Medical Q&As

Shingles - can it recur?

Can you catch shingles more than once?

I donít wish to sound pedantic but you donít really catch shingles. Shingles is a unique form of viral infection where the virus causing the infection has been lying dormant within the body from a previous episode of chicken pox. For example if you had chicken pox as a child the virus could remain dormant in your body for many years only to reactivate in adult life and the second time round the infection would manifest itself as shingles and not chicken pox. In other words the infection is reactivated within your own body and is not acquired from another shingles sufferer. Shingles usually occurs only once in the same person unless that person suffered from a serious disorder of the immune system in which case it could occur a number of times.