Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Shingles is a painful skin condition caused by a reactivation of an infection with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that causes chickenpox. Even before skin lesions appear, the pain of shingles can be severe. The pain is often described as a burning sensation of the skin with heightened sensitivity. The rash of shingles consists of red blisters that eventually burst and ooze. The rash occurs in a band-like distribution along the path of a nerve. The blisters eventually crust over and heal. Sometimes, symptoms like chills, diarrhea, and headache can occur as a person develops shingles. The nearby lymph nodes may be swollen.
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Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 18th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.