Did you know that 1 out of every 3 people will develop shingles in the United States? If you are wondering “what is shingles?” you are in the right place. We have put together this guide to share what it is along with shingles symptoms and shingles treatments.

Keep reading to learn more about what is shingles disease.

What Is Shingles?

What Is Shingles

In lamest terms, shingles is a viral infection. This infection causes a rash that is painful and can appear anywhere on a person’s body. Usually, shingles looks like a stripe of blisters.

The most common area to see shingles is on the right or left side of the torso. The infection is caused by the varicella-zoster virus which is the virus that also causes chickenpox. If you have chickenpox at any point in time, this virus always lives in nerve tissues near the spinal cord and brain but it is inactive.

Sometimes this virus ends up reactivating as shingles, years later.

Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms

Although shingles is not a life-threatening condition it is very painful. Some of the most common symptoms are itching, sensitivity to touch, pain, tingling, burning, numbness, blisters filled with fluid. In some extreme cases, people experience headaches, fatigue, fever, and sensitivity to light.

The first symptom is usually pain and for some, it can be really intense pain. In some cases, people will experience the pain but they will not develop a rash.

If you suspect that you have shingles then you want to contact your doctor as soon as possible especially if the rash or pain is near your eye. If you leave that untreated the infection can lead to permanent eye damage. Also, if you are 60 years or older you want to go see a doctor because it increases your complications.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for shingles but treating it as soon as you notice it will help you avoid complications. A doctor will normally prescribe medication to shorten the length of the infection and to ease the symptoms. Most of the medications are taken orally but some of them are applied topically to reduce the pain or to reduce the risk of nerve pain.

After treatment, it should clear up in just a few weeks. There are also two vaccines that are recommended for adults that are 50 years of age or older. These two vaccine options include Shingrix and Zostavax.

The newest one is the Shingrix vaccine and it is more effective and it has shown to last longer than the other vaccine, Zostavax. You can read more info. on the shingles vaccine here.

Feeling Like a Shingles Pro?

Feeling Like a Shingles Pro

We hope that now that we answered the question “what is shingles?” you can be prepared in case you or a relative is dealing with shingles symptoms.

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