The shingles virus stays in your body for life. For most people, the virus only causes shingles once, and never causes problems again.
What is Shingles?
According to Shingles.com, the shingles virus is varicella-zoster--the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you've had chickenpox, the dormant virus may reactivate and come back as shingles.
Where Does the Dormant Virus Go?
The dormant shingles virus lies inactive in the nerve tissue of your spinal cord.
Can You Get Shingles Multiple Times?
If the chickenpox virus causes shingles, you are at risk for repeated bouts of shingles throughout your life. However, only about 4 percent of people experience repeated attacks of shingles.
Mayo Clinic.com reports that shingles will usually subside within a few weeks, but to speed recovery, medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir may be prescribed. Other prescribed drugs to relieve pain include narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants or numbing agents.
Your doctor may prescribe a medication to take if you feel shingles starting again. If you're over 60, you can be vaccinated against shingles to prevent future outbreaks. Other ways to prevent shingles outbreaks include keeping your immune system healthy and avoiding stress.