Other Complications Some Severe Include:
- Bacterial infection of the rash
- Herpes zoster ophthalmicus causes eye problems when shingles is severe on the face, near the eyes, impacting sight. When very severe, blindness can occur
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome causes problems within the ear’s auditory canal or external parts. It is accompanied by ear pain, internal or external blisters, and one-sided facial paralysis
When To Call A Doctor
- Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
- Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia .
If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have PHN. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.
How Do You Describe Shingles Rash
. 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.
Don’t Miss: Can You Use Neosporin On Shingles
Key Points About Shingles
- Shingles is a common viral infection of the nerves. It causes a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin.
- Shingles is caused when the chickenpox virus is reactivated.
- It is more common in people with weakened immune systems, and in people over the age of 50.
- Shingles starts with skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, and/or pain followed by rash that looks like small, red spots that turn into blisters.
- The rash is typically affects just one area on one side of the body or face.
- Treatment that is started as soon as possible helps reduce the severity of the disease.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.
You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.
Don’t Miss: Why Do We Get Shingles
What Does Shingles Feel And Look Like
A viral infection, shingles cause an outbreak of a painful rash that may appear as a band-like rash of fluid-filled blisters along one area of your body. For most patients, the rash is usually on one side of the body, where the nerve is located. Shingles won’t typically spread over your whole body but is localized to that particular nerve distribution.
Shingles Rash In The Eyes
Ophthalmic shingles, or herpes zoster ophthalmicus , is when the shingles rash is in and/or around the eye. It is a severe variant that affects 20% of people with the infection.
If you develop a shingles rash near your eye, contact your healthcare provider right away.
lauraag / Getty Images
HZO usually appears within two to four weeks after a shingles rash starts. People who have a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are at higher risk for developing this.
All parts of the eye can be affected. For example:
- You can develop blisters around the eye that may cause the eyelids and surrounding area to swell.
- The corneaâthe transparent part over the front of the eyeâcan be affected, causing calcification .
- Blood vessels in the eye could become more pronounced blood flow to the eye could be impacted.
To reduce your risk of long-term eye complications, contact your healthcare provider right away if you have a shingles rash on your face.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Feel With Shingles
What Causes Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia results from damage to nerve fibers during shingles infection. The nerve fibers at the skin in the affected area send exaggerated pain signals to your brain. Postherpetic neuralgia means nerve pain after herpes. Shingles is also called herpes zoster.
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Once youve had chickenpox, the virus remains in your body for your entire life, but is dormant or silent for years. When the virus becomes reactivated, it causes shingles. A certain percentage of people who get shingles develop PHN.
Tingling Sensations Or Numbness
In addition to their flu-like symptoms, many shingles patients report tingling or numbness just before the shingles rash develops. These sensations typically occur in the same area of the body that the shingles rash later affects.
Not only that, but these sensations can also result in extreme sensitivity to touch. Patients often also report itching and burning. It’s believed that these sensations are the result of the shingles virus affecting nerve roots, which in turn respond to any stimulation, even on a microscopic level. For patients, it can seem like they’re experiencing burning or tingling for no reason at all.
You May Like: What Age Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine
Can Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a shingles vaccine, which can reduce your chance of getting shingles and PHN. The recombinant herpes-zoster vaccine is recommended to prevent shingles in adults ages 50 and older. The vaccination is given in two doses, two to six months apart. The two-dose vaccine is 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection lasts at least for four years after you get vaccinated.
If you have never had chickenpox or have children who have never had chickenpox, getting the chickenpox vaccine can help prevent getting this infection in the first place. If you never get chickenpox, you will not have the varicella-zoster virus in your body and will not get shingles or PHN.
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
Also Check: Is The Shingles Vaccine Expensive
If I Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Im 100% Protected From Getting Shingles
No, just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles. Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, the painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.
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.
Symptoms And Treatment For Shingles Rash
The first symptom of the shingles rash is usually a burning or shooting pain, generally on one side of the body or face. One to three days later, a viral rash will erupt and eventually form pus-filled blisters like those of chicken pox. The blisters remain for as long as two weeks before crusting over and fading away. All patients who suspect they have shingles should seek medical attention. Studies show that not treating shingles worsens post-herpetic neuralgia pain.
You May Like: Walgreens Shingle Vaccine Cost
What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
Usually, shingles develops on just one side of the body or face, and in a small area. The most common place for shingles to occur is in a band around one side of the waistline.
Most people with shingles have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Tingling, itching, or numbness of the skin
- Chills, fever, headache, or upset stomach
For some people, the symptoms of shingles are mild. They might just have some itching. For others, shingles can cause intense pain that can be felt from the gentlest touch or breeze. Its important to talk with your doctor if you notice any shingles symptoms.
If you notice blisters on your face, see your doctor right away because this is an urgent problem. Blisters near or in the eye can cause lasting eye damage and blindness. Hearing loss, a brief paralysis of the face, or, very rarely, inflammation of the brain can also occur.
Don’t Miss: How Effective Is The New Shingles Vaccine
What Are The Symptoms And Stages Shingles
Shingles symptoms appear in stages. At first, you may get headaches or feel like you have the flu, but without a fever. You may also be sensitive to light, have trouble thinking clearly or feel dizzy and weak.
A few days or even weeks later, an area of your body or face will feel itchy, tingly or painful. This is where a rash will appear. The rash will eventually turn into a cluster of blisters that are filled with fluid.
If the rash involves the ear, it can lead to hearing loss, imbalance, and weakness of the facial muscles. Shingles rash on the scalp causes pain while combing or brushing and bald patches. Shingles can occur in the mouth and are usually very painful, causing pain while eating and change in taste.
- Shingles of the eye and forehead
Rash and blisters appear around the eye, over the eyelids and one side of the forehead, extending to the tip of the nose. Patients present with burning or throbbing in the eye, with watering of the eyes, swelling, and blurred vision.
Pain may be present after the rash disappears due to nerve damage but eventually improves. Without treatment, it can lead to corneal damage and vision loss.
- Shingles on the waist and back
- Shingles on the buttocks
What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Postherpetic Pain
Theres no standard treatment for the symptoms of postherpetic pain . Depending on the severity of your pain, you may start with over-the-counter products. If your pain is more severe, one or more prescription medications may be tried. PHN is difficult to treat. Achieving a complete symptom-free state was achieved in less than half the patients with PHN, according to one study.
PHN tends to happen in older individuals who may have other health conditions, which can complicate treatment and results. Pain can last weeks, months and even longer than a year. In some people, the pain can be debilitating. In most people, PHN lessens with time.
A note from Cleveland ClinicThe best way to not get postherpetic neuralgia is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. Vaccines are available to protect against developing both of these viral infections.
Once you develop chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains in your body for life. If the virus reactivates and causes shingles, you have a few days around the rash outbreak to see your provider and get an antiviral medication, which can significantly lessen your symptoms. Still, if you develop PHN, your provider has many medications available to manage your symptoms.
How Long Will The Effects Last
The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.
If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.
When They Start How Long They Last
The shingles vaccine is given in a two-shot series. You may experience side effects after the first, second, or both shots. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild and occur immediately following vaccination. They typically only last for two or three days.
Side effects of the shingles vaccine are more common in younger people, and might interrupt your normal daily activities for a few days.
This may seem like a downside of the shingles vaccine, but remember that these symptoms are a result of the creation of a strong shingles defense within your body.
It is OK to take Tylenol or Advil after a shingles vaccine to relieve symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids may help, too.
Also Check: How Often To Get Shingles Shot
What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles infection . Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash and other symptoms. The rash most commonly occurs in a band pattern on one side of your body, usually on your trunk . The rash turns into blisters. As the rash/blisters go away, pain may remain. When pain remains, the condition is called postherpetic neuralgia.
Can Shingles Cause Chronic Pain
In some people, the pain of shingles may linger for months or even years after the rash has healed. This pain, due to damaged nerves in and beneath the skin, is known as postherpetic neuralgia. Others feel a chronic itch in the area where the rash once was. In severe cases, the pain or itching may be bad enough to cause insomnia, weight loss, or depression.
Read Also: How To Care For Someone With Shingles
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
Getting A Diagnosis Was Shocking But Quick
I also need to stress how lucky I felt and still feel that the doctor who saw me took one look at my rash and said, You have shingles. Because, as Ive since learned, so many cases of shingles are mistaken by doctors for something else, which is frightening: If the condition isnt treated immediately, it can lead to lasting nerve damage, which can lead to lasting pain. That pain is called postherpetic neuralgia, and it can affect up to 20 percent of those who develop shingles, according to MedlinePlus. The older you are, the higher your risk, notes the National Institute on Aging.
Read Also: Walgreen Shingles Vaccine Cost
Read Also: What Medication Helps With Shingles
Facial Pain And Eye Damage
Between 10% and 15% of the time, shingles affects the trigeminal gangliona triple-branched nerve that provides sensation to structures in the face. The medical term for head or facial pain due to shingles is “painful trigeminal neuropathy attributed to herpes zoster.”
Specifically, the trigeminal ganglion involves the eye the cheek and the mandibular branch . Of these, the ophthalmic branch is the one most commonly affected by herpes zoster.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology , 25% of the 300,000 to 500,000 cases of shingles that occur each year are herpes zoster ophthalmicus .
HZO can affect any part of the eye, from the optic nerve to the conjunctiva . Without antiviral treatment, almost half of people who have shingles near the eye will experience eye damage or even lose an eye, so it’s vital to see an ophthalmologist immediately.