What Are the Common Signs of Shingles?
The symptoms of shingles can vary from person to person. The more common symptoms of shingles include sensations of numbness, itching or tingling, burning pain on the skin of your face, back, or chest.
These usually develop into the recognizable condition, shingles, that features rashes. The rash develops onto one side of your body, most often in one of the following places:
- The side of your face, from the ear to the jawline
- One side of your chest or torso
- Half of one leg and foot.
How Long Do Shingles Symptoms Last?
The development of these symptoms usually lasts for about two to four weeks. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Chickenpox can be contagious, although the incubation period of the virus is much longer than it is for shingles. If you develop the symptoms of chickenpox within two to four weeks of contracting shingles, there is an increased chance of developing the disease. The risk is then even higher if you had been exposed to chickenpox before getting the rash from shingles.
Two to four weeks after developing the symptoms of chickenpox, you may still have the virus in your system. If you do have the virus in your system, you will probably experience flu-like symptoms for several days, which will peak around the third day after the onset of chickenpox. These include fever, muscle aches and pains, headache, and loss of appetite. You will also experience swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin or shoulders.
What Other Conditions Is Shingles Mistaken For?
Because shingles usually starts out as a tiny rash, people usually mistake these symptoms for other diseases such as chickenpox. While these rashes may appear similar to chicken pox, they are not contagious. They will eventually clear up and turn into a red, blistery bump.
If you have these symptoms after two to four days, you should visit your doctor. If you experience symptoms that are longer or last more than a week, you should see your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis.
Because there is no pain involved with shingles, people often mistake these symptoms for other conditions. You should remember that while these symptoms may look like something else, they are not and should not be ignored. You should take your doctor’s advice about the possibility of complications from this virus.
Who Can Catch Shingles?
Shingles often affects people over the age of 50, but it can also affect young children. The symptoms usually occur following exposure to the virus, such as being in the public eye and sharing personal items with other individuals who have the infection. The virus can also be transferred through infected saliva and semen. These are the reasons why it’s important to have the virus addressed when it is discovered.
One of the complications of shingles that you should watch for is called postherpetic neuralgia. This can cause unbearable pain in the affected area. It usually occurs on one side and can last for weeks or even months. The pain will usually be continuous, though it will vary from person to person. The pain usually comes from the affected nerves and is extremely uncomfortable.
Another complication of shingles that you may want to watch for is blisters. These will appear on one side of your body and may help reduce the pain from the initial rash. These blisters will usually be on one side and slowly start to spread to the other sides of your body once they begin to heal.
There are many complications that can arise from contracting the virus and the most common include nerve damage. When the nerve damage is severe, it can result in pain, difficulty moving your limbs, and even paralysis. This is one of the complications that becomes especially serious when it occurs in a child or baby who may be unable to move due to the infection.