Family Health


Family Life


Everything You Need to Know About Shingles Symptoms

Everything You Need to Know About Shingles Symptoms

Shingles is a disease that affects people who have had chickenpox at some time in the past. It's a more painful, but less itchy, disease than chickenpox. If you can identify shingles symptoms early on, then you can make your bout with shingles less painful and less severe, as well as of shorter duration.

Key Points

  • Shingles is a very common disease; around one million Americans suffer from it every year.
  • A rash that is isolated to one side of the body is a telltale sign of shingles.
  • Shingles can be prevented with a vaccine.

Shingles Symptoms

The first of the shingles symptoms you suffer from will probably be the pain. It can be very intense to the touch. Because of where the pain occurs, it is easy to confuse the pain for another medical condition. The pain can also be a burning or tingling sensation that is confined to a localized area of your body.

A few days after the pain starts, you may develop a red rash on one side of your body. It's this rash that is restricted to one part or side of your body that makes diagnosis of shingles much easier. It's one of the characteristic shingles symptoms. It can appear as a rash of pus filled blisters that resemble chicken pox.

Other shingles symptoms include itching, though much less than chicken pox, fever and chills, a headache, and an upset stomach. These symptoms are auxiliary symptoms and may not occur as often as the pain and the red rash. In fact, the pain is the only shingles symptom that is found in all cases. The red rash doesn't even occur in all shingles cases.

If you think you might be suffering from shingles symptoms then you should seek medical treatment.

Prognosis & Treatment for Shingles

You can reduce the severity and duration of shingles with medical treatment. You can treat your shingles and get on with your life. There's currently not a prescription cure for shingles, but thankfully there are medications that can manage your symptoms while you recover. Shingles can last for two to six weeks.

You may be prescribed an antiviral to speed up your healing process. If your symptoms are having a significant impact on your quality of life, your doctor can prescribe additional medication for symptom relief. These drugs can include topical patches, numbing agents, antidepressants, and corticosteroids. Talk to your doctor if your shingles is affecting your quality of life to a point where you cannot stand it.

Most people only get shingles once. It is possible, however, to get it two or more times. Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles, but not everyone who has had chickenpox will. Shingles is a very common disease, affecting roughly one million Americans every year. It is most common in people 50 or older.

Fortunately, shingles can be prevented. By getting the shingles vaccine, you can protect yourself against this uncomfortable and annoying illness. The CDC encourages even those who have already had shingles or who have had the chickenpox vaccine to get the shingles vaccine. The shingles vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor about getting this vaccine.

To top