Shingles usually develops on a different body area if you get it again. But people who are likely to have shingles multiple times or have had eye shingles may have a higher chance of experiencing it in the same place.

Many people recover from herpes zoster (shingles) in a few weeks. But you can develop shingles again, especially if you have a weakened immune system or had a particularly challenging first case.

When shingles returns, it often forms on a body area that differs from the first time. But this isn’t always the case.

Keep reading to learn more about what it might mean if you keep getting shingles in the same place and what you can do to prevent it from coming back.

Yes, you can have shingles twice in the same place, though it’s common for shingles to develop elsewhere on your body.

The virus that causes shingles lies dormant in your body’s nerve roots for years. When reactivated, shingles tends to travel along a nerve path. Your skin along this path is known as a dermatome.

According to a 2024 research review, people who experience shingles a second time may be more likely to have it along a different dermatome than before. These dermatomes can be on the chest, face, or neck.

However, the review also noted that people who get shingles three or more times can have a higher possibility of getting it on the same side of the body.

People who have had herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), which is shingles in the eye, might have a greater chance of developing it there again. A 2016 study found the risk of HZO returning to be 31% after 6 years.

How often does shingles come back in the same place?

A second bout of shingles tends to develop on a different dermatome. However, a 2017 study found that about 16.3% of people had shingles again on the same dermatome.

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You may be more likely to get recurrent shingles if you:

Also, shingles tends to come back more often in females.

How often does shingles return?

A 2024 review involving U.S. and international research estimated that shingles could return in 1.2–9.6% of people with weakened immune systems. However, rates were as high as 18.2% in these populations.

According to German health insurance records used in the above review, up to 25% of people who got shingles again had it multiple times.

But some researchers think that the return rate may not be that high and that doctors may sometimes misdiagnose herpes simplex as herpes zoster that comes back.

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Your body develops some immunity to the virus that causes shingles after you have it the first time. But that immunity can lessen over time.

As your immunity lessens, you may experience returning shingles years or decades after the virus.

In a 2018 study, some people got shingles again within about 6 months, while others didn’t get it again for more than 10 years. The average time was just under 3 years.

A 2020 study found that the time between shingles cases for people ages 45–54 years old was about 2 years, but about 3 years for people 55 years and older.

Returning shingles tends to be less severe than initial cases. But it’s a good idea not to ignore or delay diagnosis and treatment.

Starting antiviral shingles treatment within 72 hours of getting a rash is important.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting the shingles vaccine (Shingrix) even if you’ve already had shingles. The vaccine can help prevent further reactivation of the virus.

People above 50 years old and adults with weakened immune systems can get the two-dose vaccine in a 2- to 6-month period.

However, you can’t get the vaccine if you currently have shingles. You’ll need to wait for it to clear before you can get the vaccine.

You can get shingles more than once. If shingles comes back, you may develop it in a different spot on your body.

Still, some people may keep getting shingles in the same place. This may be especially true for people who have had eye shingles.

Consider protecting yourself from returning bouts of shingles by getting the two-dose Shingrix vaccine. If you think you have shingles again, contact a healthcare professional right away to begin treatment.