Shingles: Causes & Symptoms

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Each year, there are 1-3 cases per 1,000 people, and while that number seems small, it is a very uncomfortable and unsightly condition, so any relief is appreciated.

What are Shingles?

Shingles are an extremely irritating and contagious form of herpes called herpes zoster. The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox during childhood causes this condition. When the chickenpox passes, that virus remains in your body and can manifest years later as shingles. The virus tends to affect small sections of the body, and the rash can last for 2-4 weeks. However, shingles can be more dangerous than chickenpox because the large blisters are prone to infection, particularly if they are opened.



The varicella-zoster virus tends to affect small sections of the body, and the rash can last for 2-4 weeks. The following symptoms are experienced by sufferers:

  • Sharp pain, itching, burning, and numbness or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • An angry, red rash that forms a few days after the pain
  • Fluid-filled blisters that burst open and form scabs or crusts

Some people might also experience:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Weakness
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands)
  • Upset stomach
  • Joint pain and muscular pain or fatigue

It is very rare, but shingles can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, encephalitis, or death. This may happen if the condition is left untreated, and the person has a weak immune system.

If the rash appears on the face, additional symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty moving the facial muscles
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Loss of hearing
  • Impaired eye motion
  • Problems with taste
  • Vision problems

However, while there is not an immediate cure or a perfect solution to this virus, there are certain things you can do at home to lessen the severity of the condition, and make your term of illness slightly more comfortable.

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