Shingles start with itching, burning, tingling, or painful feelings in a band-like area. The skin rash appears 3 to 4 days after you notice these symptoms.
Early symptoms happen about 3 to 4 days before the rash. During this time, you may have:
Discomfort in the skin, usually on one side of the face, torso, trunk, back, or buttocks. You may feel:
Extreme sensitivity to even light touch
Symptoms of Active Shingles
This period starts when you first notice a rash in the same area as the early symptoms:
The rash begins as a reddish band or individual bumps in a line.
The bumps get fluid-filled centers.
Over the course of 7 to 10 days, the bumps dry and crust over.
You may have pain and itching in the area of the rash; the pain may be severe.
If the rash is on the side of your nose or other parts of your face, you should call your doctor right away. This can be a sign that your eye is affected.
The rash of active shingles should be gone within a week to a month. About 20% of people have pain after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. It can be severe and limit activities.
NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm. Updated June 27, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/shingles. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html. Updated June 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8):2437-2444.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.