Shingles is a condition where there is a dormant infection caused by the varicella zoster virus that causes chicken pox. Once an individual has had chicken pox, the virus may remain dormant in the nerve cells. Shingles occur when the virus is reactivated in your nerve tissues. Once reactivated, it starts travelling from the nerve body to nerve endings that are in the skin. There are several symptoms that will be discussed below.
Generally, the symptoms of shingles take about two to four weeks for it to resolve. However, in some individuals, the nerve pain may persist for months or even years leading to the condition known as postherpetic neuralgia. Risk factors for shingles include advancing age, lowered immune function and having had chicken pox infection before the age of 18 months old. It is estimated that approximately 33% of the population had developed shingles at one point in life.
Shingles Symptom #1: Rash
The rash from shingles develops usually only on one side of the body. It is a painful rash that consists of blisters and will generally turn into scabs seven to ten days after it appears. The rashes can develop into patches of skin that feel rough, dry, and eventually start to blister.
The blisters are usually the worst part of the illness as they are painful and has a tendency to scar in some patients. It takes approximately two to four weeks for the rash to completely clear up. If you are unsure what your rashes mean, it is best to consult your doctor to ensure if it is shingles.