Shingles: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Shingles typically causes painful skin bumps or blisters. Even before the skin lesions appear, the pain of shingles can be severe. The skin pain is often described as a burning sensation of the skin with heightened sensitivity. The rash of shingles consists of red blisters that eventually burst and ooze. The rash occurs in a band-like distribution along the path of a nerve. The blisters eventually crust over (form a scab) and heal. Sometimes, symptoms like chills, diarrhea, and headache can occur as a person develops shingles. The nearby lymph nodes may be swollen.

Cause of shingles

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of an infection with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV, also referred to as the herpes zoster virus) that causes chickenpox.

Other shingles symptoms and signs


What Is the Main Cause of Shingles Rash? Signs, Symptoms, Vaccine See Slideshow

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.