I thought you could only get shingles on one side of your body?

Despite being told by my doctor at the time of my first diagnoses that I would never have shingles again, I’ve had them 3 times in the past. Once on the back of my hip, once on my thigh, and once on the back of my hand, all on the right side of my body.

But, as of today, that unmistakeable rash is forming again…on my left thigh. What gives? Is this one of those things like, “You probably won’t get them on opposite sides, although you might, the chance is so small we aren’t even going to mention it.”?

What gives?

Well (anecdote) when I got them, it would be in a narrow horizontal band all the way around my body; the next attack would be similar, but a little lower down each time (I fancy this is something to do with the segmented nature of the spinal column, but I won’t be surprised if that’s BS).

Shingles is caused by the virus that causes chicken pox (Varicella zoster). After chicken pox infection, the virus can remain dormant within the dorsal root ganglion. But, when reactivated within the nerve root supplying one specific part of the body (called dermatomes, which are paired, mirror images on either side of the body) the rash appears in the cutaneous distribution of that nerve root. The curious thing about dermatomes is that they stop in the midline which is why the rash often only appears on one side of the body. Can occur is any single dermatome, in multiple dermatomes simultaneously, on right or left side of the body. Can be recurrent, no way of predicting whether will be recurrent, and having it on one side of body does not mean that you can’t have a recurrence in a dermatome on the other side of body. A Google search for “shingles” and “zoster” will give you more information than you probably want to know, including multiple claims about things that can be used to treat. As always, check with a doctor you trust before trying out any internet claims.

I’ve had shingles several times, but always on the left side.

Same here. In fact, right now I’m sitting on it.

Well… I broke out with singles on my right torso starting in the front and going around to the middle of my back. What a horrible thing. I saw the doc immediately and did what they said and by taking the antiviral and other things perscribed it would go away quicker. My Doc said i wouldnt get it again. That was a few months ago and guess what… Im getting the same sensation on the back of my neck now on the other side of my body and starting the breakout this morning. So much for not getting it again