- More than 1 million Americans suffer from shingles each year.
- Shingles can sometimes be hard to identify because it often mimics other conditions such as poison ivy or scabies.
- Some telling signs of shingles include blisters, itching, headache, fever, chills, and extreme fatigue.
- If you suspect you have shingles, contact your doctor right away.
Each year more than 1 million Americans suffer from shingles, an itchy, blistering rash caused by herpes zoster, which is the same viral infection that afflicts the nerve roots and causes chickenpox. In fact, those who’ve had chickenpox can end up with shingles years later (often after the age of 50) due to the fact that the infection lives dormant in the body. It can become active and again with age, lowered immunity, a medical treatment (i.e., radiation) or medication that suppresses immunity, or an infection (i.e., HIV).
The issue with shingles is that it often mimics other conditions, such as poison ivy or scabies, with similar uncomfortable symptoms. However, there are a few telling signs that give shingles away, including…
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When the shingles virus activates, it causes a rash that has painful, fluid-filled blisters, which often appear on one side or area of the body. This happens because the virus affects localized nerve roots, typically in the chest, back, buttocks, or neck, and remains directly connected to those exact areas for about 7 to 10 days. Initially, the blisters will be filled with a clear fluid, but after a few days, the fluid will cloud up and take on a darker, murkier hue.
Most patients report feeling generally unwell in the days leading up to the rash, with some saying they developed a mild form of the flu. These flu-like symptoms are usually accompanied with swollen lymph nodes, which may be tender to the touch.