Symptoms of Herpes Zoster

Symptoms of herpes zoster or shingles are usually typical and in most cases along with history, help in diagnosis of the disease. The most important aspect of symptoms of shingles is the distribution of the skin lesions to a small section of one side of the body. The common symptoms include:

  • Pain (which may be severe), skin rash, itching, blisters (generally filled with fluid and may crust after breaking open), burning, numbness etc.
  • Some patients may experience fever, chills, fatigue, headache, generalized body ache etc.

The first symptom to appear in herpes zoster is pain, which may sometimes be very severe and intense. Sometimes pain may be mistaken for heart pain or pain lungs or other organ, depending on the location of pain and if pain occurs without development of rash, which sometimes occurs in some people and make diagnosis problematic. Rash develop as band of blisters with pain (sometimes burning types of pain) in one side of the body and common sites are chest, face, neck etc. although it can occur in other parts of the body.

Know when to consult your doctor:

You should know when to consult your doctor, as prompt treatment is important for good prognosis of shingles. Consult your doctor promptly if you suspect that you have shingles, especially if you have following symptoms:

  • Rash and pain (severe) in one side of the chest, as chest is the commonest site for shingles.
  • Rash and pain (severe) near eyes as lack of treatment may lead to permanent damage to eye due to infection by varicella zoster virus.
  • If you have rash and your immune system is weak due to any reason, such as cancer, HIV infection, chronic illness etc.

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