How To Identify Shingles

how to identify shingles

Shingles is a skin rash with blisters caused by the same virus as chicken pox. Therefore, if you had chicken pox as a child, the virus is in your system and will be forever. Most times, this isn’t a problem, but the virus may become active again later in life. One in three adults over the age of sixty will be affected. Keep reading to learn more about the virus, how to recognize the symptoms, and how to treat the rash to reduce the discomfort.

Early Signs

Before you see blisters, you may feel tingling, itching, pain, or numbness in an area of your body one to five days prior to a rash. If you’ve been in contact with someone with shingles, your chances are even greater of getting shingles too. Call your doctor if you are feeling any pain or discomfort – especially if there is a pale pink striped pattern on your skin. Your doctor can prescribe an antiviral drug to reduce the symptoms.

Symptoms are generally focused on one side of your body because the virus attacks the nerves and the areas connected to them. The most common parts affected is the torso or one side of the neck, face, or shoulder. However, if you have a weakened immune system due to a variety of health conditions, (HIV, cancer, etc.) the virus may spread to both sides of your body.

Prior to an outbreak, shingles can also cause flu-like symptoms. If you have a headache, chills, fever, or an upset stomach, this may be an early warning sign of shingles.

The Shingles Rash

A day or two after the itching, tingling, or initial feeling of pain subsides, your skin may develop a painful red rash. A fortunate few will get the painful burning sensation but never develop a rash or blisters.

Painful blisters will soon erupt with the rash. They generally appear in a group and are filled with a clear fluid. Don’t touch them! If you scratch or touch the blisters, you can and will spread the infection to other areas or to other people. Wash your hands often and keep the blisters covered in order to avoid spreading the virus. A cold, wet compress can relieve some of the burning and itching.

In seven to ten days, the blisters will begin to heal and form scabs. And in two to four weeks, these scabs will clear up. Although it may itch, it is still important not to touch the affected area. It is imperative you have your rash checked by a doctor to avoid complications or infection, especially if the rash has spread to your face.

After Effects of Shingles

Once the signs of shingles disappear, you may be left with dark spots or scars on your skin. These will fade with time, but not soon enough if they are on your face or neck. When your doctor allows you to, apply Skintrium’s F&F Enhanced Facial Spot Eraser to help fade those areas, remove uneven color, and return your natural glow. Put the painful memories of shingles behind you.