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Shingles Symptoms & Diagnosis


If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to shingles. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

  • Rash:
    • Red, slightly raised band or patch often overlain with multiple small fluid-filled blisters
    • Develops on one side of the body or the other, but typically does not cross the midline
    • Spread to multiple parts of the body—the so-called “disseminated” zoster (in severe cases)
    • Blisters dry out and crust (within several days)
    • Affects mostly the torso and face
  • Affected eyes (in severe cases), which can seriously threaten vision
  • Pain on the skin at the site of the rash (usually severe)
  • Tingling or itchiness on the skin, which may start a few days before the rash
  • Skin in the affected area is unusually sensitive to touch
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

The rash disappears within three weeks. The pain may continue months or years after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN pain is difficult to treat. It can also be very severe.


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He can diagnose the rash by its appearance. He may draw fluids from the blisters for testing. But this is rare.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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