Information on Shingles
Shingles is a viral disease caused by reinfection with the varicella-zoster virus (the same virus that causes chickenpox). It often causes pain and a characteristic rash. In typical cases, shingles is easy to diagnose. For example, your healthcare provider might suspect this disease if your rash:
- Is on only one side of the body
- Erupts along one of the many nerve paths, called dermatomes, that stem from the spine.
Your healthcare provider can often confirm the diagnosis if you also:
- Experience a sharp, burning pain
- Have had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine
- Have blisters that look like chickenpox
- Are elderly.
No cure exists for shingles. However, several antiviral drugs can help reduce the severity and length of the illness.
(Click Shingles for more in-depth information, including possible complications of this condition.)