Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It often appears as a stripe of blisters across either side of you torso.
The first symptom is usually unilateral (only on one side of the body) pain, tingling, or burning of the skin. This is followed by a red rash and then blisters. The blisters eventually break and form dry, crusty scabs on the skin. Some patients may feel ill and have fever or chills. Shingles is most common in older persons or those with immune systems weakened by medications or disease.
The main symptoms associated with shingles include:
- Sensations of pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- A red rash that begins a few days after the pain, usually on only one side of the torso
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Sensitivity to light
Don’t wait if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. If you have shingles long term damage to the skin can occur if you do not receive appropriate treatment. Contact us to meet with Dr. Mary Noël George for an appointment so she can help you prevent long term damage.
Treatment is best if started early and includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the symptoms, as well as reduce the pain and complications of the condition.
Some patients may have lingering symptoms such as chronic pain called post-herpetic neuralgia. Set up an appointment immediately if you have a new eruption that you think may be shingles.