Shingles

Shingles example

What is shingles?

Shingles is a disease that arises when the chickenpox virus reactivates. This results in a painful, blistering rash. The cause of reactivation is uncertain but may be related to weakening of the immune system.

Symptoms

  1. Area of skin usually on one side of the body may burn, itch, or feel sensitive (1-3 days).
  2. A rash appears in this area.
  3. The rash turns into a cluster of clear blisters. The blisters may turn yellow or bloody before they crust over and heal (2-3 weeks).
  4. The blisters are often very painful. Pain lasts until the blisters clear.
  5. Flu-like symptoms such as a fever or headache may also result from the rash.

Who gets shingles?

A person must have had chickenpox to get shingles. Of those who have had chicken pox, the following people are more susceptible:

Shingles example

Is shingles contagious?

A person with shingles can spread the virus to anyone. If the virus spreads to someone who has not had chickenpox, he/she will get chicken pox rather than shingles. The virus is not spread by air, but instead from skin to skin contact.

How does the virus spread?

The virus spreads if the infected person has uncovered, open blisters and someone directly touches these blisters. The blisters are no longer contagious once they form scabs.

Treatment

Learn more at the American Academy of Dermatology: AAD Shingles.

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