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ACCESS for All graphic on Shingles
ShinglesDiagram of How Shingles is Acquired

Shingles, herpes zoster, is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus (the varicella-zoster virus). After having chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus retreats to nerve cells in the body, where it often lies dormant for many years. Like other members of the herpes family (such as the herpes simplex viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes), the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox never leaves the body.

Certain factors, such as stress, aging, or low immunity, can reactivate the virus and it begins to reproduce. The virus travels along the path of a nerve (where the virus "slept") to the skin's surface and becomes visible as shingles. Early shingles symptoms can include headache, fever, and chills. However, the most noticeable symptoms are blisters and pain. Shingles travels along a nerve path, causing pain and strange sensations. Shingles causes numbness, tingling, itching, or pain before a blistery rash appears. This rash appears as fluid-filled blisters. Because shingles occurs in an area of the skin that is supplied by sensory fibers of a single nerve, called a dermatome, the rash usually appears in a strip on one side of the body, typically the torso, face, nose, and eyes.

Shingles is not generally contagious but the varicella-zoster virus can spread to someone who has never had chickenpox. If a person hasn't had chickenpox and comes in contact with the infected person's blisters, they could develop chickenpox. The virus doesn’t spread after the blisters have formed crusty scabs. Once the blisters scab, they’re no longer contagious. The virus also doesn’t spread when the blisters are well-covered.

You can’t get shingles through contact with the saliva or nasal secretions of someone who has shingles, except in rare cases. That means you usually can’t get shingles if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on you.

Accommodating Employees with Shingles

The degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with shingles will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. Staff with shingles should be able to continue to work in most areas if they feel well and the affected area can be adequately covered by clothing. However it should be noted that shingles can vary from very mild with no pain or discomfort to extremely painful and debilitating, and staff may need to take time off to recover.

What are employers' responsibilities?

What employers are expected to do should an employee be diagnosed with shingles depends largely on the type of workplace.

Quite simply, for the employee with shingles, taking sick leave or, if possible, teleworking from home is probably the optimum accommodation so that they can rest, and heal, more quickly.

In a purely adult, non-care setting, it may be useful for other team members who have had contact with the infected employee to be made aware. Colleagues who do not think that they have previously had chickenpox should be informed that they may develop the disease within 10 to 21 days. If they start to feel unwell within this time period it may be sensible to take time off as soon as symptoms begin (e.g. cold-like symptoms, high temperature) in order to reduce the risk of the disease spreading further.

Note: Link to AskJAN for more information and publications regarding Shingles

Call Oklahoma ABLE Tech (800-257-1705) for accommodation ideas or to borrow assistive technology. ABLE Tech’s AT Device Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Program works just like a book library. Here are some devices that relate to this article:

Ergonomic T-Foam Seat Cushion
Ergonomic OBUS Seat Pad
Soft Transfer Swivel Cushion (use in car or home)
Uplift Power Seat
TV Remote - Voice Activated
Wheelchair Desk
Solutions for Decreased Stamina/Fatigue

Search Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s resources for reused AT and durable medical equipment*
including free and low cost items.
* where, for this particular illness, you could borrow a motorized wheelchair, if available


Need funding to assist in the purchase of assistive devices? Oklahoma ABLE Tech offers a comprehensive online guide for Oklahoma Funding for AT. Additionally, ABLE Tech, in partnership with Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) and BancFirst of Stillwater, offers Financial Loans to purchase assistive technology. Several programs of funding are available, all with LOW interest rate and flexible repayment terms, as well as special qualification opportunities for applicants who might not qualify for a traditional bank loan. For questions on the Financial Loan opportunities, call Shelley Gladden for more information at 800-257-1705.


Rob Carr, Accessibility Coordinator

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Oklahoma State University

1514 W. Hall of Fame

Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 800.257.1705

Email: rgcarr@okstate.edu

Linda Jaco, Associate Director for Sponsored Programs

Department of Wellness

Oklahoma State University

1514 W. Hall of Fame,

Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 800.257.1705

Email: linda.jaco@okstate.edu

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2018 Access for All Weekly Tips

January through MarchApril through JuneJuly through SeptemberOctober through December
01/08/2018
AT Discovery: Computer Access
04/2/2018
Multiple Sclerosis
07/2/2018
Myths About Employees
with Disabilities
10/01/2018
Creating an Accessible Workstation
01/15/2018
Alert Devices
04/9/2018
AT Discovery: Hearing
07/9/2018
AT Discovery: Organization
10/08/2018
iPads
01/22/2018
AT Discovery: Reading
04/16/2018
Tips for Addressing
Employees with Disabilities
07/16/2018
Back Impairments
10/15/2018
Alzheimer's Disease
01/29/2018
Chronic Pain
04/23/2018
AT Discovery: Speech
07/23/2018
Diabetes
10/22/2018
Dyspraxia
02/05/2018
AT Discovery: EAC
04/30/2018
PTSD
07/30/2018
Essential Tremor
10/29/2018
Chronic Pain
02/12/2018
Braille Devices
05/07/2018
Stroke
08/06/2018
Reasonable Accommodation
11/5/2018
Chronic Fatigue
02/19/2018
AT Discovery: Mathematics
05/14/2018
AT Discovery: Computer Access
08/13/2018
Albinism
11/19-30/2018
Vertigo
02/26/2018
Arthritis
05/21/2018
Tips for Unlocking the Talent
and Potential of Employees with Disabilities
08/20/2018
Drug Addiction
02/05/2018
AT Discovery: Organization
05/28/2018
AT Discovery: Reading
08/27/2018
Alternative Text
03/12/2018
Ergonomic Seating
06/04/2018
Bipolar Disorder
09/03/2018
Using Headings in Microsoft Word
03/19/2018
AT Discovery: Writing
05/28/2018
AT Discovery: EAC
09/10/2018
Low Cost, High Impact
03/26/2018
Limited Hearing
06/18/2018
Magnifiers
09/17/2018
Pregnancy
06/25/2018
AT Discovery: Math
09/24/2018
Cancer

2017 Access for All Weekly Tips

January to MarchApril to JuneJuly to September October to December
01/02/2017
Ergonomics in the Workplace
04/03/2017
Tourette Syndrome
07/10/2017
Wheelchair Use
10/02/2017
Accessible Documents
01/09/2017
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
04/10/2017
Reading Apps
07/17/2017
Speech-to-Text
10/09/2017
Testing Web Pages
01/09/2017
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
04/17/2017
Accessible Meetings and Events
07/24/2017
Getting Started with AT
10/16/2017
Weak Grip
01/16/2017
Bipolar Disorder
04/24/2017
Speech Apps
07/31/2017
Accessible Telephones
10/23/2017
Ergonomic Desks
01/23/2017
Muscular Dystrophy
05/01/2017
Built-In Computer Accessibility
08/07/2017
AT Discovery
10/30/2017
Time Management
01/30/2017
Hard of Hearing
05/08/2017
Daily Living Apps
08/14/2017
Employers and the ADA
11/06/2017
iPad
02/06/2017
Speech Limitations
05/15/2017
Braille Devices
08/21/2017
Assistive Technology
11/13/2017
AT Discovery: Hearing
02/13/2017
Lupus
05/22/2017
Writing Apps
08/28/2017
Attentiveness and Concentration
11/20/2017
Keyboards and Mice
02/20/2017
Arthritis
05/29/2017
Motor Impairments
09/04/2017
Vision Apps
11/27/2017
AT Discovery:
Speech Communication
02/27/2017
Migraines
06/05/2017
Magnifiers
09/11/2017
Interviewing Candidates
with Disabilities
12/04/2017
Color Contrast
03/13/2017
Vision Apps
06/12/2017
Free and Low-Cost Accomodations
09/18/2017
Hearing Apps
12/11/2017
AT Discovery: Vision
03/20/2017
Essential Tremor
06/19/2017
Save the Date
09/25/2017
Social Media Accessibility
12/18/2017
Chrome Extensions
03/27/2017
Hearing Apps
06/26/2017
Creating an Accessible
Workstation