What are the symptoms of shingles?

Symptoms of shingles affect the nerves and the skin. Shingles can occur in almost any part of the body, but most often affects one side of the torso. Symptoms of shingles include:

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Itching, tingling, or severe burning pain that precedes a rash, often on one side of the torso

  • Rash in a band or patch-like shape over the affected area that develops into fluid-filled blisters that eventually dry out, crust over, and heal

Symptoms that might indicate a serious complications of shingles

In some cases, shingles can affect the nerves of the face, eyes or ears and cause serious symptoms and complications, such as facial paralysis or impaired vision and hearing. Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of shingles, particularly the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Decreased or double vision
  • Painful, widespread rash
  • Poor immune system caused by a chronic disease or immune-suppressing medications
  • Rash near your eyes or involving the tip of the nose

What is shingles?

Shingles is a painful disease caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus. Shingles, also called herpes zoster, attacks nerve cells and causes severe nerve pain and a skin rash that appears over the affected nerve.

Shingles develops in people who have had chickenpox in the past. The chickenpox virus (varicella zoster virus) can re... Read more about shinglesintroduction


What causes shingles?

Shingles is a disease caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus. When a person has chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus can invade the nerve cells in the brain stem or spinal cord. The virus can then remain there in an inactive form for years until it is reactivated later in life and causes shingles. The varicella zoster virus can be reactivated by anything t... Read more about shinglescauses


How is shingles treated?

There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral medications can reduce the severity and duration of the disease. Antiviral medications can also reduce the risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia, which is a serious complication of shingles. Antiviral medications include:

  • Acyclovir

  • Famcyclovir

  • Valcyclovir Read more about shinglestreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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