What are the symptoms of shingles?
The symptoms normally appear in stages. Pain being the first symptom. Sometimes this pain can be misdiagnosed as kidney, lung or heart issues, depending on the location. This is due to some people suffering from the pain of shingles and not developing a rash.
The shingles rash is the most common sign of shingles. It typically appears on one side of the body and occurs in small red patches. It will likely develop fluid-filled blisters that break easily and crust over, this fluid is contagious to others who have never have chickenpox. The rash may also wrap around from the torso to the spine and even appear on the face and ears. It will itch and be uncomfortably painful.
The blisters may take two to four weeks to heal and are likely to leave scars depending on their severity and treatment.
Some people are also susceptible to experiencing symptoms beyond the rash and pain. These symptoms are often fever, headaches, fatigue and muscle weakness. In some cases, the rash can spread to the eyes. This is considered serious and should result in immediate consultation with a doctor as it may lead to permanent eye problems if left untreated. The same problem arises if the rash moves to the ears, which can result in possible ear infections. Other bacterial infections are also likely to be picked up through an open skin from the rash.
When should I call a doctor?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of shingles, early treatment is advised. If the rash has moved to the nose, eyes or ears, call a doctor immediately. If you are over 70 years of age or have a weakened immune system, the risk of shingles is increased, therefore, consulting with your doctor about possible precautionary options is advised.