Shingles usually begins with an unpleasant itching, burning, tingling, or painful sensation in a band-like area. The skin rash of shingles begins to appear 3-4 days after you notice these skin sensations.
Symptoms of the Prodromal Period
The prodromal period is the time (about 3-4 days) before the rash actually occurs. During this time, you may have the following symptoms:
Symptoms of Active Shingles
The period of active shingles begins when you first notice the appearance of a rash in the same location where you originally felt the skin sensations:
Although the rash of active shingles should be gone within a week to a month, about 20% of people continue to have pain and discomfort well after the rash has healed. This syndrome of pain in the area of the previously infected nerve is called postherpetic neuralgia, and it can be quite severe and debilitating.
The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/default.htm . Accessed February 21, 2006.
Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000415/2437.html.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 21, 2006.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Peter Lucas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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