How Do You Identify Shingles?

What can be mistaken for shingles?

Shingles can sometimes be mistaken for another skin conditions, such as hives, psoriasis, or eczema.

Share on Pinterest A doctor should always be consulted if shingles is suspected.

The characteristics of a rash may help doctors identify the cause.

For example, hives are often raised and look like welts..

How do you feel when you get shingles?

Shingles follows a pattern: The first sign is often burning or tingling pain; sometimes, it includes numbness or itching on one side of the body. Somewhere between 1 and 5 days after the tingling or burning feeling on the skin, a red rash will appear. A few days later, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.

What happens if you let shingles go untreated?

If left untreated, some complications of shingles can be fatal. Pneumonia, encephalitis, stroke, and bacterial infections can cause your body to go into shock or sepsis.

Will shingles go away on its own?

Because shingles often goes away on its own, many people are able to manage the pain with over-the-counter pain medications. However, it is important to see a doctor within three days so you and your doctor can decide on a treatment plan, including whether you will need antiviral medications.

Will shingles show up in blood work?

Your doctor may test your blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or saliva to identify the presence of VZV antibodies. This will allow them to confirm a diagnosis of shingles without a rash. However, these tests are often inconclusive. Your medical history may provide clues that suggest you have shingles without a rash.

How long does a shingles test take?

Your doctor can collect samples from scabs from blisters that have crusted over. Your doctor should have the results in 1 to 3 days. You might need to have a second test if the results aren’t clear. Your symptoms and test results will show whether you have shingles.

How do you test for shingles?

Shingles is usually diagnosed based on the history of pain on one side of your body, along with the telltale rash and blisters. Your doctor may also take a tissue scraping or culture of the blisters for examination in the laboratory.

Is there a test to know if you have shingles?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the most useful test for confirming cases of suspected zoster sine herpete (herpes zoster-type pain that occurs without a rash). PCR can be used to detect VZV DNA rapidly and sensitively, and is now widely available.

What do shingles spots look like?

What Does the Shingles Rash Look Like? The shingles rash can be a distinctive cluster of fluid-filled blisters — often in a band around one side of the waist. This explains the term “shingles,” which comes from the Latin word for belt. The next most common location is on one side of the forehead or around one eye.

Is shingles caused by stress?

Stress doesn’t technically cause shingles, but it can cause your immune system to weaken — and a weakened immune system can put you at risk for shingles. A viral illness, shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

What are the stages of shingles?

The stages of shingles are tingling pain, followed by a burning feeling and a red rash, then blistering, and finally the blisters will crust over. You will typically develop a rash about 1-5 days after you feel numbness or tingling pain.

What do shingles look like when they first start?

Shingles is characterized by pain or a tingling sensation in a limited area on one side of the face or torso, followed by a red rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body.

How long are you contagious with shingles?

If you have shingles, you are contagious until the last blister has scabbed over. This will usually occur after about 10 to 14 days.