Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, can be a very painful and uncomfortable skin condition. The physicians at Village Dermatology in Houston treat shingles on a regular basis, and they are here to answer your questions.
Shingles shows up as a painful rash on one side of the body. The rash appears as grouped blisters on a red base, and these blisters typically scab over in about 7 to 10 days. The entire rash usually clears up by about 2 to 4 weeks, although post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can result.
Before the rash develops, people often notice a strange pain, tingling, or itching in the area where the rash will develop. This sensation can happy anywhere form 1 to 5 days before the rash can appear. Once the rash occurs, it typically appears as a single grouped stripe on either the left or right side of the body. In some cases, the rash can occur on one side of the face. In very rare cases, shingles can be more widespread and resemble chicken pox, but this is usually in people with suppressed immune symptoms. The classic appearance of shingles is a rash that does not cross the middle of the body -- the lesions appear on one side of the body and abruptly stop at the middle.
Other symptoms that can be associated with shingles include fever, chills, headache, upset stomach, or general fatigue. In some instances, the pain can be very severe and it can sometimes linger well after resolution of the skin lesions. Fortunately, the cause of shingles is known, and both treatment and a vaccine are available.