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Symptoms and Signs of Shingles

Doctor's Notes on Shingles

Shingles is a skin disease caused by a reactivation of infection with the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. It is also referred to as Herpes zoster and occurs many years after the original chickenpox infection, most often in older adults. Shingles is also more common in people with weakened immune systems.

Shingles produces characteristic signs and symptoms on one side of the body. A painful skin rash is common and may be preceded by a few days of tingling, stinging, itching, or burning of the affected area of skin. The rash is red, raised, and contains fluid-filled blisters. The rash appears in a stripe pattern along the path of a nerve, known as a dermatome. Associated symptoms can include headache, body aches, fever, chills, and nausea.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.