The same virus that causes chickenpox can stay inactive in the body and reactivate years later to cause shingles.

Shingles causes painful blisters and a rash that shows up on one side of the face or body. Usually it can take two to four weeks to go away. You might also have a fever, headache, chills, or upset stomach. Some people might have nerve pain for months or years after the rash clears.

Most people recover just fine. But some people need hospitalization for serious shingles complications.

If you have shingles and the rash spreads to your eyes, or you have signs of breathing problems, hearing problems, or signs of confusion, seek medical attention right away. If you’re older or have a weakened immune system, you might be at increased risk.

What can you do to protect yourself? Avoid contact with open blisters if someone you know has a rash.

If you are 50-years or older, the CDC also recommends two doses of the Shingrix vaccine, to help protect against shingles. The vaccine is also recommended for adults 19 years and older who have a compromised immune system.