Can I Swim In My Private Pool With Shingles


Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. It typically manifests as a painful rash or blisters on one side of the body and can last for 1-4 weeks. The symptoms of shingles include flu-like symptoms such as fever and headache, followed by the development of a red, itchy rash with fluid-filled blisters.

One common question that arises is whether it is safe to swim with shingles in a private pool. In this article, we will address this concern and provide detailed information about swimming with shingles while considering both personal health precautions and potential risks to others.

Understanding Shingles

Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus becomes reactivated in an individual who has previously had chickenpox. This reactivation can be triggered by factors such as stress, weakened immune system, or aging. The virus travels along nerve pathways to the skin’s surface where it causes inflammation and leads to the characteristic rash.

The primary mode of transmission for shingles is direct contact with fluid from the blisters or sores present during an active outbreak. However, it’s important to note that you cannot catch shingles directly from someone else who has shingles; instead, you may develop chickenpox if you have never had it before.

During the early stages of shingle infection (before any visible signs appear), there is little risk of spreading the virus through water activities such as swimming. However, once the rash appears in its blister phase (usually within 2-3 days after initial symptoms), caution should be exercised due to increased contagiousness.

It’s crucial to take necessary precautions during all stages of your condition not only for your well-being but also for others’ safety.

Risks and Considerations

Swimming while experiencing an active outbreak raises several concerns regarding potential risks:

Spreadinig Virus

Direct contact with the fluid-filled blisters of an infected person can lead to the transmission of the varicella-zoster virus. Although this is less likely in a properly chlorinated pool, it’s still important to minimize contact between your rash and other swimmers.


Swimming in a chlorinated pool or any water source while experiencing shingles symptoms may exacerbate your condition or potentially cause secondary infections. The chlorine used in pools and other disinfectants can irritate already sensitive skin and slow down the healing process.

It’s crucial to consider these risks before deciding whether swimming with shingles is appropriate for you.

Expert Opinions and Medical Advice

When it comes to determining whether it is safe to swim with shingles, consulting medical professionals’ opinions plays a significant role. Healthcare experts recommend avoiding swimming during an active outbreak as much as possible due to the risk of spreading the virus and worsening symptoms.

While there are no definitive guidelines specifically addressing swimming with shingles, general recommendations include prioritizing personal health precautions by avoiding activities that could worsen symptoms or prolong recovery time.

To make an informed decision about swimming while having shingles, seeking advice from a healthcare professional who knows your specific medical history is strongly advised. They will be able to provide personalized guidance based on their knowledge of your condition.

Precautions and Safety Measures

If you do decide that swimming in a private pool while experiencing mild symptoms of shingles is acceptable for you personally, taking certain precautions can help minimize potential risks:

  1. Inform Others: Make sure those who will be sharing the pool are aware of your condition so they can make an informed decision about joining you.
  2. Avoid Swimming During Severe Pain: If you experience severe pain or discomfort from your rash or blisters, refrain from swimming until these symptoms subside.
  3. Cover Affected Area: Use waterproof bandages or dressings to cover any open sores or blisters to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
  4. Maintain Hygiene: Practice good hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly before and after swimming to minimize the spread of any potential infection.

Additionally, it’s essential to maintain proper pool hygiene and cleanliness:

  1. Test Pool Water Chemistry: Regularly test and balance pool water chemistry, ensuring appropriate levels of chlorine or other disinfectants are maintained.
  2. Proper Chlorination: Ensure that the pool is adequately chlorinated according to guidelines provided by health authorities for effective sanitation.
  3. Clean Pool Surfaces Regularly: Routinely clean and disinfect all surfaces and equipment in the pool area to prevent any potential contamination.

By following these precautions and safety measures, you can reduce the risk of spreading shingles while enjoying a swim in a private pool.

Alternatives to Swimming

If you decide against swimming with shingles due to concerns about spreading the virus or worsening symptoms, there are alternative activities or exercises that can be done while recovering from this condition:

  1. Low-Impact Exercises: Engage in low-impact exercises such as walking, yoga, or tai chi that promote gentle movement without putting strain on your body.
  2. Relaxation Techniques: Explore relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises that can help alleviate stress associated with shingles pain.

These alternatives allow you to stay active during your recovery period without compromising your health or potentially exposing others to risks.


In conclusion, swimming with shingles poses potential risks both for yourself and others due to direct contact transmission of the varicella-zoster virus through fluid-filled blisters present during an outbreak. While there are no definitive guidelines specifically addressing swimming with shingles, healthcare professionals generally advise against it due to increased contagiousness during active stages.

Prioritizing personal health precautions should always be considered when deciding whether swimming is appropriate while experiencing symptoms of shingles. Consulting a healthcare professional who knows your specific medical history is crucial in making an informed decision.

If you do choose to swim, taking precautions such as informing others, covering affected areas with waterproof bandages, and maintaining proper pool hygiene can help minimize potential risks. Alternatives to swimming are also available for those who wish to stay active during their recovery from shingles.

Ultimately, prioritizing personal health and safety should be the main focus when considering whether swimming with shingles is appropriate for you. Consulting a healthcare professional will provide personalized advice and guidance based on your individual circumstances.


  • Treatment: The medical care and interventions used to manage or cure a condition or disease.
  • Towels: Absorbent fabric used for drying off the body after swimming or bathing.
  • Questions: Inquiries seeking information or clarification about a specific topic.
  • Chickenpox vaccine: A vaccination that helps protect against the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) which can later reactivate as shingles.
  • Shingles rash: A painful skin rash caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus in individuals who have previously had chickenpox.
  • Public pool: A swimming pool that is open to use by members of the general public, usually requiring an entry fee.
  • Chlorinated pools: Swimming pools treated with chlorine to kill bacteria and maintain water hygiene levels.
  • Antiviral medication: Medication prescribed to treat viral infections, such as shingles, by inhibiting their replication within the body.
    -Swimming pools : Artificial bodies of water designed for recreational purposes where people swim and engage in other aquatic activities.

-Sharing towels : Using a single towel among multiple people, increasing the risk of transmitting infections.

Complications : Unintended health issues resulting from a condition or its treatment.

Itchy blisters : Fluid-filled sores on the skin that cause itching sensations.

Rash blisters : Blisters appearing on inflamed areas of skin due to various causes including infections like shingles.

Contact with people : Physical interaction with other individuals through touch or proximity.

Chlorinated water : Water treated with chlorine disinfectant commonly found in swimming pools for sanitation purposes.

Body of water A natural or man-made mass of water such as oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.

Active shingles The phase when an individual is experiencing symptoms and transmission is possible.

Bacterial infection An infection caused by bacteria invading parts of your body.

Chickenpox virus : Also known as varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for causing shingles.

Vaccine A biological preparation that provides immunity against specific diseases by stimulating the body’s immune system.

Shingles vaccine A vaccination specifically developed to prevent or reduce the severity of shingles in individuals who have had chickenpox.

Creams and Medications: Topical products and drugs used to alleviate symptoms, treat infections, or manage conditions.

Pregnant women: Women who are expecting a baby.

Shingles blisters: Fluid-filled sores on the skin caused by active shingles infection.

Natural body: The human physique without any external modifications or interventions.

Skin contact : Physical touch with another person’s skin surface.

Warm water : Water at an elevated temperature compared to room temperature but not hot enough to cause discomfort or burns.

Saltwater pools : Swimming pools where salt is added instead of chlorine for sanitation purposes.

Lukewarm water : Moderately warm water that is neither too hot nor too cold.

Water park: A recreational facility consisting of various attractions centered around large bodies of water such as slides, wave pools, etc.

Pool With Shingles: A private swimming pool being used by an individual with an active shingles infection.

Shingle Infection / Skin Infection / Active Virus / Contagious Disease:
Refers to having an ongoing infectious state due to a shingle outbreak caused by the varicella-zoster virus reactivation in one’s body. It can be transmitted from person-to-person during this phase through direct contact with fluid from blisters.

Definitive answer – An answer providing clear and final information without ambiguity or uncertainty.

Proper treatment – Appropriate medical care tailored towards managing a specific condition effectively.

Cold sore – A small blister usually found around the mouth caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

Service – Assistance or support provided by a person, organization, or system to fulfill a particular need.

Lotions – Topical products designed to be applied on the skin for various purposes such as moisturizing, soothing, or medicating.

Immune systems – The complex network of cells and organs that work together to protect the body from infections and diseases.

Regular basis – Occurring at fixed intervals without significant deviation.

Plenty of fluids – Consuming an ample amount of liquids to maintain hydration levels in the body.

Rash worse: When a skin rash becomes more severe in terms of symptoms and appearance over time.

Communal pools: Shared swimming pools accessible by multiple individuals within a community or establishment.

Person-to-person contact: Direct physical interaction between individuals involving touch or close proximity.

Contagious phase: The period during which an individual with shingles is capable of spreading the infection to others through direct contact with blisters or fluid secretions.

Watertight bandages : Dressings that prevent water from entering when applied over wounds or sores.

Contact sports : Sports activities where participants come into physical contact with each other.

Physical contact : Touching another person’s body directly.

Sexual contact : Engaging in intimate activities involving genitalia with another person.

Bodily contact / Body into Contact The act of one’s body coming into touch/contact with someone else’s.

Contact dermatitis : An allergic reaction caused by substances contacting the skin resulting in inflammation and irritation.

Contact lenses : Optical devices placed directly onto the eye surface for vision correction purposes.

Contact precautions Safety measures taken specifically for infectious conditions requiring additional protection against transmission through direct physical interactions

Contact with bacteria found Coming into direct connection/touch/contactwith bacterial microorganisms commonly present in our surroundings

Contact with blisters Physical interaction/touch/contactwith fluid-filled sores on the skin caused by various conditions including shingles.

Contact with blood Direct exposure/touch/contactwith blood, which can potentially transmit infections or diseases.

Water pressure : The force exerted by water molecules against a surface due to its depth or flow rate.

Bodies of water: Natural or man-made bodies of liquid such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and pools.

Bodies of water used: Refers to specific bodies of water that are utilized for swimming purposes.

Chlorine Water : Water treated with chlorine disinfectant typically found in swimming pools for maintaining hygiene levels.

Cold Water : Water at a low temperature compared to room temperature or body temperature.

Cool Water : Moderately cold water that provides relief from heat without being uncomfortably chilly.

Shingle rash / Stages Of Shingles / Trial for Shingles / Trials for Shingles :
Terms related to different aspects and progression stages of the shingles infection and potential medical trials or research conducted regarding shingle treatments.

Arms after shingles – Describes the condition and symptoms experienced in the arm area following a bout of shingles infection.

Beach with Shingles – Going to a sandy coastal area while having an active case of shingles infection.

Chlorine with Shingles – The interaction between chlorine (typically found in swimming pool waters) and an individual who has an ongoing case of shingle infection.

Comfort in Shingles – Measures taken to alleviate discomfort caused by symptoms associated with active herpes zoster virus (shingle) reactivation.

Cure for Shinges- Medical interventions aiming at eradicating the underlying viral cause leading to symptomatic manifestation like painfu blisters/shinged rashes.

Chances Of Infection- Likelihood/probability/risk factors involved leading towards acquiring an infectious disease such as herpes zoster(Shinges).

Average Herpes Infection- General representation of common occurrences related to viral infections such as herpes zoster (shingles).

Brain Infection – An infection affecting the brain, which can occur in severe cases of shingles or other diseases.

Chickenpox Infection- An infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus that primarily affects children, characterized by a distinctive rash and fever.

Childhood infection diseases : Infectious diseases commonly occurring during childhood due to various pathogens.

Common ear infection: A bacterial or viral infection affecting the middle ear, often seen in young children.

Herpes virus A family of viruses that cause a variety of infections including cold sores (HSV-1), genital herpes (HSV-2), and shingles/varicella-zoster virus.

Extreme pain Severe discomfort or agony experienced at an intensity level higher than usual.

Heart pain – Discomfort or chest sensations associated with heart-related issues.

Over-the-counter pain medicine/relievers: Medications available without a prescription used for managing mild to moderate pain.

Varicella vaccine – Also known as chickenpox vaccine, it helps protect against the varicella-zoster virus responsible for causing both chickenpox and later reactivating as shingles.

Current Shingle Vaccine : Refers to vaccines specifically designed to prevent or reduce the severity of shingles outbreaks in individuals who have had prior exposure to chickenpox.

Anti-fungal cream / Antihistamine creams / Chemical cream:
Different types of topical creams utilized for specific purposes such as treating fungal infections, reducing allergic reactions/symptoms caused by histamines, or using chemical compounds for therapeutic benefits on skin conditions.

Cream obtainable : Creams that are accessible and can be acquired easily from various sources like pharmacies, supermarkets etc.

Anti-inflammatory medications/anti-viral medications :
Medication categories used respectively for reducing inflammation within the body’s tissues/organs and combating viral infections.

Additional symptoms : Extra indications or manifestations that occur alongside the primary signs of a particular condition.

Creams after swimming – Topical products applied to the skin following swimming activities for various purposes such as moisturizing, soothing, or treating potential skin issues.

Days of swimming The number of consecutive days spent engaging in swimming activities.

Common skin conditions: Typical dermatological disorders affecting the integumentary system such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.

Common non-contagious skin condition: A common dermatological issue not caused by an infectious agent and cannot be spread from person to person.

EMERGENCY questions: Urgent inquiries requiring immediate attention due to their critical nature.

Legal questions: Inquiries seeking information regarding legal matters or concerns.

Quick question / Quick answers – Brief inquiries expecting concise responses within a short timeframe.

Primary care provider : The healthcare professional who serves as the first point of contact for individuals seeking medical care.

Additional care – Supplementary medical assistance beyond initial treatment provided based on individual needs/conditions.

Care for newborns Specific medical guidance and interventions tailored towards infants in their early stages after birth.

2-3 weeks : Referring to a period of time lasting between two to three weeks.

Over-the-counter treatments Non-prescription medications available without needing a doctor’s prescription

Damp towels Moistened towels that may retain more water compared to dry ones.

Fluid-filled sores Blisters filled with fluid (such as pus) resulting from infections like shingles or other causes.

Risk of complications Possibility/probability/frequency that further health issues may arise due to certain conditions/treatments/circumstances

Additional complications Unforeseen health problems occurring alongside existing conditions which require further attention and management

Healing baths – Immersion in water containing additives aimed at promoting wound healing, relaxation, relief from itching, or other therapeutic benefits.

National Health Service (NHS) A publicly-funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom providing medical services to residents.

Third-party service: An external organization or entity offering services independent of the primary parties involved.

Professional advice: Recommendations, suggestions, and opinions provided by individuals with expertise in a specific field.

Advice on coverage : Information or guidance regarding insurance policies and their extent of coverage for certain situations/treatments.

Contagious phase: The period during which an individual is capable of spreading an infectious disease to others.

Soothing lotions – Topical products designed to provide relief from discomfort such as itching, irritation, or inflammation.

Anti-itch lotions – Topical products formulated specifically to alleviate itchiness caused by various conditions including shingles.

Swimming safety : Practices and guidelines aimed at ensuring the well-being and minimizing risks associated with swimming activities.

Swimming guidelines : Established recommendations outlining best practices for safe swimming experiences.

Swimming with a skin condition / Swimming and contagious diseases / Swimming and skin infections:
Terms related to engaging in aquatic activities while having existing skin conditions that may be contagious or prone to infection.

Swimming and shingles treatment Information regarding swimming’s impact on ongoing shingles treatments like medications, creams etc.

Swimming & Shingles symptoms/ recovery/ pain relief Exploring how swimming can affect symptoms experienced during shingle outbreaks/recovery process/pain management

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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