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What are the Symptoms of Shingles? — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 27, 2008 at 4:15 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What are the Symptoms of Shingles?


The Three Stages of Shingles Infection

There are three stages of the shingles, also known as herpes zoster, infection that are accompanied by different symptoms through stage progression. It is not common for the appearance of all signs and symptoms, but instead are individualized.

Prodromal Stage

The prodromal stage occurs before the rash becomes apparent. It is typically confined to distinct areas of the body, particularly the back and chest, but is known to affect other areas including the face, head, abdomen, neck, arms and legs. It is accompanied by several symptoms including:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Tingling/Tickling
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Increases sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Lymph node swelling/inflammation

Active Stage

The active stage occurs upon appearance of a rash commonly associated with blistering. This stage is associated with several symptoms including:

  • Red rash: Usually localized to a strip/band formation pattern confined to the left or right side of the body.
  • Blistering: Regularly clear fluid filled blisters will appear shortly after presence of the red rash.
  • Pain
  • Itching

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic Neuralgia is also known as the chronic pain stage, a complication with some infected with shingles. It is common to last from months to years. Posterpetic Neuralgia has specific symptom with which it is associated including:

  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Persistent pain
  • Increased sensitivity to touch

Shingles and Chicken Pox

Shingles infections are caused by a particular virus, varicella-zoster, which is also responsible for chicken pox infections. Initial infection with this virus is known as chicken pox, reactivation of this virus is known as shingles. Shingles is a dormant virus, occurring only after a previous infection with chicken pox. It is possible for the virus to remain inactive in dormancy for years.

Shingles: A General Symptom Overview

Shingles is accompanied by a painful itching sensation and rash localized to bands/strips typically isolated to one side of the body. Nerve roots exist to provide skin with sensation and generally limited to particular sides of the body. The shingles virus is typically isolated to a few nerve roots, causing the restricted area. Normally the shingles virus follows the three stages in order of progression, producing a rash first, accompanied by fluid filled blisters that are known burst and crust/scab over. Symptoms typically last for a period of weeks, but all infections contain the potential for dormancy into the third stage of postherpetic neuralgia.


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