Shingles is a distinctive, painful rash that occurs in adults who have already had chickenpox as children. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in the body and though it may remain dormant for many years, the virus can appear later on as shingles.
Symptoms of Shingles
Early warning signs include burning or shooting pain accompanied by tingling and itching. The symptoms usually occur on one side of the face with the pain ranging from mild to severe. Anywhere between 1-14 days later, the rash will appear, with blisters that typically scab over in 7-10 days. Other symptoms may include:
The most common complication of shingles, Post Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) causes severe pain in the areas in which the shingles rash existed. Though it can get better in a few weeks or months, some people can experience pain from PHN for many years and have it interfere with their daily life.
Though there is no cure, antiviral medicines may help shorten the attack and make it less severe. These medicines may also help to prevent PHN. If you think you may have shingles, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.