Shingles, is often thought of as the adult chicken pox. It is a viral infection that happens when the dormant virus from the chicken pox becomes active again during adulthood. Shingles is very painful and will only effect one side of the body. Disease, stress, and aging are all causes for the virus to activate.
Shingles can only occur in individuals who had the chicken pox as a child, however the shingles virus can be contagious to an individual who has never had the chicken pox. In those cases, the newly infected individual would develop the chicken pox, not shingles.
Individuals who have had the chicken pox should consider vaccinating against shingles before the virus activates. While the vaccination has not proven to eliminate the chance of the individual experiencing shingles, it has proven to ease the pain and discomfort associated with shingles.