Learn What to Expect When You Have Shingles

Shingles are characterized by a painful rash, itching, and burning skin that lasts 3 to 5 weeks. Although most people only get shingles once, the virus might reoccur.


Shingle is a viral virus that affects about one in every three persons in the United States. Adults over the age of 60 accounts for around half of all shingles cases.

Because the varicella-zoster virus causes both shingles and chickenpox, it can arise in anyone who has had chickenpox (VZV). After chickenpox has cleared, this virus stays in the body and can reactivate at any time, resulting in shingles.

Shingles symptoms typically appear on one side of the face or body. In addition, they frequently only affect a small area. Although they can appear anywhere, the most commonplace is on the side of the waist.

Symptoms’ Timeline

After many days of early symptoms, a red rash commonly develops.


Shingles can cause skin irritation or pain several days before the rash emerges. Among the other early symptoms are:

General Annoyance

Itching, numbness, and tingling are all symptoms of hot skin irritation.

A red rash will typically appear around the sensitive area within the next 1 to 5 days. Fluid-filled blisters will form at the crash site a few days later.

Within 10 days of emerging, the blisters will flow before drying up. Scabs will grow on the skin at this point, and they will usually recover within 2 weeks.

Other symptoms that may accompany the skin sensitivity and rash include:

  • chills\sfatigue\sfever
  • a headache, malaise, or a feeling of being ill, nausea
  • light sensitivity
  • If the shingles occur near the eyes, a person’s vision may be compromised.

It should be emphasized that the severity of shingles symptoms varies from minor to severe, with some people suffering itching and mild discomfort and others experiencing acute pain.

Complications that could arise

The majority of shingles instances recover without creating long-term consequences. However, there are certain potential snags:

Herpes zoster neuropathy (PHN)

Post-herpetic neuropathy (PHN) is a common shingles consequence. It refers to nerve damage that causes pain and burning even after the infection has cleared up shingles.

According to some estimates, up to 20% of those who acquire shingles develop PHN, with older folks being especially vulnerable.

PHN is difficult to treat, and the symptoms might continue for years. However, most people recover completely within a year.

It is unknown why some people who get shingles acquire PHN. However, the following are risk factors for PHN:

  • a weaker immune system experiencing discomfort during the early stages of a shingles infection advanced age experiencing severe shingles covering a big section of the skin
  • According to some researchTrusted Source, older women who experience significant pain and rash signs have a 50% likelihood of acquiring PHN.