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I’m Pregnant and My Husband Has Shingles

Pregnancy can be a joyful but challenging time, and it may be even more stressful when your spouse is dealing with a health issue such as shingles. In this post, we’re addressing the concerns that arise when you’re pregnant and your husband has shingles. We’ll guide you through the facts, risks, and ways to protect yourself and your unborn child.

Understanding Shingles and Pregnancy

What Are Shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, the virus can reactivate and cause shingles.

Can I Catch Shingles from My Husband?

You cannot directly catch shingles from someone else. Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus within the person’s body. However, you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine.

Protecting Yourself and Your Baby

What Happens If I Have Never Had Chickenpox or the Vaccine?

If you’re pregnant and haven’t had chickenpox or the vaccine, you should avoid contact with people with shingles or chickenpox. Chickenpox during pregnancy can lead to complications for both mother and baby.

What Should I Do If My Husband Has Shingles?

If your husband has shingles, you should avoid direct contact with the rash until it heals and forms scabs. This is when it is no longer contagious. If you’re unsure about your immunity to chickenpox, discuss this with your healthcare provider.

What If I Contract Chickenpox While Pregnant?

Chickenpox during pregnancy can lead to complications, including pneumonia or an increased risk of premature birth. If you suspect you have chickenpox, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They may recommend antiviral medications to lessen the severity of the disease.

What happens if a pregnant woman is exposed to shingles?

The Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), responsible for shingles, can cause complications during pregnancy if the mother has not previously had chickenpox or been vaccinated for it. This is because a primary VZV infection in a pregnant woman could potentially lead to chickenpox, which can have adverse effects on the fetus, particularly in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Shingles exposure in early pregnancy: what are the risks?

Shingles itself cannot cause congenital disabilities, but the primary infection (chickenpox) in a pregnant woman who’s never had it can potentially lead to birth defects.

Can shingles cause miscarriage?

There’s no direct link between shingles and miscarriage. However, severe illness due to chickenpox (caused by the same virus as shingles) in early pregnancy could potentially increase the risk of miscarriage.

Protecting Yourself During Pregnancy

Why can’t pregnant people take care of people with shingles?

If a pregnant woman who has never had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine is exposed to someone with active shingles, she could potentially develop chickenpox, posing risks to her and her unborn baby.

What to do if your spouse has shingles?

You should avoid direct contact with the rash and any fluid from the blisters. Consider sleeping in separate beds and avoiding intimate contact until all lesions have crusted over.

Should you wear a mask around someone with shingles?

Shingles is not airborne but can spread through direct contact with fluid from the blisters. Wearing a mask won’t necessarily protect you from shingles but maintaining good hygiene practices like washing hands frequently can be helpful.

How long is someone with shingles contagious?

Shingles is contagious until all the blisters have scabbed over, which typically takes about 7 to 10 days after the rash first appears.

Pregnancy and Work Considerations

Can pregnant nurses take care of patients with shingles?

Pregnant healthcare workers who have had chickenpox or been vaccinated can care for patients with shingles. Those who haven’t should avoid contact with patients with shingles or active chickenpox.

Can I go to work if my partner has shingles?

Yes, you can go to work. Shingles is not spread through casual contact. Just be sure to practice good hygiene and avoid close contact with the rash.

Living With a Partner with Shingles

Can I sleep in the same bed as someone with shingles?

To reduce the risk of transmission, it’s better to sleep in separate beds until all of the shingles blisters have crusted over.

Can I kiss my husband if he has shingles?

Avoid kissing if your husband has shingles around his mouth. Shingles can be transmitted by direct contact with the fluid from the blisters.

Can you share a shower with someone who has shingles?

No, you should avoid sharing a shower to prevent direct contact with the blisters.

Aftercare for Shingles

How do you clean your house after shingles?

General cleaning with regular household detergents should be sufficient after a shingles outbreak. Pay special attention to items like bedding and towels that may have come into contact with the blisters.

Do I need to wash my clothes separately if I have shingles?

Washing clothes separately can help prevent transmission to others, particularly to those who haven’t had chickenpox or the vaccine.

How do you wash towels with shingles?

Towels used by a person with shingles should be washed separately in hot water with regular laundry detergent.

Understanding Shingles Outbreaks

What triggers a shingles outbreak?

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus in the body, which can be triggered by factors such as stress, a weakened immune system, and age.

What does an early case of shingles look like?

Early signs of shingles include pain, itching, or tingling in a specific area, followed by the appearance of a red rash and fluid-filled blisters.

What does a very mild case of shingles look like?

A mild case of shingles may present as a localized rash with fewer blisters, which might be accompanied by mild pain or discomfort.

Treatment Options for Shingles

How to treat shingles while pregnant?

Antiviral medications can be used to reduce the severity and duration of shingles. They are generally safe during pregnancy, but your healthcare provider should make the final decision based on your health condition.

Can you use peroxide to clean shingles?

No, peroxide should not be used on shingles as it can delay healing and increase the risk of scarring.

Can you use hydrocortisone cream on shingles?

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can be used to alleviate itching, but it’s not recommended for the treatment of shingles. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any medications during pregnancy.

Remember, when in doubt, always consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide the most accurate and relevant information based on your specific circumstances.

How Can Help

Promoting Restful Sleep for a Healthier Pregnancy

Sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system, particularly during pregnancy when your body is working overtime for two. provides resources to help you establish good sleep routines, which can be beneficial in keeping you and your baby healthy.

Offering Peace of Mind During Nighttime

Anxiety about health concerns can interfere with sleep. The tips and strategies from aim to reduce nighttime worries and encourage peaceful, restful sleep. This is a time for you to focus on the positive aspects of pregnancy and your future with your baby.

Remember, your health and well-being, as well as your baby’s, are a priority. Take all necessary precautions, and always consult with your healthcare provider when you have concerns or questions.