Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a reactivated infection in someone who has had chicken pox before. It is caused by a virus which is transmitted by direct contact with someone having active infections. presents as painful blisters on the skin often following a nerve distribution and can be quite disabling in the elderly. It is highly contagious and special precaution should be taken to avoid close contact with others especially the newborn, pregnant and people with weakened immunity.
The good news is that the Australian government has decided to provide people from the age 70 to 79 years with free vaccinations starting November 2016. It would be worthwhile discussing with your family doctor if you would benefit from this offer as you may be eligible for the vaccine thus reducing your risk from a potentially debilitating disease.