Can I swim in a pool or ocean without infecting anyone else if I have shingles?

Patient: If I have an outbreak of shingles – can I swim in a pool or ocean without infecting anyone else? My complex has a pool.

Doctor: Shingles (also called herpes zoster) is an infection of a nerve area caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Anyone who ha s had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 50. Shingles is contagious and one can contact chickenpox or shingles itself from anyone who has the disease. The shingles rash is contagious until all the blisters have scabbed and are dry. I would not advise you to go swimming until all the blisters have healed. You may consult your doctor for antiviral medication which may hasten the recovery. I hope the information helps, take care.


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