Shingles: Signs and symptoms

Shingles: Signs and symptoms

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Shingles tends to cause more pain and less itching than chickenpox. Common signs (what you see) and symptoms (what you feel) are:

  • The warning: An area of skin may burn, itch, tingle, or feel very sensitive. This usually occurs in a small area on 1 side of the body. These symptoms can come and go or be constant. Most people experience this for 1 to 3 days. It can last longer.
  • Rash: A rash then appears in the same area.
  • Blisters: The rash soon turns into groups of clear blisters. The blisters turn yellow or bloody before they crust over (scab) and heal. The blisters tend to last 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Pain: It is uncommon to have blisters without pain. Often the pain is bad enough for a doctor to prescribe painkillers. Once the blisters heal, the pain tends to lessen. The pain can last for months after the blisters clear.
  • Flu-like symptoms: The person may get a fever or headache with the rash.
                widespread shingles rash  Shingles: The rash can be very painful and widespread.
                shingles  Shingles: This patch of skin was very painful before the shingles appeared.

Learn more about shingles:

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

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