Frequently Asked Questions

3. What are the symptoms of shingles?

The first symptoms usually include burning, itching, or tingling sensations on the back, chest, or around the rib cage or waist. In other cases, it can be the face or eye area that is involved. The affected area can become extremely painful. This is when most people go to a healthcare provider to find out what is causing the pain.

Some people report feeling feverish and weak during the early stages. Usually within 48 to 72 hours, a red, blotchy rash develops on the affected area. The rash erupts into small blisters that look like chickenpox. The blisters tend to be clustered in one specific area, rather than being scattered all over the body like chickenpox. The torso or face are the parts most likely to be affected, but on occasion, shingles breaks out in the lower body. The burning sensation in the rash area is often accompanied by shooting pains.

After the blisters erupt, the open sores take a week or two to crust over. The sores are usually gone within another two weeks. The pain may diminish somewhat, but it often continues for months -- and can go on for years.