When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Shingles?
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 (quick follow-up with an ophthalmologist is recommended).
- 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.
See your doctor or go to an urgent care facility if the following 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
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2016
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