Frequently Asked Questions

7. What are the risk factors for shingles?

The leading risk factor for shingles is a history of having had chickenpox. One out of every five people who have had chickenpox is likely to get shingles.

Another risk factor is aging. As we age, our natural immunity gradually loses its ability to protect against infection. The shingles virus can take advantage of this and become active again.

Conditions that weaken the immune system can also put people at risk for shingles. Shingles is especially dangerous for anyone who has had cancer, radiation treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, or a transplant operation. Our immune system gradually loses strength as we mature. After people reach 50, the body is not able to fight off infections as easily as it once did.