Shingles and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Shingles and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. While it primarily affects adults over the age of 50, it can affect people of any age. It is characterized by a painful rash that can cause burning and itching sensations, as well as fever and fatigue. In some cases, it can lead to long-term complications such as postherpetic neuralgia, which is a chronic pain condition caused by nerve damage.

Recent research has found that shingles may be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS is a complex condition that is characterized by extreme fatigue and difficulty in performing everyday activities. It can also cause cognitive impairment, muscle pain, headaches, and insomnia. While the exact cause of CFS is unknown, it is believed to be linked to viral infections, such as shingles.

How are Shingles and CFS Related?

Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which can remain dormant in the body for many years after an initial infection. In some cases, the virus can become reactivated and cause a shingles outbreak. This reactivation may also trigger CFS in some individuals.

Research has found that people with a history of shingles are more likely to develop CFS than those without such a history. Additionally, studies have found that people with CFS are more likely to have had shingles in the past than those without CFS. This suggests that reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus may be one of the causes of CFS.

Treatment Options for Shingles and CFS

The treatment for shingles varies depending on the severity of the infection. Generally, antiviral medications are prescribed to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. Pain medications may also be prescribed to help manage pain associated with shingles. In some cases, steroids may be used to reduce inflammation.

The treatment for CFS also varies depending on the severity of symptoms. Generally, doctors recommend lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding stress. Medications may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms such as fatigue and insomnia.


Shingles and chronic fatigue syndrome are both complex conditions that can have serious effects on an individual’s health. Research suggests that there may be a link between shingles and CFS, although further research is needed to confirm this link. Fortunately, there are treatments available for both conditions that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.