends to occur more frequently in people over the age of 50.

    The Rash
    painful rash, usually affecting one side of the body, most often on the upper body
  • The cause of shingles

    After chickenpox, the virus is not eliminated from your body but remains in the nervous system in a dormant (inactive) state.

    It is not fully known what causes the virus to reactivate, but this often occurs many years after the original chickenpox infection.

    Up to 95% of adults have had chickenpox. They have the virus that causes shingles inside them and may develop the disease. Shingles tends to occur more often in older people due to natural age-related weakening of the immune system.

  • The symptoms of shingles

    The symptoms of shingles can range from mild to severe and can be very unpleasant for some.

    Shingles is a viral disease of the nerves and skin. It is characterised by a painful rash, usually affecting one side of the body, often on the trunk, but shingles can also develop on the head and neck, or around the eye.

    Shingles can often start with a headache, fever, and tiredness, and you are likely to feel unwell. It's very common to feel a tingling or burning pain in the area of the skin where the rash later appears. In a small proportion of people this pain may become quite severe.

    Within a few days or weeks, this area of pain will start to develop a red rash, which will turn into fluid-filled blisters. A few days after appearing, the blisters dry out and scabs form where the blisters have been. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for the rash to heal completely.

    Most people recover but some people may experience long-term nerve pain that can remain for many months, or for a few people, even years. Like shingles itself, the risk of nerve damage and developing long lasting nerve pain increases as you get older.

05/14 IR00226d

Pain and complications

Most people do not have any long-term effects, but for some people shingles can cause complications. The long-term nerve pain that some people experience after the shingles rash has healed, is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN is the most frequent complication of shingles. This can be a severe, unpleasant, long-term nerve pain that is often described as burning, stabbing or throbbing. This can last weeks, months or for a few people, even years.

For some people even a slight breeze against the skin can be painful and distressing. PHN can affect quality of life and the majority of sufferers say they have less enjoyment of life and find their sleep, work and social life disrupted. The older you are, the more likely you are to have long-lasting nerve pain.

Sometimes shingles can develop in the eye and/or affect the skin of the eyelid. This can cause severe pain and lead to decreased vision or, rarely, permanent blindness in the affected eye.

Shingles can also lead to other complications like scarring, skin infections or, rarely, hearing loss.

05/14 IR00226c

Shingles rash

Shingles is characterised by a painful rash, usually affecting one side of the body, most often on the trunk or torso, but shingles can also develop on the head and neck, or around the eye.

The rash develops into painful, fluid-filled blisters, which burst, dry out and form scabs where the blisters have been.

In 10-20% of cases, shingles affects the eye, which can lead to worsened vision or even blindness in the affected eye. Shingles can lead to other complications like scarring, skin infections or, rarely, hearing loss.

Shingles Rash Back Shingles Rash Back Shingles Rash Chest Shingles Rash Side Shingles Rash Side Shingles Rash Eye Shingles Rash Neck Shingles Rash Blisters Shingles Rash
Back Back II Chest Side I Side II Eye Neck Blisters

there are treatments available for shingles

there are treatments available for shingles The severity of shingles varies from person to person and some people will require treatment to help ease the symptoms of shingles. There is no cure for shingles, but treatment can help ease your symptoms.

If you think you've developed shingles, see your GP as soon as possible. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms. Your GP may prescribe pain relief medication and/or antiviral medication.

For further info about Shingles and treatment advice, you can visit the HSE website

HSE Shingles Info*

*By clicking this link you will leave this website

05/14 IR00226b
05/14 IR00226e

How likely am I to get shingles?

Shingles Risk Dail Shingles Risk Hand Shingles Risk dail glass

There is a 1 in 4 chance you could develop shingles at some point in your lifetime.1

It is not fully understood why the shingles virus reactivates in some people and not others, but it is thought to be due to a lower immune system.

The immune system weakens with age, and so the chance of developing shingles increases as we get older. 2 out of 3 shingles cases occur in people over 50 years of age, and it also tends to be more severe in people over 50 years of age. 2

Shingles Risk

* This calculator is for general information purposes only and is NOT a diagnostic tool. If you have concerns about shingles, speak with a Healthcare Professional.

05/14 IR00226f

myths and facts about shingles

You can catch shingles from someone with chickenpox

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus within your body, so you cannot catch shingles from anyone else. However, if someone has not had chickenpox they may catch it from someone who has shingles.

Shingles only affects old or ill people
Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. The chances of developing shingles are very low before the age of 50, although young and otherwise healthy people do sometimes develop shingles. The immune system weakens with age and so the chance of developing shingles increases as we get older.
I can’t get shingles because I can’t remember having chickenpox
If you have definitely never had chickenpox you can’t develop shingles. However, some people don’t know whether or not they had chickenpox as a child, because the infection may have been so mild it didn’t cause any obvious symptoms. You can still develop shingles even if you have only had a very mild case of chickenpox.
I’ve already had shingles so I can’t get it again
Unfortunately, some people can suffer from more than one episode of shingles, so if you've had Shingles before, it's still important to talk to your healthcare professional about your risk of getting it again.

You can catch shingles from someone with chickenpox

Shingles only affects old or ill people

I can’t get shingles because I can’t remember having chickenpox

I’ve already had shingles so I can’t get it again

Shingles Facts

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus within your body, so you cannot catch shingles from anyone else. However, if someone has not had chickenpox they may catch it from someone who has shingles.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. The chances of developing shingles are very low before the age of 50, although young and otherwise healthy people do sometimes develop shingles. The immune system weakens with age and so the chance of developing shingles increases as we get older.

If you have definitely never had chickenpox you can’t develop shingles. However, some people don’t know whether or not they had chickenpox as a child, because the infection may have been so mild it didn’t cause any obvious symptoms. You can still develop shingles even if you have only had a very mild case of chickenpox.

Unfortunately, some people can suffer from more than one episode of shingles, so if you've had Shingles before, it's still important to talk to your healthcare professional about your risk of getting it again.

Patient Information Leaflet

Click here to download the leaflet '10 burning questions about shingles'.

Shingles Burning Questions

Patient Poster

Click here to download a copy of a poster with information about shingles.

Shingles Poster

More Information

Speak with your GP, Practice Nurse or other Healthcare Professional for more information on Shingles.

For further info about Shingles and treatment advice, you can visit the HSE website

Brought to you by

Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Learn More About Shingles

If you would like to know more about shingles, its causes and symptoms, as well as a guide to sorting facts from myths, please click below to download the information booklet, '10 burning questions about shingles' for further information.

x

Cookie Policy

This privacy policy sets out how Sanofi Pasteur MSD uses and protects any information that you give Sanofi Pasteur MSD when you use this website. Sanofi Pasteur MSD is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement. Sanofi Pasteur MSD may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

We may collect the following information:

- Unobtrusive cookies

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

05/14 IR00226g
x

Terms & Conditions


Internet Privacy Policy


Introduction
Sanofi Pasteur MSD Ltd ('SPMSD') recognises the importance of respecting the privacy of our online visitors and ensuring the information we may collect from our online visitors is protected. It is our intention to balance our legitimate business interests in collecting and using information received from and about you with your reasonable expectations of privacy. The following is the way we handle information obtained about you from your visit to our website. We encourage you to read this privacy policy before using this website or submitting your personal data to us. If you do not read or if you disagree with any aspect of the privacy policy, you should not use this website or submit your personal data to us. By using this website and/or submitting your personal data to us, you are agreeing and you are signifying your agreement to be bound by this privacy policy. SPMSD reserves the right in its sole discretion to amend this privacy policy at any time and you should regularly check this privacy policy for such amendments.

Links to other websites
As a resource to our visitors, SPMSD provides links to other websites. We try to choose websites which we believe are useful and meet our high standards. However other websites are not under the control of SPMSD and we cannot guarantee the standards of every website link we provide or be responsible for the content, operation or practices of non-SPMSD websites. We are providing links to other websites for convenience only and the inclusion of non-SPMSD websites is not an endorsement by us in favour of any company, products or services. The privacy policies and procedures we have described here do not apply to those linked websites.

Security
You should also be aware that there are inherent risks in data transmissions over the internet and we cannot ensure or warrant the security of the Personal Data you transmit to us and you transfer your Personal Data at your own risk. Although the internet is an inherently insecure medium, wherever your personal data is held within SPMSD we intend to take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect the personal data that you share with us from unauthorised access or disclosure and to keep your personal data confidential.

Disclaimer
SPMSD, its directors, employees, servants and agents, affiliates or other representatives and their respective parent and subsidiary companies shall not be liable in respect of any claims, emergencies, demands, causes of action, damages, losses, expenses including without limitation, reasonable attorney fees and costs of proceedings arising out of or in connection with the use and/or dissemination of personal information relating to you in accordance with this privacy statement and your consent.

Children
We do not specifically or knowingly collect information about children. If you are under the age of eighteen, you should not use this website or submit any personal data to us unless your parent or guardian is aware of and has approved your use of this website.

Changes
Any changes to this privacy policy will be communicated promptly on this page so please check back periodically and read this privacy policy every time you use the website. Your continued use of this website following changes shall mean that you have accepted these changes.

Your consent
By using this website, you consent to the terms of our Internet Privacy Policy and to SPMSD processing personal data for the purposes given above. Should the Internet Privacy Policy change, we intend to take every reasonable step to ensure that these changes are brought to your attention by posting all changes prominently on our website for a reasonable period of time.


Legal Notices


Introduction
Sanofi Pasteur MSD Ltd ('SPMSD') maintains this website. Although others may access this website the materials and information contained are directed solely at and are for use solely by those resident in Ireland and over the age of 18. It has been developed as a service to all visitors to the website in order to provide information and education about diseases and vaccination.

SPMSD is dedicated to supplying a comprehensive range of vaccines to meet the health needs of all the population. It provides prescription medicines for use by Irish healthcare professionals. These product licences are granted by the Irish Medicines Board (‘IMB’).

Use of the website
Your use of this website is subject to these terms of use and our Internet Privacy Policy which you can access by clicking here. By using this website you consent to these terms. If you do not consent then you may not use this website.

We may change this website or these terms of use at any time by posting notice of the changes on this website. If you use the website after we have posted the changes you will be bound by the new terms of use. You should therefore ensure that you read the terms of use each time you use the website.

Information on website
The information contained in this website is provided for non-commercial, information purposes only and is not intended to amend, supplement or replace a consultation with, treatment or diagnosis by a healthcare professional. Nothing on this website should be construed as the giving of advice or the making of a recommendation; and the website should not be relied upon as the basis for any decision or action. Any decision on the appropriateness of the prescription or administration of any vaccine or any other healthcare product must be made by a responsible healthcare professional using their own professional skill and judgement and after consulting the appropriate Summary of Product Characteristics, a careful risk assessment, and with the patient's informed consent.

In addition, nothing presented on this website is intended to provide instructions on the use of the products listed. For specific instructions please refer to the directions for use supplied with these products.

This website may contain information about products which may not be available in any particular country, or which may be available under different trade marks, and where applicable, may be approved or cleared by a government regulatory body for sale or use with different indications and restrictions in different countries.

Nothing contained on this website is a promotion for any product or for the use of any product in a particular way which is not authorised by law and any applicable regulations or code of practice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information on this website is complete, accurate and up to date, SPMSD cannot guarantee this.

To the extent permissible by applicable law, SPMSD makes no warranties or representations, whether express or implied (including but not limited to the implied warranties as to fitness for a particular purpose or satisfactory quality) and assumes no liability or responsibility as to the website's accuracy, validity, usefulness, completeness, reliability or correctness, or that the website will be available at any particular time or location, that any defects or errors will be corrected or that the content is free from viruses. All users agree that access and use of this website is at their own risk.

Liability
To the maximum extent permitted by law, in no event shall SPMSD, nor any of its officers, directors, employees, affiliates, group companies or any sub-contractors or other representatives be liable for any loss or damages arising out of or in connection with your use of the website or transactions entered into through or from the website including, any special, incidental, direct, indirect or consequential damages, including damages for loss of revenue, loss of anticipated savings or loss of data, loss of income, profit or opportunity, exemplary or punitive damages whether in contract, tort or otherwise, even if the possibility of such damages had been advised, or such loss or damages were reasonably foreseeable. These exclusions and limitations of liability shall not apply to liability arising from death or personal injury caused by SPMSD's negligence or from SPMSD's fraudulent mis-representations. SPMSD shall not be responsible for any breach of these terms of use resulting from circumstances beyond its control. If you are a consumer these limitations of liability shall not affect your statutory rights.

SPMSD may change or alter the content of this website in any way at any time for any reason without prior notification and will not be liable in anyway for possible consequences of such changes.

Indemnity
As a user of the website, you agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless SPMSD, its officers, directors, employees, agents, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers and any other third party information service providers from and against all claims, demands, losses, expenses, damages and costs, including legal costs, howsoever resulting from any violation or breach by you of these terms of use.

No Unlawful or Prohibited Use of the Website
As a condition of your use of this website, you agree that you will not use the website for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these terms of use. You shall not use this website in any way which could cause damage, disable, overburden, or impair the functionality or content of the website, or which would interfere with a third party's use of the website. You also agree that you will not upload or transmit any communications or content of any kind which would infringe the rights of any third party.

Trademarks and Copyright
The trademarks, logos and service marks information, scripting, photographs, text, video, graphics, music, sounds, images, buttons, trade names and other materials and services reproduced on this website are owned or have been obtained under licence agreement by SPMSD. Whilst you are free to browse this website and to download material therefrom, the reproduction, retransmission, modification or use of the contents of this website for purposes other than personal or non-commercial use are prohibited without SPMSD's express prior written consent. All copyright and other propriety notices contained in downloaded materials must be preserved and retained.

Links to third party websites
This website may be connected by means of hypertext links to or from other websites which are not under the control or ownership of SPMSD. The fact that SPMSD provides a link to a third party website does not mean SPMSD endorses, authorises or sponsors that website. SPMSD reserves the right at any time to terminate a link to a third party website. Your use of third party websites is subject to the terms and conditions of use contained within each of those websites. Access to any third party website through this website is at your own risk. SPMSD shall have no responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy of any information, data, opinions, statements made on any third party website or the security of any link or communication with the website.

Law and Jurisdiction
These terms of use shall be governed by Irish law and any disputes shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish courts. Nothing in these terms shall detract from our right to comply with governmental, court or law enforcement or other legal requests or requirements relating to your use of this website or information provided to or gathered by us with respect to such use.

Termination
SPMSD reserves the right to terminate your access to the website at any time and for any reason.

Waiver
If you breach these terms of use and SPMSD ignores such a breach, SPMSD will still be entitled to use its rights and remedies in that or any other situation where you breach the terms of use.

Entire Agreement and Severability
Unless otherwise specified by SPMSD, these terms of use (which incorporate our Internet Privacy Policy) make up the entire agreement between you and SPMSD and supersede any prior agreement, whether oral or in writing, between us. If any part of these terms of use are held to be invalid or unenforceable, that portion shall be severed from these terms and the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect.

05/14 IR000226h

x

What is Post-herpetic Neuralgia (PHN)

Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) can be a severe, unpleasant long term nerve pain. It is often described as burning, stabbing or throbbing, even a slight breeze against the skin can be painful and distressing.

Chronic nerve pain can affect quality of life. The majority of sufferers find their sleep, work and social life disrupted.

For some this nerve pain can last weeks, months or for a few people even years. Like shingles itself, the risk of developing long- lasting nerve pain increases as you get older.

x

About Sanofi Pasteur MSD

The desire to remain in good health connects us all. At Sanofi Pasteur MSD, we believe that vaccination is a way to move Europe forward towards a future where people can stay ahead of disease. Vaccines are our passion because we know that they are the key to a world in better health.

We are dedicated to individual and public health and we stand for equal access to vaccines for all. In developing vaccines across Europe, we are committed to being a trusted partner to policy makers, authorities, experts, healthcare professionals and those using our vaccines. We strive to understand the needs and expectations of all of our stakeholders, and our actions are driven by the common goals we share.

05/14 IR00226i
x