Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. It can be difficult to identify at first because many of the symptoms mimic other types of illnesses, especially before the rash starts to show up. However, if you notice these symptoms, there’s a good chance you have shingles and should visit your doctor to reduce the discomfort of the disease.
Before the rash appears, you might start to experience some symptoms that are common with flu, such as aches all over the body, headaches and slight chills. Many people report sensitivity to light. What tends to set shingles apart is the lack of a fever. If you do have a fever, it’s likely to be low-grade.
The shingles rash appears along areas where there are nerves. A day or two before the rash arrives, you might start to feel a strange tingling sensation or itchiness in certain areas. Some people experience it as numbness or a slight burning. In most cases, the feeling is centered in areas on the chest or back. However, it’s not uncommon to have the feeling in the legs, arms, belly area, or even on the head.
Despite all of the early warning signs, you might not realize you have shingles until the rash starts to appear. Initially, the rash might just appear red, but it will quickly form into blisters filled with a clear liquid. One thing that makes the shingles rash easy to identify is that it tends to form in lines, following the path of the nerves. It can occur just about anywhere on the body, but it will only be on one side. If the rash is on two sides or never forms the blisters, you can assume that it’s probably something else, but should still have your doctor give you a proper diagnosis.
While most rashes are itchy, the shingles rash tends to be painful. You might experience it as sharp bursts of pain, like needs poking at your skin, or just as a general ever-present pain over the rash area. This is due to the rash’s connection to the nervous system.
If you think you might have shingles, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. While it’s caused by a virus, there are medications that can reduce the effects of the symptoms, making it easier for you to tolerate the disease.Advertisement