COVID-19 and shingles are both viral infections. Though COVID-19 does not cause shingles, there may be a link between the two conditions.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease that a person can develop if they acquire the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Evidence suggests that people with a weakened immune system are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of this infection.

Shingles is a common viral infection that a person can develop if the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivates. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles causes a painful rash that typically appears on one side of the face or body. The rash causes blisters that typically scab over in 7–10 days and clear up within 2–4 weeks.

In this article, we will explain the links between COVID-19 and shingles. It also discusses the causes and risk factors for both conditions and outlines possible treatments.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on COVID-19.

Shingles occurs due to a different virus from COVID-19. This means COVID-19 does not directly cause shingles. However, there may be some links between COVID-19 and shingles.

A 2022 retrospective study compared 394,677 people over the age of 50 years who had contracted COVID-19 with those who had not yet had COVID-19. The study found that a COVID-19 diagnosis in people over 50 years old was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing shingles.

The study found that people aged 50 years or older with COVID-19 had a 15% higher risk of developing shingles than those without COVID-19.

If a person has had chickenpox, they can develop shingles later in life. This is because the VZV remains dormant in their body and can reactivate later, causing shingles.

A person’s immune system prevents shingles from developing by continually tackling the VZV. Maintaining sufficient levels of VZV-specific T-cell immunity is important for suppressing shingles.

The study states that an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can result in T-cell immune dysfunction, which may trigger the latent VZV reactivation, causing shingles.

More research is necessary to determine whether there is a link between COVID-19 and shingles.