Symptoms and
Treatment for Shingles

What are shingles?

Shingles is a disease that is caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. This virus remains in the body even after you’ve recovered from chickenpox, and years later, it may reappear as shingles. Similar to chickenpox, shingles can occur anywhere on your body — although it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wrap around either side of your torso. Unlike chickenpox, however, you can’t catch shingles from someone who has the disease.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

The first sign of shingles is shooting pain, which can be mild or very severe. This pain is often accompanied by a tingling, itching, or burning sensation on one side of the body or the face. A few days after the pain, a red rash with blisters will begin to form — lasting one to fourteen days. If shingles appear on your face, your vision or hearing may be affected. Some individuals with shingles will also have a fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and fatigue. The pain of shingles may last for weeks, months, or even years after your blisters heal.

How does ID Care diagnose shingles?

Because the symptoms of shingles are so distinctive — pain on one side of the body as well as the telltale rash and blisters — ID Care specialists often make a diagnosis through a simple examination. If necessary, we may also take a scraping of your blisters to examine in the laboratory.

How does ID Care treat shingles?

Although there is no cure for shingles, receiving early treatment at ID Care ensures you’ll receive the specific medication you need to attack the virus and prevent lingering pain. Typically, we prescribe antiviral drugs because these can expedite the healing process and reduce your risk of complications in the future. If you’re experiencing severe pain, our team of specialists may also recommend numbing agents, such as lidocaine, either as a cream, gel, spray, or skin patch.

How can I protect myself from shingles?

Shingles is preventable. Find an ID Care location near you to receive the shingles vaccine — which is prescribed for people 60 years of age and older. In addition, the chickenpox vaccine can also reduce your chances of developing either of these diseases.