Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It's caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.
It's estimated that around one in every four people will have at least one episode of shingles during their life.
Symptoms of shingles
The main symptom of shingles is pain, followed by a rash that develops into itchy blisters, similar in appearance to chickenpox. New blisters may appear for up to a week, but a few days after appearing they become yellowish in colour, flatten and dry out.
Scabs then form where the blisters were, which may leave some slight scarring.
The pain may be a constant, dull or burning sensation and its intensity can vary from mild to severe. You may have sharp stabbing pains from time to time, and the affected area of skin will usually be tender.
In some cases, shingles may cause some early symptoms that develop a few days before the painful rash first appears.
These early symptoms can include:
burning, tingling, numbness or itchiness of the skin in the affected area
a feeling of being generally unwell
a high temperature (fever)
An episode of shingles typically lasts around two to four weeks. It usually affects a specific area on one side of the body and doesn't cross over the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from between your eyes down past the belly button).
Any part of your body can be affected, including your face and eyes, but the chest and abdomen (tummy) are the most common areas.
When to seek medical advice
Shingles isn't usually serious, but see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. They'll usually be able to diagnose shingles based on your symptoms and the appearance of the rash.
Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.
Please click here for further details,