Shingles: The warning signs that appear ‘several days’ before the rash – ‘See a doctor’

Shingles: Symptoms and effects of virus

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You probably haven’t thought about chickenpox since your childhood. However, the same virus, known as varicella-zoster, can also trigger shingles later in life. From a rash to fever, there are plenty of tell-tale signs which can help you spot it.

Although shingles are characterised by a tell-tale rash, there are three signs that might precede this symptom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that pain, itching or tingling can crop up first.

These three signs will appear in the area where your rash will develop later.

These three signs could develop “several days” before your rash.

Once the rash does occur, it usually affects only a small section of one side of your body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs pointing to shingles include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching.

CDC notes that the rash will most commonly appear as a single stripe around either your left or right side.

It can also crop up on one side of your face, with shingles on the face being able to affect the eye and even cause vision loss.

“In rare cases (usually in people with weakened immune systems), the rash may be more widespread on the body and look similar to a chickenpox rash,” the CDC adds.

Apart from the rash, shingles could also leave you feeling generally ill.

The Mayo Clinic explains that some people might experience fever, headache, fatigue or sensitivity to light.

The health portal advises to “see a doctor” if you suspect having shingles.

The NHS adds it’s “important” to act fast when you spot the signs as you might need medicine to help aid your recovery and avoid long-lasting problems.

It explains that medicine will work best when taken within the first three days of your symptoms.

What are shingles?

Shingles describe a viral infection that causes a painful rash.

This painful condition all comes down to the varicella-zoster virus.

Once you’ve had chickenpox, this virus lies dormant in your nervous system but might be reactivated later in life.

Shingles most commonly occur in people over the age of 50 but they can strike down at any time.

Apart from your age, other factors that can also raise your risk of shingles include certain underlying conditions and medications.

Luckily, shingles don’t represent a life-threatening condition, but they can still be very painful and uncomfortable.

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