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Health Information Center

Risk Factors for Shingles

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Shingles

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

A person can only get shingles if they had chickenpox. The virus becomes reactivated later on. One in three people who have had chickenpox get shingles. It is not known why some people get it and others do not.

Shingles is more common in people over 60 years old. It is also more common in females and White people. Other things that raise the risk are:

Health Conditions

  • Chicken pox infection before age 1 year (in utero or early infancy)
  • Current cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, lymphoma, and leukemia
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Long-term health problems that weaken the immune system


  • About shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/index.html.
  • Herpes zoster. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/herpes-zoster.
  • Shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Shingles-Information-Page.
  • Shingles overview. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/shingles-overview.


  • James Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.