Virtual Care > Virtual Care: Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a common infection of the nerves. It is caused by a virus. Shingles triggers a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin. It can appear anywhere on the body, but it typically appears on only one side of the face or body. Burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching are early signs of the infection. Even after the rash is gone, the pain can continue for months, even years.
Shingles is caused when the chickenpox virus is reactivated. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerves for many years. Shingles is more common in people with weakened immune systems, and in people over the age of 50.
However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Other early symptoms of shingles may include:
The symptoms of shingles may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for shingles will be determined by your health care provider based on:
There is no cure for shingles. It simply has to run its course. Treatment focuses on pain relief. Painkillers may help relieve some of the pain. Antiviral drugs may help lessen some of the symptoms and minimize nerve damage. Other treatments may include:
Visit with a Virtual Care health care provider on the phone or online for help with your symptoms.