Shingles - Symptoms

What were your shingles symptoms?

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What are shingles symptoms and signs? How long does shingles last?

Even when there is no rash, the pain of shingles may be apparent. Before a rash is visible, the patient may notice several days to a week of burning pain and sensitive skin. When the characteristic rash is not yet apparent, it may be difficult to determine the cause of the often severe pain. Shingles rash starts as small blisters on a red base, with new blisters continuing to form for three to five days. The blisters follow the path of individual nerves that come out of the spinal cord in a specific "ray-like" distribution (called a dermatomal pattern) and appear in a band-like pattern on an area of skin. The entire path of the affected nerve may be involved, or there may be areas in the distribution of the nerve with blisters and areas without blisters. Generally, only one nerve level is involved. In a rare case, more than one nerve will be involved. Eventually, the blisters pop, and the area starts to ooze. The affected areas will then crust over and heal. The duration of the outbreak may take three to four weeks from start to finish. On occasion, the pain will be present but the blisters may never appear. This can be a very confusing cause of local pain.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: richbgmac, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

I was diagnosed with shingles within 4 days of discovering an irregularity near the spine in the small of my back. Within about 24 hours the lesions on my skin spread toward my left side and eventually near my navel. The stabbing pains were excruciating! I felt like a thousand pins and knives were relentlessly stabbing me. The only effective medication was a 6 hour regimen of Vicodin and Tylenol, but the narcotic effect of Vicodin disrupted my system. I suffered with a high level of intense pain daily for almost 10 weeks! Today most of the pain and skin lesions have subsided. Now I have extreme shooting pains just below my navel every day! A recent CT scan ruled out kidney stones. So I don"t know what this could be now! The doctor did mention something about a neuropathy that could linger after shingles and last from 90 days to years. Sure hope it"s not that. I have endured extreme/sharp pain almost 2 months.

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Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

About 10 days ago, I had some "bites" appear on my left breast, I just put some tea tree cream on as that usually works for the itching. But it didn't. My neighbor thought they were spider bites so I went to the pharmacy and got some broad spectrum antibiotics as they were looking a bit infected. Three days ago, I couldn't touch my breasts they were so tender and painful, a tingling/pins and needles/numb pain that had spread to my left shoulder blade. Doctor confirmed this morning I have herpes on my left breast and prescribed Zovirax cream and Valtrex, hope it kicks in soon!

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