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Shingles health centre

Shingles - What are the symptoms of shingles?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

The most obvious symptom of shingles is a rash, but it can also cause other problems, like headaches. If you have the symptoms of shingles, it's important to see your doctor quickly. That's because treatment works best if you start taking it within three days of getting the rash.

But even after three days, it may be worth taking treatment, so you should still see your doctor.[4]

This is what happens when you get shingles:[4]

  • You may start by feeling generally unwell, feeling very tired and having headaches.

  • A patch of your skin may start to feel itchy, tingly or very sore. You might have a burning pain, which gets worse if you touch the patch of skin.

  • After a day or so, you get a rash of small blisters, usually on one side of your body. They may be around your waist, on your chest or on your head. Where you get shingles depends on which of your nerves is affected by the herpes zoster virus.

  • The rash can feel very sensitive and painful. Just the feeling of clothing on your skin can hurt.shingles_rash_default.jpg

Your doctor can usually diagnose shingles from looking at the rash, and asking you about your symptoms. You probably won't need any other tests.

The shingles rash usually heals after two to four weeks.[4] But some people get complications from shingles, which can lead to more long-lasting problems. To learn more, see What will happen to me?

Citations

For references related to Shingles click here.
Last Updated: September 05, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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