- At first you might feel burning and tingly where the rash is coming. You may get pain for a few days before you see the rash.
- Most people with shingles get a blistery rash down one side of their body or face. This can be painful.
- New blisters will keep coming for about five days. After this, the blisters will dry to form scabs.
- You may feel weak and tired.
- The rash usually lasts for two to three weeks. Afterwards, people can have pain where the rash was, sometimes for several months.
Who gets shingles?
People of any age can get shingles. Most people who get it are middle-aged or older. You can only get shingles if you have had chickenpox. 50% of people have had shingles by the age of 85.
What causes shingles?
- Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.
- After you have had chickenpox, the inactive virus stays in your body.
- Many years later the virus can start to work again. This may happen when you are run down or tired.
How is shingles treated?
Tablets for shingles, such as FAMVIR, stop the virus spreading. They cut down blistering and pain of the rash. They help you get better quicker if you take them early in your illness.
What else can you do?
- To stop the rash itching, have cool baths—do not use perfumed soap or bath oils. You can also put ice cubes wrapped in a washcloth on the rash, or cover it with a soothing lotion like calamine for the first three days.
- Keep the rash clean and dry.
- Wear loose clothes.
- Do not scratch the rash. It could get infected and take longer to get better.
- Rest when you feel tired.
- Try to eat well and drink plenty of fluids.
- Tell your doctor right away if you start to have trouble with your eyes. Shingles can sometimes cause eye problems which can be treated.
Can other people catch your shingles?
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Most doctors agree that people do not catch shingles from each other. When you have shingles, you can give chickenpox to someone who has never had chickenpox before—but this is unlikely.