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Shingles (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If a person develops pain or a rash in a band on one side of their body, they should seek medical care as soon as possible. Antiviral medications are effective only if given early (24-72 hours after the rash develops).

  • If the rash with blisters is on a person's nose or near the eyes, they should be seen by a health-care professional immediately because the virus may spread to the eye and cause eye damage or vision loss.
  • Individuals should also receive care as soon as possible if they have a medical illness that decreases their ability to fight off infection; these people may be able to avoid complications if treated in the early stage of shingles.
  • The development of shingles in pregnant women is very uncommon; although shingles poses little or no risk for the fetus, the mother may require treatment with antiviral medication. Pregnant women with shingles should seek a doctor to manage their care. In contrast, pregnant women who develop chickenpox may have a risk to the fetus; these individuals need to seek care immediately.

Go to a hospital's emergency department if these conditions develop:

  • Pain, redness, or rash (with or without blisters) on the face, especially if near the eye(s)
  • Shingles patients who develop a high fever or feel sick
  • If the blisters continue spreading to other areas of the body

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Herpes Zoster »

Herpes zoster (shingles) is 1 of 2 distinctive manifestations of human infection with the varicella-zoster virus(VZV), the other being varicella (chickenpox).

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