How do doctors diagnose shingles?

Shingles can often be diagnosed by your doctor based upon the distinctive appearance and distribution of the characteristic shingles rash. A painful, blistering rash that is localized to defined dermatomes is highly suggestive of shingles. Blood work or other testing is usually not necessary. Diagnosing shingles before the appearance of the rash or in cases of zoster sine herpete (zoster without rash) can be challenging. In cases where the diagnosis is unclear, laboratory tests are available to help confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the clinical situation, testing can be done using either blood work (to detect antibodies to the varicella zoster virus) or by specialized testing of skin lesion samples.

What types of doctors treat shingles?

Shingles is most commonly diagnosed and treated by a primary-care physician (family practitioner, pediatrician, and internist) or an emergency-room physician. For certain individuals who develop complications of shingles, a specialist in ophthalmology, neurology, or infectious disease may also be involved. Select patients with postherpetic neuralgia may require the care of a pain specialist. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/18/2016
Shingles Pictures Slideshow: A Collection of Photos on Shingles


Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!