The most predominant and typically the first symptom of shingles is pain and also you could experience a tingling or burning sensation. The classic rash will normally appear a day or so afterwards. It is possible that you may also experience fever and a headache.
Shingles is not hereditary and it is not caught from another person who has shingles. Shingles follows an earlier attack of chickenpox. A person with shingles can infect someone who has never had chickenpox and this infection will be chickenpox not shingles.
What causes shingles?
If you have had chickenpox the virus that caused it may live on afterwards in a dormant state in the nerves linked to your spinal cord. If the virus becomes active again, it will multiply and move along the nerve fibres to the area of skin supplied by those nerves; shingles then appears in this area. About 20% of people who have had chickenpox will have an attack of shingles later in life.
What does shingles look like?
Shingles will appear as a group of red spots on a pink-red background which will soon transform into small fluid filled blisters. Some may burst and others may fill up with blood or pus. The infected area will slowly dry out and scabs and crusts will form. The scabs should drop off over two to three weeks.
Normally the rash will cover a well-defined area of skin on one side of the body only. The position and shape will depend on which nerves are involved. A chickenpox-like rash occasionally comes up at the same time as shingles. This may indicate a more serious and widespread attack of shingles or that there is an underlying reason for the shingles.
Why do people get shingles?
Although most attacks occur for no obvious reason, an attack of shingles is more likely if:
You are elderly • You are under stress • you have an illness that weakens the immune system • you are taking treatments that suppress the immune system
Can shingles be cured?
Shingles resolves on its own within a few weeks. Oral medication can make the rash of shingles clear more quickly and can reduce its unpleasant effects.
The above information has been sourced from http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/ . If you would like further information about shingles (or any other conditions that affect the skin), the diagnosis and treatment options, please visit their website.