• Specializes in Tele, Acute. Has 20 years experience.

What is your hospital's policy on shingles? A coworker came in this morning with what looked like shingles. Says she has been dx with shingles before, she gets them all the time and not a threat to anyone.

I am not concerned about myself, however our pt's have compromised immune systems.

We do not isolate a hx of but we do isolate active lesions.

Any feedback?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

My facility would force the coworker to receive treatment for the shingles before she would be allowed to return to work in a direct patient care capacity.

indigo girl

5,173 Posts

Specializes in Too many to list.

Can it be passed on?

It is possible to develop a chickenpox infection from someone who

has shingles if you have not previously had chickenpox, through

direct contact with:

The fluid contained in the blister-like spots of the rash items recently

contaminate by this fluid, for example, towels and bed linen.

People who have not had chickenpox can develop this from contact

with shingles. This is especially a risk to those who are


If the rash is only on your body and will be completely covered by

clothing, then the risk to other people who have no natural immunity

to chickenpox will be greatly reduced, so you will be able to return to

work/school if you feel well enough.

If the rash is on an area of the body which cannot be covered (eg.

the face or around the eyes) then you should stay off work/school until

the rash is completely dry (the vesicles have crusted over).


1 Article; 3,037 Posts

Specializes in Medical.

Patients admitted to my hospital with shingles are cared for in a negative ventilation room until the shingles crust over; everyone entering the room must gown and glove, as shingles exposure can (as Indigo Girl posted) cause chicken pox.

I can check with infection control but I'm pretty sure a staff member with shingles would have to stay home until they, too, had crusted over.


4,177 Posts

agree with above posts, shingles frequently stay open [no crust] for a long length of time, i don't know if it is contagious for this length of time

i had a patient once who had open lesions for about three months but none of the other residents came down with chicken pox but they were of an age where they probably had immunity from childhood infections

Has 36 years experience.

It's considered communicable disease and they cannot work until lesions are dried up.

Where's your manager?

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