Shingles is a viral infection that is caused by the varicella- zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Although not life-threatening shingles is a very painful rash.  Once you have had the chicken pox the virus sits inactive in the nerves near the brain and spinal cord. Years later the virus may become active again and present as shingles. If you have never been exposed to the chicken pox or the varicella virus then you will not have a shingles outbreak.

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