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The majority of people who get shingles have signs and symptoms that last about three to five weeks. However, about 50% of those over 60 years of age who don't get treated may develop postherpetic neuralgia, a condition that can result in chronic mild to even excruciating pain. This occurs because shingles viruses can damage the nerves in the skin. Postherpetic neuralgia may last for months to years.
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Moon, James E. "Herpes Zoster." Medscape.com. May 11, 2011. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/218683-overview>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Shingles (Herpes Zoster)." May 1, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/>.