Summary: What Does Shingles Look Like
Now that youve seen the shingles pictures above, review the key points about what to expect from the shingles rash.
- Shingles is the reactivation of chickenpox.
- The first shingles symptom is usually pain followed a few days later by a red rash across the torso.
- The red rash eventually develops fluid-filled blisters. While you have blisters, youre contagious.
- The blisters will pop and crust over.
- This shingles rash can be spread to any part of the body.
- You should seek immediate medical attention if you develop shingles on your eyes, forehead, face, or ears.
What Are The Health Complications
The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia . PHN causes severe pain even after the shingles rash clears.
People aged 60 years and older who dont seek treatment for shingles are more likely to develop PHN.
Shingles can also cause serious sight problems if it infects the structures of the eye.
Other rare complications include:
Whos At Risk For Shingles
Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can get shingles, but the risk increases with age. People older than age 60 are up to 10 times more likely to get shingles than younger people. Other factors that increase your risk include:
- Some cancer medicines
- A weak immune system from illnesses such as cancer or HIV
A quarter of adults will develop shingles at some point, and most are otherwise healthy.
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What Are Possible Causes Of Numbness In Hands
Numbness in the hands can have many causes, which run from mild and temporary to serious medical conditions. The most common cause is damage or compression of the nerves in the hand.
Other causes of numbness in the hands include:
- Nerve damage in the hands, arm or neck
- A herniated disc that puts pressure on the spinal nerves
- Nerve pressure caused by tumors, infection, or enlarged blood vessels
- Toxicology reports
- Tests of your electrolyte levels
Several other tests may be done to rule out serious causes such as tumors and strokes. These include:
- CT scans of the head and spine
- MRI of the head and spine
- Ultrasound of neck vessels
- Angiogram to see insider the blood vessels for congestion
- Lumbar puncture to check for nervous system disorders
- Electromyography to check your nerve stimulation
Once your healthcare provider has determined the cause of your hand numbness, he or she will determine the best way to treat the underlying condition of this symptom.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/08/2018.
Home Remedies For Shingles
Self-care for shingles at home includes:
- applying calamine lotion or other creams to soothe the skin and relieve pain
- cleaning the rash area gently to prevent bacterial infection
- placing cool compresses on blisters to lessen pain and help the blisters heal
- drinking plenty of water and other healthy liquids
- reducing stress as much as possible, such as walking every day and eating nutritious food
- resting, contact your doctor if pain is making it difficult to sleep
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Shingles Risks And Pregnancy
Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described previously are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. Women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen in the later stages of pregnancy, but acetaminophen is considered safe. Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection.
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Home Care For Shingles
Colloidal oatmeal baths are an old standby for relieving the itch of chickenpox and can help with shingles, as well. To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Gentle exercise or a favorite activity may help keep your mind off the discomfort.
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What Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Look Like
Not everyone with shingles will develop a blistering rash. A mild case of shingles may include a red rash without blisters. The shingles rash and blisters are distinct characteristics of the illness. Mild cases of shingles do not usually cause headaches, fever, or fatigue.
Whether mild or severe, pain is the most common symptom of shingles. Most people describe a deep burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensation. The pain usually subsides within 30 days.
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Herpes Zoster On The Hand And Fingers
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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Stage : Tingling Burning Skin Sensations
Common places for the rash to develop include around the waistline, chest, or back, usually on one side of the body. It may also occur on one side of the scalp, face or neck, or on one arm or leg.
Shingles Rash On Fingers: Pain Symptoms Treatment And Pictures
The human hands are a marvel of animal evolution. That thumb has given our species powers beyond any other on the planet. To honor hands, lets celebrate with some unusual facts about these appendages. Dig into these 10 amazing facts about hands:
- The hand has 123 ligaments, 29 joints, and 27 bones.
- Outside of primates opossums, pandas, and koalas all have opposable thumbs.
- Fingers do not have muscles. The phalanges are controlled by ligaments attached to muscles in the forearm.
- Males tend to have a longer ring finger than an index finger. Females are the opposite.
- Hand surgeons say the index finger is the easiest to lose because it is the least important to functionality .
- We chose the ring finger for engagement rings because of its Vena amoris, a vein that runs directly to the heart.
- It takes approximately 6 months for a fingernail to grow from root to tip.
- Fingernails are composed of the same organic material as hair.
- The wrinkles on knuckles are formed because thats where the skin is directly attached to the tendon.
With such a fondness for our hands, because they give us so much joy and opportunity, it is a major bummer when problems arise.
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- Shingles Rash: Symptoms, Treatment, Contagious Period and Pictures
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Should I See A Doctor For Shingles
It is usually worth seeing a doctor to be certain about the diagnosis and to see if you need treatment or not. Ideally you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the rash appears.
The rash of shingles can be very painful. So even if the doctor doesnt think you need an anti-shingles medicine, they may be able to give you stronger painkillers than those you can buy over the counter from the chemist.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles
Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash on your skin. If you get shingles, you may notice the following:
Before the rash appears: For 1 to 2 days before the rash appears, you may have pain, burning, or tingling on an area of skin where the rash will develop. Some people say they felt an electrical sensation on their skin before getting the rash.
Rash appears: A painful, blistering rash appears. It usually appears on one side of your body, often on the torso however, it can appear anywhere on your skin. Some people get more blisters after the rash appears, so it can seem that the rash is spreading.
Rash starts to clear: As the rash clears, the blisters may crack open, bleed, and scab over. For most people, the rash will clear within 2 to 4 weeks.
Although the rash will clear on its own, treatment is important. Taking medication within 3 days of getting the shingles rash can:
Reduce your risk of developing other health problems, such as long-lasting nerve pain, pneumonia, or hearing loss
Shingles rash on the face
If you have a shingles rash on your face, immediately seeing a doctor for treatment could save your eyesight.
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What Is Shingles Common Symptoms
Shingles is an illness caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. It inflames sensory nerves and can result in severe pain. It causes localized pain, numbness, and itching, followed by the appearance of clustered blisters in a strip pattern on one side of the body. Sometimes the pain can persist for weeks, months, or years after the rash heals . The term “shingles” is derived from the Latin word cingulum, meaning girdle — the idea being that the shingles rash often encircles the side of the body.
How Can I Prevent The Spread Of The Shingles Virus
The virus can be passed to a person who has never had chickenpox. This usually happens if the other person comes in contact with your open sores. This person may get chickenpox, but not shingles. You are contagious until your blisters scab over. Stay away from people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Avoid pregnant women, newborns, and people with weak immune systems. They have a higher risk of infection.
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a childs diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
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What Can Be Mistaken For Shingles
Shingles can sometimes be mistaken for another skin conditions, such as hives, psoriasis, or eczema. Share on Pinterest A doctor should always be consulted if shingles is suspected. The characteristics of a rash may help doctors identify the cause. For example, hives are often raised and look like welts.
What Are The Stages Of Shingles Symptoms
There are no formal, clinical stages of shingles, but symptoms generally fall into three stages. Beginning to end, shingles can last 24 weeks.
Contact your doctor right away if you have symptoms of shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medication may help lessen the severity, speed recovery time, and lower the potential for complications.
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Serious Symptoms That Might Indicate Complications Of Shingles
In some cases, shingles can affect the nerves of the face, eyes, or ears and cause serious symptoms and complications, such as facial paralysis or impaired vision and hearing. Get prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of shingles, particularly the following symptoms or conditions:
- painful, widespread rash, a symptom of disseminated shingles
- weakened immune system caused by a chronic condition or immune-suppressing medications
- rash near your eyes or involving the tip of the nose
Common Symptoms Of Shingles
The most common symptoms of shingles are:
- sensation of an itching, tingling, or severe burning or shooting pain that precedes a rash
- painful rash in a band or patch-like shape over the affected area
- fluid-filled blisters that eventually dry out, crust over, and heal
Other symptoms may include chills, upset stomach, fever, and headache.
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How Does It Occur
If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.
What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.
What Are Complications Of Shingles
Shingles can have complications that last long after the rash has disappeared. Complications can also occur if the infection has not been treated appropriately:
- Inflammation of the brain
- fever and/or headache
See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any shingles symptoms, as the sooner you start treatment, the more effective it is.
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Is Shingles On The Scalp Contagious
The answer isnt exactly straightforward. Whether or not its contagious depends on who you come into contact with.
- Fact: Shingles is triggered when the varicella-zoster virus becomes active after an extended period of hibernation. What this means is that you cant directly pass shingles from one person to another, like you would the flu or an STI. If you come into contact with someone when you have shingles, theyre not at risk of catching it from you.
If you pass the virus on to someone who hasnt been exposed to it, you might give them chickenpox. When the varicella-zoster virus first infects a person, it comes out as chickenpox. Most people develop chickenpox in childhood, so its unlikely that youd give it to an adult. If the person does develop chickenpox from exposure to your virus, they may go on to develop shingles later in life. They wont get it directly from you, though.
If the person has already had chickenpox before, theyre not usually at risk. This is because their body will have developed antibodies against chickenpox. Although it is technically possible for someone to catch chickenpox a second time, it is very rare.
Its also worth noting that youre only contagious when your blisters are open and oozing fluid. Once they scab over again, its almost impossible to pass the virus on.
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Eczema Can Cause Red Itchy Skin With Bumps
Like shingles, a skin allergy can also cause red, bumpy, itchy skin, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . These reactions include eczema, hives, and contact dermatitis. Eczema can cause dry, red, itchy, irritated skin, per the ACAAI. Small, oozing, fluid-filled bumps may also appear, especially when the skin is infected. Eczema is most common on the face, inside the elbows and behind the knees, and on the hands and feet, per MedlinePlus. There is no cure for eczema, but treatments can help manage the condition.
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Who Would Have Thought Amandas Story
The first time I had shingles, I noticed my left leg was extremely itchy just hours before leaving for work. I didnt think much of it I just thought I had an itch, so I kept scratching. But soon, my leg wasnt just itchy, I began to feel a lot of pain in the area I was scratching. The clinics werent open because it was the weekend, so I went to the emergency room. The ER doctor diagnosed me with shingles and prescribed Acyclovir®. With the help of Acyclovir, this first episode of shingles cleared up quickly, only lasting about four or five days. I didnt have any residual effects or pain after the first episode. I thought I was done with it. That was seven years ago.
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
Shingles often starts with a burning, tingling, or painful sensation along one side of the torso or head. Within one to five days, a rash will appear. Within a few days, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters. The blisters will start to dry up about a week later, and will begin to disappear over the next several weeks. Some people only experience mild itching, but others have intense pain.
If you think you may have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you see blisters on your face or near your eye. Shingles can cause hearing or vision loss, especially if you dont get treatment for it.
No matter where your rash appears, you should seek medical treatment quickly. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments to help the blisters dry up and heal. This can reduce the duration of the outbreak and your discomfort.
No cure is available for shingles, but most people who have an outbreak get it only once.
Doing the following at home may help you to feel more comfortable:
- Get lots of rest.
- Use cool washcloths on your rash.
- Take oatmeal baths.
- Keep your stress to a minimum.
You should keep the rash covered and wash your hands often to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Shingles isnt contagious, but you can give someone chickenpox while you have it.
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