Herpes and Shingles – Is there any connection?

Herpes and Shingles

Both herpes and shingles are known to be caused by viruses of the herpes family. This can lead to infections that are dormant in the initial stages but then get activated over a period of time subject to a stimulus. While the herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 are the reasons for oral and genital herpes respectively, the varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in children and Shingles in adults.

Herpes – Risk Factors

  • Engaging in any kind of sexual activity with a partner that had been involved with a person having herpes.
  • Being female – the herpes virus is known to affect twice the number of women as men.
  • Being sexually active from an early age and having multiple sex partners.
  • Having another active / dormant STD.

Shingles – Risk Factors

  • Age – over 50 percent of people with herpes are over the age of 60 years.
  • Being Caucasian and a female.
  • An inefficient immune system.

Symptoms common to both herpes and Shingles

People with herpes or Shingles witness a burning sensation or throbbing pain during the initial stages. This is also accompanied by fever, headache or other flu – like symptoms that usually vary from one person to another. Most people also observe tiny, raised and reddish bumps. These bumps then get filled with some fluid and turn to painful blisters, which is when you begin to experience an outbreak. The severity of the outbreak as well as its frequency varies from one person to another and there are innumerable parameters determining this.

Can changes in lifestyle help you deal with herpes and shingles?

The symptoms of both herpes and shingles are triggered by a few things. Avoiding these would diminish the frequency of outbreaks.

  • Minimize stress and depressive thoughts.
  • Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost your immune levels.
  • Cool baths and wet compresses reduce pain and relieve itching.


There is no cure to herpes. This means that once you’re infected with the virus, you have it forever. Here are a couple of ways that can help you deal with the infection:

  • Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir and val acyclovir that help in the case of herpes.
  • For Shingles, you may try topical capsaicin to treat prosthetic neuralgia.

A person that is already infected with either Herpes or Shingles is more likely to get infected with the other. It is worth mentioning that the outbreaks caused by these infections are usually associated with the strength of the immune system. If your immune system is able to counterbalance the affect of the viruses, you’d experience less severe symptoms.