Shingles

Shingles (also known as Shingles Herpes Zoster) is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV) -the same virus which causes chickenpox.

Symptoms

The first signs of shingles can be an itching, tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin and a headache/generally feeling unwell. The rash (fluid-filled blisters) forms a few days later on one side of the body, commonly on the chest or stomach, and can be intensely painful.

How do you catch Shingles?

After having chickenpox, the VZV remains dormant in the nervous system. Most cases occur at a later stage in life or when the immune system is lowered.

Incubation period

Shingles can occur at any time; initial symptoms can appear 1-5 days before the rash develops.

Diagnosis

Based on symptoms and the appearance of the rash.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only preventative measure in place against shingles. It can significantly reduce the risk of Post Herpetic Neuralgia.

Treatment

There is no cure, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms of the disease. If seen early on by a GP, antivirals can be prescribed to speed recovery.