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What Does The Beginning Of Shingles Feel Like

What Shingles Looks Like

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in seven to 10 days. The rash usually clears up within two to four weeks.

Most commonly, the rash occurs in a single stripe around either the left or right side of the body. In other cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face.

  • This picture shows the early signs of shingles on the neck and shoulder.

  • The painful, blistering rash usually erupts in a single stripe on either the left or right side of the face or body, along a nerve path.

  • The rash usually lasts from seven to 10 days with complete healing in two to four weeks.

Hives And The Shingles Rash Are Often Confused

Hives are another type of allergic reaction that can be confused with the shingles rash. Hives are red, itchy bumps and swollen areas of varying sizes that can appear anywhere on the body. The allergic reaction that prompts hives can come from exposure to certain medications, foods, latex, or a viral infection. A quarter of Americans will experience hives at least once in their lives, while one in three Americans over 60 will get the shingles virus. Hives will clear up on their own, but the process can take months.

Can You Get Shingles More Than Once

Some people are lucky enough to never get shingles, and most who get it will only experience that misery once. An article published by Harvard Medical School explains that the chance of getting shingles more than once is likely to be 5% or less.

That said, Ive had shingles around six times in the last dozen years, and nobody really knows why. Ive always caught it early on, and Ive even had shingles once when I was pregnant.

The last time I had it, however, I finally developed the rash. I noticed that my skin felt like it was burning, but I brushed it off as irritation from dry skin. A few days later I saw a rash on one side of my neck and chest.

My doctor saw me right away, and swabbed the blisters which had not yet broken open in order to confirm his visual diagnosis.

Because my daughter was a baby, she was breastfeeding and always on my hip. To help keep her safe, the doctor applied a thick covering and sent me home with lots of gauze and tape to keep the rash covered. I tried to avoid letting her touch that side of my body, just to be extra safe. This felt especially important due to the fact that she was too young to have had her first varicella vaccination.

Soon enough, the pain faded and the blisters healed, so I could take the big, ugly patches off.

To be safe, I also followed all of the CDCs rules for how to help prevent spreading the shingles virus, which are:

  • Cover the rash.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the rash.
  • Wash your hands often.

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What Shingles Symptoms Come Next

After about 1 to 5 days, a shingles rash will appear on one side of the body, often in a single characteristic band around one side of the torso or face.

The painful rash will then form itchy or burning blister-like sores filled with a clear fluid. The blisters will scab over in 7 to 10 days. Theyll gradually grow smaller before disappearing.

Shingles rash symptoms commonly last between 2 to 4 weeks.

How Do You Describe Shingles Rash

Experts sound alarm over shingles

. Then, what do shingles look like on skin?

The characteristic rash of shingles rash starts as small blisters on a red base. New blisters continue to form for three to five days. The blisters appear along the path of individual nerves in a specific ray-like distribution and appear in a band-like pattern over an area of skin.

Additionally, what triggers a shingles outbreak? Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Older adults and individuals with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk for developing shingles.

Keeping this in consideration, what does early stages of shingles look like?

Early symptoms of shingles may include fever and general weakness. You may also feel areas of pain, burning, or a tingling sensation. A few days later, the first signs of a rash appear. You may begin to notice pink or red blotchy patches on one side of your body.

What does a mild case of shingles look like?

Shingles follows a pattern: The first sign is often burning or tingling pain sometimes, it includes numbness or itching on one side of the body. Somewhere between 1 and 5 days after the tingling or burning feeling on the skin, a red rash will appear. A few days later, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.

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You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox

You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.

But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.

When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.

This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.

How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

If shingles is caught within the first three days of its outbreak, your healthcare provider may prescribe the antiviral medication acyclovir , valacyclovir or famciclovir . These medications help the rash/blisters heal faster, keep new sores from forming, decrease pain and itching and reduce length of pain after sores have healed.

If your shingles outbreak is not caught early, your healthcare providers has many options to manage your postherpetic neuralgia symptoms.

If your pain is mild, your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Acetaminophen or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen .
  • Creams and patches include lidocaine and capsaicin .

If your pain is more severe, your healthcare may prescribe:

  • Antiseizure drugs gabapentin and pregabalin .
  • Antidepressants, such as escitalopram , quetiapine or amitriptyline.
  • Botulinum toxin injections in the area where you are having pain.

Theres no clear-cut superior treatment for PHN. Your provider may need to try more than one medication or prescribe the use of several medications at the same time. You and your provider will discuss options and what makes sense to try for you. Contact your provider if your pain is not lessening after taking your medicine. Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.

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How Do I Know If I Have Shingles Or Just A Rash

At first, the shingles rash appears as small raised dots. One difference between shingles and other rashes is the pattern that develops. The shingles rash often develops in a pattern along the nerves of the chest and belly. A rash due to allergies or eczema may develop anywhere, including the legs and the arms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Postherpetic Neuralgia

What is Shingles?

Common postherpetic neuralgia symptoms include:

  • Burning, sharp, jagging or aching pain in the area where the shingles rash appeared.
  • Itchiness or numbness at or near the area of the former rash.
  • Pain that is constant or comes and goes. Pain typically lasts, on average, for three months after the rash has healed, but can last for more than a year or longer.
  • Pain at affected skin area can be brought on even with a light touch .
  • Pain gets worse at night or in heat or cold temperatures.

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Other Complications Of Shingles

If the shingles rash appears around the eye or forehead, it can cause eye infections and temporary or permanent loss of vision. If the shingles virus attacks the ear, people may develop hearing or balance problems. In rare cases, the shingles virus may attack the brain or spinal cord. These complications can often be prevented by beginning treatment for shingles as soon as possible.

Where A Shingles Rash Forms

A shingles rash typically occurs on the face, neck, or chest, on just one side of the body.

The affected area of skin is called a dermatome, a region supplied by the sensory fibers of a specific spinal nerve. Outbreaks can involve two adjacent dermatomes, but rarely two non-adjacent dermatomes.

The exception may be in people whose immune systems are severely comprised, such as those with advanced HIV infection. They’re often at risk of disseminated shingles , shingles of the eyes or internal organs, and a recurrence of shingles within six months.

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Who’s 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.

Who Should Not Get The Vaccine

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

Do not get the shingles vaccine if:

  • You have a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to any ingredient of a vaccine or to a previous dose of Shingrix
  • You have shingles now.
  • You are sick with an illness and a fever of 101°F or higher.

  • You should also consider delaying the vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about its safety for expectant and lactating women.
  • You have had a negative test for varicella this would be uncommon for adults eligible for the vaccine, as most adults worldwide ages 50 and older have been exposed to the virus. You do not have to be tested before getting the vaccine.

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Looking Back While Moving Ahead

What Herman wishes she knew with her first pregnancy she took into her secondwhen she gave birth to her 8-month-old daughter Emilia, she made sure to take it easy. This time I got enough rest. I got enough of the right food, nutrients, and vitamins. I did a lot of massageeverything I could do, I did. And it workedshe successfully side-stepped a reoccurrence.

Down the road, she definitely plans on getting the shingles vaccine when she turns 50, the age at which its FDA-approved for use. In the meantime, she is focused on the basics of keeping her immune system running smoothing: keeping stress levels low, prioritizing sleep, and not pushing herself when shes tired.

For anyone dealing with shingles, she recommends seeking out others who have been through it for support. At the time, I couldnt find any information about what recovery would look like or even what the prognosis was. It was sort of like going to this dark tunnel by yourself and not knowing what was going to happen or what the outcome would be. It would have helped to know it could be OK. I now know there is hopeeven if it doesnt always feel that way when youre in it.

What Are Symptoms Of Shingles

The first signs of shingles include:

  • Unusual sensations such as tingling, itching, or burning in an area of skin on one side of the body

After one to two days, signs and symptoms of shingles include:

  • A rash that looks like a band-like pattern of blisters on one side of the body
  • Commonly appears on the trunk but can appear on almost any part of the body
  • After three to four days, blisters become open sores
  • After 7 to 10 days, sores crust over and are no longer contagious
  • A rash near the eye that can permanently affect vision if not treated
  • Often starts several days before the rash appears
  • May range from mild to severe
  • May have a sharp, stabbing, or burning quality
  • Only involves the parts of the skin affected by the rash, but it can be severe and interfere with daily activities and sleep
  • Is often worse in older adults than in younger people
  • Skin color changes and scarring may occur after shingles have gone away.

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    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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    Coping With Shingles Pain

    The symptoms of shingles

    If you have shingles, you may be wondering how to cope with the pain:

    • Be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet to help boost your immune system.
    • Wear comfortable, loose clothing with natural fiber .
    • Establish or maintain a regular exercise routine.
    • Utilize home remedies to help soothe pain from blisters.
    • Engage in activities that help take your mind off of the pain.
    • Establish a routine to help manage stress.
    • Seek out support when needed from family and friends as well as professional supportive services.

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    How Is Shingles Treated

    Treatment is most effective when initiated within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash. Antiviral drugs can help recover faster and reduce the risk of complications.

    Shingles rash and blisters can cause severe pain and may not reduce with over-the-counter pain medication. Treatment of pain includes:

    • Antiseizure medicines
    • Over-the-counter pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
    • Prescription painkillers such as codeine for intense pain

    Who Is At Risk From Shingles

    Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles later in life. About one in three people who have not been immunised against chickenpox or shingles will get shingles in their lifetime.

    Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease. People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk of getting more severe disease, even if they are young.

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    How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated

    If you think you might have shingles, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Its important to see your doctor no later than three days after the rash starts. The doctor will confirm whether you have shingles and can make a treatment plan. Most cases can be diagnosed from a visual examination. If you have a condition that weakens the immune system, your doctor may order a shingles test. Although there is no cure for shingles, early treatment with antiviral medications can help the blisters clear up faster and limit severe pain. Shingles can often be treated at home.

    Am I Contagious If I Have Shingles

    Not Sure if it related to shingles, need your opinion : shingles

    Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. But someone who has never had chickenpox can contract VZV from a person with active shingles. They would then develop chickenpox, not shingles.

    Only direct contact with fluid from shingles blisters can transmit the virus. Keep shingles blisters covered with a fluid absorbent dressing to prevent others from contracting the virus.

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    Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse

    In some cases, shingles causes long-term complications. Treatment depends on the specific complication.

    • Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that lasts months or even years after the shingles rash heals. Certain medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids, can relieve pain. Most cases of PHN resolve within a year.
    • Disseminated zoster is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment may include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
    • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye, which could threaten your sight. You should seek prompt treatment from an ophthalmologist for this condition. Treatment may include rest, cool compresses, and antiviral medicines.
    • If the shingles virus affects the nerves originating in the brain , serious complications involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on the nature and location of the complication.

    The Stages Before And After Rash Development

    The most well-known symptom of shingles is a severe skin rash. However, before any signs of blisters, you may feel as if youre only coming down with the flu.

    You may experience chills and fever, as well as intense pain. Its not until a few days later that a rash finally joins these shingles symptoms, with clusters of tiny, pimple-like blisters progressing quickly once they appear.

    If youre familiar with the signs and symptoms of shingles, youll be able to recognize whats going on, get a diagnosis quickly, and deal with it without delay. Doing so makes you less likely to develop complications, such as nerve issues or bacterial skin infections.

    This article reviews the symptoms of shingles and what you need to know about potential complications.

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    How Is It Treated

    It is best to start treatment as soon as possible after you notice the rash. See your healthcare provider to discuss treatment with antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir. This medicine is most effective if you start taking it within the first 3 days of the rash. Antiviral medicine may speed your recovery and lessen the chance that the pain will last for a long time.

    Your provider may also recommend or prescribe:

    • medicine for pain
    • antibacterial salves or lotions to help prevent bacterial infection of the blisters
    • corticosteroids

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