If you develop a painful rash that is shaped in a band or a belt on one side of your body, you may have shingles. While not life-threatening, shingles can cause a large amount of misery. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus – the same virus associated with chickenpox.
“Many children now receive the varicella vaccine, which usually protects them from shingles,” says Sandra Zakroff, MD, family medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “However, the vaccine has only been around since 1995, which means most adults are still at risk and should be aware of the symptoms.”
Symptoms of shingles include a red rash, fluid-filled blisters, itching and pain or tingling. Pain is usually the first symptom. “It is important that you see a doctor right away after experiencing pain on one side of your body,” says Zakroff. “Early treatment can prevent shingles from worsening.”
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