Working Whist Treating Shingles

Anyone that has suffered from chickenpox as a child can rest in the knowledge that they will not have to encounter the virus again as an adult; they may, however, have to contend with a condition known as shingles. Shingles is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus which, until the body is no longer immune to it, remains dormant in the sensory nervous system after a bout of chickenpox. The reactivation of the virus is generally linked to a weakening of the immune system which can be as a result of many things such as stress, poor nutrition, other medication and old age.

Symptoms of the virus include, nerve pain, fever like symptoms and a rash, the severity of these complaints can vary from mild to severe and treatment will be needed to help with recovery. In a lot of cases it is possible that symptoms are manageable and it is possible to continue working whilst treating shingles and carry on with day-to-day life as normal.

Going to work with shingles

If you are feeling well enough, then it is possible to carry on working whilst treating shingles. The shingles virus is not contagious to anyone that has previously suffered from chickenpox and although it is possible to catch the chickenpox virus from a shingles sufferer, the chances are slim, especially if the rash is covered up correctly.

To avoid the virus spreading it is wise to keep it covered up; this can be done through the use of dressings. You should always use non-adhesive dressings to cover up a shingles rash, adhesive coverings such as plasters are known to add to irritation and slow down recovery. Covering the rash is also beneficial in helping stop the virus from multiplying and affecting other parts of the body.

If you are on mild painkilling medication such as paracetamol, then your work will not be affected in any way. Paracetamol is used in cases of mild to moderate pain and contains no side effects unless taking outside the recommended dose. Of course in many cases the use of a stronger painkiller is required, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and opioids. If you are planning on working whilst treating shingles and are on a stronger painkilling medication then it is important to be aware of the side effects as they may impact on your work. If your work is as a driver and you have been prescribed a stronger painkiller then going to work is not recommended.

When not to go to work during shingles

Working whilst treating shingles will not be recommended for anyone that has a rash which is weeping; this is because the spread of infection is much more likely. Having shingles which affects the eye may also prevent you from working as vision may be hampered; if your line of work is particularly safety conscious then a loss of vision may put other people at risk. Side effects of stronger painkillers and antiviral medications include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, blurred vision and hallucinations, all of these side effects can impact on your work.




Back to Top