Check if you have shingles
The first signs of shingles can be:
- a tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
- a headache or feeling generally unwell
A rash will appear a few days later.
Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.
The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.
The blotches become itchy blisters that ooze fluid. A few days later, the blisters dry out and scab.
The rash can be red, but this can be harder to see on brown and black skin.
The rash can form a cluster that only appears on 1 side of your body. The skin remains painful until after the rash has gone.
The rash may be in and around your eye, making it sore and red. It can affect your sight or hearing and make it hard to move 1 side of your face.
How to treat shingles symptoms yourself
take paracetamol to ease pain
keep the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection
wear loose-fitting clothing
use a cool compress (a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or a wet cloth) a few times a day
do not let dressings or plasters stick to the rash
do not use antibiotic cream – this slows healing
The main symptom of shingles is a painful, blotchy rash on 1 side of your body. It mainly affects the skin, but can sometimes affect the eyes too.
Medicine from a doctor can help speed up your recovery from shingles if it's taken within 3 days of the symptoms starting, but not everyone needs it.
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