Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The virus is more common in older adults, but it can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox. Start a search online to learn about the warning signs of shingles, so you can treat it early.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can reactivate later in life, causing shingles. Shingles typically develops in one area of the body and causes a painful, blistering rash. The rash usually lasts for two to four weeks, but the pain can continue for several weeks or even months after the rash has healed.
Warning Symptoms of Shingles
The symptoms of shingles usually develop in stages. The first stage is typically a burning or tingling sensation on one side of the body, often in a strip or band. This is usually followed by a rash or blisters. Here are eight warning symptoms of shingles:
Pain is usually the first symptom of shingles. The pain can be mild or severe and is often described as a burning or shooting pain. The pain usually affects one side of the body and is often located on the chest, back, or face.
Tingling or Itching
Before the rash appears, you may experience a tingling or itching sensation in the affected area. This can last for a few days before the rash develops.
The rash usually appears a few days after the pain or tingling sensation starts. It typically develops in one area of the body and forms a stripe or band. The rash is usually red and raised, and it may be itchy.
After the rash appears, it will develop into clusters of blisters. The blisters are usually filled with clear fluid, but they may become cloudy or bloody after a few days. The blisters will eventually dry up and form scabs.
Some people with shingles may develop a fever, especially during the early stages of the infection. The fever is usually mild and may not be noticeable.
Shingles can cause fatigue or a general feeling of being unwell. This is often the result of the pain and discomfort associated with the infection.
Some people with shingles may develop a headache, particularly if the rash is located on the face or head.
Sensitivity to Light
If the rash is located on the face, you may experience sensitivity to light or blurred vision. This is a result of the infection affecting the nerves in the face.
When to Seek Medical Help
If you experience any of these warning symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications, but early treatment is essential to reduce the risk of complications.