Shingles: Symptoms & Signs

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.

REFERENCE:

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

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2017

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