Shingles - Experience

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What is shingles? What does shingles look like?

Shingles is a disease characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of the body, typically the face or torso. This condition may also be referred to as herpes zoster, or simply zoster. There are approximately 1 million estimated cases per year in the U.S., with almost one out of every three people developing shingles at some point in their lifetime. Though most people who develop shingles will only have a single episode, there are some who develop recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles is more common in older individuals and in those with weakened immune systems.

Pictures of shingles (herpes zoster) on the face
What does shingles look like?

The characteristic rash of shingles typically appears after an initial period of burning, tingling, itching, or stinging in the affected area. After a few days, the rash then appears in a stripe or band-like pattern along a nerve path called a dermatome, affecting only one side of the body without crossing the midline (to the other side). The rash erupts as clusters of small red patches that develop into blisters, which may appear similar to chickenpox. The blisters then break open and slowly begin to dry and eventually crust over.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: DSW, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

The pain started under my right breast. Thinking this is my normal minor pains I have, I ignored it. Then the breast started aching badly. Then the pain moved to under right arm, and then to middle back over to the spine. All in one day this movement occurred. I knew it wasn't normal, went to the doctor and he said it was shingles. He gave me pain medicines (making me sleep, but not long lasting on the pain), salve for the itching, and valacyclovir. I am miserable, but I've noticed if I just get up and move around doing chores, it is not so bad. I notice it much more when sitting down. I had the shingles shot 4 months ago! I am hoping this won't last long because of it. So painful!

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Comment from: ro, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 21

Many years ago my finger was slammed in a car door fracturing the tip of my finger. The nail was removed and served as a splint. My nail grew back in time but was only attached at the base and not at the top. It grew and continues to grow but now is black at the top.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


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