What should I expect will happen to me if I get shingles?

Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and reduce the duration of your symptoms.

A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you never had shingles or had a bout of them in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If you’ve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

Is shingles dangerous or even fatal?

If shingles involves the eye, it can lead to blindness. In rare cases, shingles can lead to hearing problems, pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and even death.

When is it safe to return to work if I have shingles?

You can return to work when you feel well enough to return AND you are no longer contagious. This means that your blistered rash has dried up and scabbed over. This usually takes up to 10 days from the time the rash first appears.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy