When it comes to shingles causes, there is basically only one factor that causes this condition. It is a virus belonging to the group of Herpes viruses. Many people have this virus in their bodies. Some of them used to have it in their childhood and it has remained inside the body for years. The virus is usually beaten by the immune system but it remains inside the body with no symptoms. The symptoms occur when the immune system is weak and cannot defend the body.
This condition is also called herpes zoster. It mostly develops in people who used to have chickenpox. It develops regardless to one’s age, but it is more common in older people (those over fifty years old). However, its latency still remains quite unexplained.
What is known is that the immune system plays an important role in suppressing this virus. So it is quite understandable why it occurs mostly in older people, since the immune system of an older man is considerably weaker than that of a younger person. That is why one should take good care of his/her immunity, meaning he/she should avoid stress and all other factors that can affect the immune system.
It is still unclear whether this condition is contagious or not. Skin to skin contact can be risky since the blister phase is the time during which it can be transmitted from person to person. A person that is infected does not immediately have the symptoms. So he/she can be quite unaware that there is a viral presence in the body. After some time the shingles can appear. When the shingles finally disappears, the person will stop being contagious to others.
It is important to mention that this virus is not the same virus that causes genital herpes or cold sores, although many people wrongly believe so. The rash may look similar to other rashes but the professional will be able to see the difference right away, so if you have any doubts you should certainly see a doctor.