Shingles Risk Factors

What are the risk factors that lead to this condition? Are you at risk of getting Shingles? Below you'll find information on each of the known risk factors for this condition.


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Shingles Risks

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop shingles with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing shingles. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

You can only get shingles if you already had chickenpox, and the dormant virus from your old chickenpox infection becomes reactivated. Since only 20% of people who have had chickenpox eventually develop shingles, researchers are still trying to determine what makes some people more likely to develop shingles than others.

Some of the factors that make people more likely to develop shingles include:

Stress and Fatigue

Excessive emotional and/or physical stress and extreme fatigue may increase your risk of developing shingles.

Medical Conditions

If you have a weakened immune system, you are much more likely to develop shingles. Conditions that increase your risk include:

Medications and Medical Treatments

Certain medical treatments can put you at risk for shingles:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunosuppressant drugs (for organ transplants, cancer, and autoimmune diseases) such as:
    • Chemotherapy treatments for cancer
    • Steroid medications
    • Cyclosporine
    • Azathioprine
    • Cyclophosphamide
    • Chlorambucil
    • Cladribine


People over age 60 are about three times more likely to develop shingles than younger people.

Ethnic Background

Caucasian population are four times more likely than African Americans to develop shingles.


Learn what Shingles is
What It Is
Learn the basics of this condition. Find out what you're dealing with.
Shingles Causes
What causes Shingles? Learn what the medical community has uncovered.
Shingles Risk Factors
Risk Factors
Are you at risk of getting Shingles? Inside you'll find known risk factors for the condition.
Shingles Diagnosis
How will your doctor diagnose you with this condition? Learn about the tests, process, and more.
Shingles Symptoms
What are the Shingles symptoms? Are you showing any? Learn more today.
Shingles Complications
Can this condition lead to other health problems? Learn more about the known complications.

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Screening for Shingles
Learn more about the specific tests or exams given by your doctor to screen for Shingles.
Shingles Medications
What medications offer relief or help with this condition? Are there side effects? Risks? Learn more.
Shingles Prevention
How can you prevent Shingles? Read what the medical community suggests for prevention methods.
Shingles Treatment
Can this condition be treated? What Shingles treatment options are available?
Shingles Care
Learn more about the day to day care of this condition. Changes to your activity, diet, exercise, and more.
Shingles Doctors
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Do you need to contact a doctor about Shingles? Select a location to find a specialist in your area.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO