Shingles is regarded as a complication that may occur in a person who has been infected by chickenpox at some point of his life. This article helps you understand if shingles is hereditary.
But before I reveal the answer, why not we know what shingles exactly is, and how is it caused. What happens is, after the varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox in a person, it goes into a state of dormancy; it hides in the nerve tissues near the spinal cord and the brain. So years later, with the help of certain triggers, the same virus reactivates, and causes the infection known as shingles. This infection usually occurs in the form of a band of blisters that envelops one side of the body, specifically the torso area. Shingles occur only in those people who have had chickenpox. Having said that, the virus, although can be transferred from an infected person to a healthy one, but it may cause chickenpox, and not shingles. So is shingles contagious? Technically no, it is not. The following tells you if shingles is hereditary or not.
To repeat what I have cited in the above, people can get shingles only after they have contracted chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. And it is not a necessity that everyone who has had chickenpox, would eventually contract shingles. People with low immunity are the ones that stay more vulnerable to be affected. Going by the maximum number of cases, shingles is not caused by hereditary factors. It is only transferable environmentally. However, there are exceptions to this fact. According to a certain medical organization, people with blood relatives who have had chickenpox or shingles, are likely to be at a higher risk to contract the infection. And this proposition was based on a study conducted on about a thousand people who have had shingles. A major lot of these people claimed that they have had at least one kin who had shingles at one point of time. Ergo, the subject of shingles being hereditary or not is a bag of mixed reviews; with majority of them favoring ‘No’, while some of them having ‘Yes’ as a conclusion.
Symptoms of Shingles
Pain, along with a burning or tingling sensation is the first symptom of shingles. A few days after the pain, a red rash occurs, then this signals that shingles is about to occur. The rash would proceed to form fluid-filled blisters that would break open and crust over. In some people, additional symptoms such as fever, chills, body ache, headache and fatigue may also occur.
Shingles generally do not require any treatment, as it self-resolves within a few weeks. However, if medications are taken when the infection has just started, it helps in speeding up the healing period, cuts chances of complications, and reduce the painful symptoms. Patients might be prescribed with antiviral drugs, which work best when administered early. Besides these, pain killers might also be advised to be used to reduce the pain and discomfort.
It is said that everyone, at one point of his/her life gets infected by chickenpox, and may have shingles later in life. There are two types of vaccinations available; one for reducing the chances to contract the chickenpox virus, and the other one to cut the chances of shingles. Although these vaccinations do not make you completely immune to these infections, they do push the chances towards zero.