Shingles is a viral infection that forms as a very painful red rash with small blisters. Shingles is typically localized to a particular area of the body often, but not always on one side. It is often accompanied by numbness and/or a tingling sensation.

It's not directly contagious, but someone with shingles can spread the varicella-zoster virus to individuals who haven't had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, potentially causing chickenpox in them.

The trusted skin experts at Brentwood Dermatology are here to help you navigate shingles. Schedule an appointment with one of our trusted providers to start your journey to healthy skin.

What are the Symptoms of Shingles?

  • Headaches, fever, and/or chills.
  • Fatigue.
  • A line of fluid-filled blisters.
  • Severe itching, burning, pain, or discomfort.
  • Numbness and/or a tingling sensation.

What Causes Shingles?

  • Shingles are caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for giving us chickenpox. 
  • When the immune system weakens with age, stress, or other factors, the virus can resurface, leading to shingles. 
  • The reactivated virus travels along nerves, causing pain and a distinctive rash.

Shingles Prevention

Shingles can be prevented primarily through vaccination. The shingles vaccine, commonly known as Shingrix, is recommended for adults aged 50 and older, even if they have previously had shingles or received the older Zostavax vaccine. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and practicing good hygiene can contribute to overall immune system health and potentially reduce the risk of shingles.

Shingles FAQs

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After having chickenpox, the virus can reawaken later in life, leading to shingles.

Early signs may include pain, tingling, or a burning sensation in a specific area of the skin, followed by the development of a rash with fluid-filled blisters. It often appears on one side of the body.

Dermatologists play a key role in diagnosing shingles by examining the characteristic rash. They differentiate it from other skin conditions based on the distribution, appearance, and accompanying symptoms.

In some cases, shingles can cause scarring, especially if blisters are scratched or not properly cared for. Dermatologists can provide guidance on wound care to minimize scarring.

Sun exposure can trigger shingles outbreaks. It's advisable to protect the affected skin from direct sunlight during an outbreak, and dermatologists may recommend suitable sun protection measures.

Dermatologists can provide guidance on post-shingles skin care to minimize scarring and address lingering symptoms. They may recommend moisturizers, scar treatments, or other interventions based on individual needs.

Treatments for Shingles

Once shingles have appeared, treatment options often include:
  • Prescription antiviral drugs.
  • Numbing creams or sprays.
  • Medications that can help with pain.
If you suspect you have shingles or experience symptoms such as a painful rash, tingling, or flu-like symptoms, it's advisable to consult with your dermatologist. Dermatologists specialize in skin conditions, and they can accurately diagnose and recommend the most effective treatment for shingles. 

Schedule with one of our certified skin experts today!