Clusters of shingles blisters appear on one side of the body, here the right chest.
Previous Next 11 of 12 Shingles (herpes zoster)

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in nerve tissue. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

A shingles outbreak may start with pain with no obvious external cause. Within several days, clusters of fluid-filled blisters appear in an area on one side of the body. The blisters then break open and crust over. Within about three weeks, the crusts fall off. Pain and itching after the rash clears up (postherpetic neuralgia) may persist for months or years.

Early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of postherpetic neuralgia. If you're over age 50, talk with your doctor about shingles vaccine options.

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