Shingles is a viral infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it. A GP describes causes, symptoms and treatment options for shingles.

Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015

Is shingles contagious?

You can’t give shingles to someone else, and you can’t catch shingles from someone with shingles.

However, shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus and you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles, but only if you’ve never had chickenpox before.

Shingles develops when the virus from a chickenpox infection earlier in life, which has lain dormant (inactive) in nerve cells, suddenly reactivates.

The blisters that form contain live virus and if a person who has never had chickenpox makes contact with an open blister, they can contract the virus and develop chickenpox.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

Shingles usually affects a specific area on one side of the body and does not cross over the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from between your eyes down past the belly button).

The main symptom is a painful rash that develops into itchy blisters that contain particles of the virus.

An episode of shingles typically lasts around two to four weeks, although around one in five people go on to develop nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia in the affected area of skin.

Read more about the symptoms of shingles.

When to seek medical advice

Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.

You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system (the body's natural defence system) and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven't had chickenpox before.

Your GP will usually be able to diagnose shingles based on your symptoms and the appearance of the rash.

Read more about diagnosing shingles.

What causes shingles?

Most people have chickenpox in childhood, but after the illness has gone, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in the nervous system. The immune system keeps the virus in check, but later in life it can be reactivated and cause shingles.

It is not known exactly why the shingles virus is reactivated at a later stage in life, but most cases are thought to be caused by having lowered immunity (protection against infections and diseases).

This may be the result of:

  • being older
  • being stressed
  • taking medication that weakens your immune system
  • a condition that affects your immune system, such as HIV or AIDS

It is not possible to catch shingles from someone with the condition or from someone with chickenpox, but you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had it before.

It is possible to have shingles more than once, but it's very rare to get it more than twice.

Read more about the causes of shingles.

Who is affected?

Around 9 in every 10 adults in the UK have had chickenpox previously and are potentially at risk of developing shingles.

Shingles can occur at any age, but is most common in people who are over the age of 70. It is much less common in children.

It's estimated that around one in every four people will have at least one episode of shingles during their life.

How shingles is treated

There is no cure for shingles, but treatment is available to relieve the symptoms until the condition resolves. Most cases of shingles last around two to four weeks.

Treatment for shingles can include:

  • covering the rash with clothing or a non-adherent (non-stick) dressing to reduce the risk of other people becoming infected with chickenpox, as it is very difficult to pass the virus on to someone else if the rash is covered
  • painkilling medication, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or codeine
  • antiviral medication to stop the virus multiplying, although not everyone will need this

Read more about treating shingles.


Shingles can sometimes lead to complications, such as postherpetic neuralgia. This is where severe nerve pain lasts for several months or more after the rash has gone.

Complications such as this are usually in elderly people who have had the condition and those with a weakened immune system.

Read more about the complications of shingles.

Can shingles be prevented?

It's not always possible to prevent shingles, but a vaccine called Zostavax can reduce your chances of developing the condition.

If you still develop shingles after having this vaccine, the condition may be milder and last for a shorter time than usual.

This vaccine is now routinely offered to older people on the NHS. It is given as a single injection to anyone aged 70. There is also a catch-up programme for those aged 79 and, from September 2014, 78 and 79-year-olds. You will only need to have this vaccine once.

If you wish to have the shingles vaccine and you are not eligible for the NHS vaccination programme, you will usually need to visit a private clinic. Private vaccination is likely to cost £100-200.

Read more about the shingles vaccination.

Page last reviewed: 25/06/2014

Next review due: 25/06/2016


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The 55 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

pearlymum said on 22 November 2014

I am 27 and pregnant and I am developing shingles on my right thigh. I suffered from shingles from the age of 19-21 getting it as often as once a month on my middle right finger and thigh. Having read the information on this page I'm so surprise to learn that people only usually get it twice in their lives and they are in their 60s and 70s.
Has anybody else had it as frequently as this?
I did find that cutting out coffee helped greatly and .
I also used to get big boxes of Aciclovir and take 200mg 4 times a day as soon as i felt the tingles in my leg and arm and this usually stopped the blisters from appearing.I hope this helps someone.
have only had it a few time in the last 6 years but wanted to check if it could harm my unborn baby or my 1 year old. Think i may have to call nhs 24/7 for more info.

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massonjudge said on 18 October 2014

oldattendant said on 07 October 2014

Has anyone one had Shingles on the back and side of the head underneath the hair. I have recently contracted Shingles in this place and am now on Antibiotics and Aciclovir Antiviral tablets. I am a fit 70 year old male and am experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort and sleepless nights. After reading this website I am concerned that this could go on for a long time. So as I said at the beginning I would like to know if anyone has had Shingles in his area and share their experiences.

i am suffering from the shingles to the left side and back of head.
i was only diagnosed a couple of days ago and i aggree its very painfull, itchy and theres lots of lumps.
i hope it doesnt last long term as the pain at the nerve ending on my head can be unbearable at times.

wishing all sufferers of this shingles a speedy recovery


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oldattendant said on 13 October 2014

This is oldattendant replying to oldretired guy. It was good to hear from someone suffering Shingles in the same place, but not nice to have it. I went to my GP this morning to ask what happens next now that I've finished the courses of antibiotics and antivirals. I was told that's it, now I've just got to wait for the scabs to dry up however long it takes. I asked about stronger pain relief and was given some painkillers with a long list of possible side effects. One of these includes a feellng of wanting to kill yourself. I've felt pretty bad over the last week but I'll give that one a miss. My thoughts are shared with you oldretiredguy and here's hoping we can both soon get healthy again

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oldretiredguy said on 13 October 2014

I also have shingles in exactly the same place. It started on the back & sides of my head under the hair. I have a few spots on my neck now. I'm suffering tremendous head, face and jaw pain. I'm on the same antiviral, no antibiotics, but I'm taking an anti-seizure pill for the nerve pain. It's not doing much. I just started at the lowest dose. They say I can gradually up it until I get relief in a few weeks. A few weeks?! I'm very discouraged that this will be lasting several more weeks. I can't get any sleep. The pain is too much. I'm 84 and was fit before this happened. I feel so old almost overnight.

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oldattendant said on 07 October 2014

Has anyone one had Shingles on the back and side of the head underneath the hair. I have recently contracted Shingles in this place and am now on Antibiotics and Aciclovir Antiviral tablets. I am a fit 70 year old male and am experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort and sleepless nights. After reading this website I am concerned that this could go on for a long time. So as I said at the beginning I would like to know if anyone has had Shingles in his area and share their experiences.

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lauram1208 said on 21 September 2014

Recovering from this horrid virus as well. Just noticed what appears to be a new rash, just under my skin. I'm hoping it isn't a new outbreak. I've posted this on the shingles group on FB as well. I had no idea this was such a systemic illness.

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pamtstb said on 24 June 2014

I have just had and recovering from a shingles rash. started about four weeks ago with no rash but a very painful area under my am like I had been scratched. A couple of days later the rash came.from my right breast to my middle back. it is now very painful and aches, the rash is still evident but healing. it was treated with antibiotics, VIRAL, As I am 73 and out of the range for vaccs. Would I benefit from an injection. this is my second bout in a year but the previous one was short and had no lasting symptoms. i am unable to see my doctor until next week so I hope you can advise me. thank you

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User879190 said on 10 June 2014

Well believe me, the pain from shingles can be absolutely awful. It woke me up in middle of night with central chest pain radiating through to my back and shoulder. I thought I was having a heart attack. I had started with a less dramatic but uncomfortable pain in my epigastric region radiating to my back and chest a few days before which was gradually getting worse. That morning after being woken with the very severe pain I noticed the rash and was quickly diagnosed by the nurse led walk-in centre and was given acyclovir medication. I used co-codamol for the pain along with ibrufen. Gradually over two weeks the pain reduced but now in the forth week and have generalized aching in my upper torso, itching all around where the rash was (there was no blistering). It feels like I have sunburn. Also the tiredness is simply crushing and I have to have a sleep in the afternoon. It also has brought on depression which I suffer from at intervals but don't use medication for it. I do feel sorry for those who have had it several times. If I had to go through this again I don't know how i would cope.

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Vjjt1990 said on 08 March 2014

Hope someone here can help me... I'm getting some real bad pains in my chest and back on the left hand side. It feels like trapped wind/indigestion, but know it isn't either of these as I have changed my diet to try and get rid of these symptoms, however, it's just getting worse.
I had shingles when I was 13 (10 years ago), and can only remember that my right arm ached so bad!!
Could this be the onset of shingles? Has anyone else felt this pain before seeing the rash?
Please help if you can!

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jd71 said on 14 February 2014

Developed Shingles on left side of face for the first time a week ago.
Started with Headache and Left ear burning sensation and then rash appeared.
Thank fully went to doctor who gave me a course of Aciclovir Tabs
Question: can these tabs give me heartburn as I have it most days.

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Fed Up One said on 10 February 2014

59 year old male & this is the second time I have had shingles, almost in exactly the same place as last time about 5 years ago, on my right side.
This time started off with a rash/red spots all over my torso, which I thought was a reaction to washing detergent, the spots cleared after a course of anti biotics & Eumovate cream, however one patch failed to heal & flared up, wasn't sore just looked red & inflamed.
4 weeks after the onset of the rash it was diagnosed by my doctor as Shingles, another course of anti biotics & a large tub of Diprobase for the rest of my dry skin.
Am pretty fed up as this has now lasted 6 weeks & will now have to wait for the Shingles patch to run its course.

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Di5234 said on 16 January 2014

I am a 62 year old female who has just got over my 4th bout of shingles. This occurred just before Xmas after we had been burgled. Luckily I knew the signs and obtained the anti- virus drug within 72 hrs as this stops the blisters from spreading. The blister were below my right eye and my GP sent me straight away to our local eye hospital. Luckily my eye was fine. 2nd time in my eye, once in my right ear and once on my right shoulder. First time I was 27, then 40, 60 and now 62. WHY can I not have the vaccine? My neighbour was has shingles 8 times was giving the vaccine by her GP but my practice doesn't give it unless you are in the right 'age bracket'. I must have cost the NHS more in visits to gp's/hospitals etc., than the vaccine would have cost. Get my well earned pension next month - will probably treat myself!

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JennRob said on 04 January 2014

Not often do I leave comments but some remarks have led me to share my views... I've got shingles and it's not nice but luckily caught early. However comments below such as 'sue' the NHS and 'NHS should consider the consequence...' are, in my view, offensive. No doctor is perfect and no system can be tailored to every individuals demands yet we should remember how VERY lucky we are that we can immediatly access free health care, directly and on the internet. Maybe you should remember that if people keep trying to sue the NHS (to get some free money) then NO ONE will have a FREE NHS service left. Maybe you'd feel better having some cash in your pocket, knowing that millions of people can't afford to pay private fees, would suffer much much more and even worse. Think about your actions and the consequences that affect others and not just yourself.

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Milly Mae said on 30 December 2013

I have just been diagnosed with shingles and this is now the tenth time I have had them. Would be interested to hear if anyone else has had similar experience.

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Silver Black said on 07 December 2013

I am 18 and had shingles on my left chest up till my neck. I started experiencing muscle pain on my neck and naturally, I put some muscle pain relief gel on it. Note muscle pain is a symptom for shingles. Rashes appeared a day later, just a bit lower on my collarbone. Then they spread, now covering my left shoulder. I went to The Royal Surrey County Hospital, fearing it might be shingles. I was first seen by a nurse, who thought it was just some allergic reaction to the muscle pain relief gel that I used. Then I was seen by a doctor, who had no clue who the rashes might be, but had rejected the idea of it being shingles. He consulted another doctor, who had a glimpse of my shoulder and declared it must be shingles. Therefore a third doctor came and she said it couldn't be shingles because the area covered was too broad. I was given some paracetamol and piriton and was told the 'allergic reaction' would just go away a few days later. Just a day later after my trip to the hospital loads of blisters appeared and I felt I was constantly stabbed in my chest. I took my pills which, as you may guess, did nothing to improve my conditions. The paracetamol were not strong enough and I had two nights where I just lied on my bed as I watched the sky went from dark to bright. The piriton made me drowsy and sleepy but the pain had kept me awake. I had never felt so helpless in my life. I went to another doctor two days later and she immediately identified it as shingles and had prescribed me with antibiotics. It has been 3 weeks since the rashes appeared but fortunately they have all faded away. I have red scarring on my chest now and my skin itches from time to time. The first 72 hours of shingles are crucial. If medication is taken within these hours you wouldn't end up like me, having to suffer sleepless nights in agony. If you believe you have shingles and your doctor disagrees, go see another doctor to prevent misdiagnosis. You REALLY wouldn't want to take your chances.

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wrinckly said on 20 October 2013

Iam 75 and have been unfortunate to have shingles on the left side of my face,the most excrutiating pain /blisters and tempory blindness in my left eye.I still experience pain after five months. Four visit to A.E eye surgery were required ,to be told my left eye is permanently scared. On reading the leaflet ref vacine for shingles it reads and I quote Immunisation for people aged 70 TO 79 unquote note the word To on making enquiries I was told in no uncertaion terms I would have to wait until I was 79 to obtain an injection, on the other hand having contracted shingles I could have it again . NHS consider the concequeces and the cost if I catch it again

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ValerieL said on 05 October 2013

I am 71. I have had no opportunity to have the shingles immunisation because the policy only allows 70 or 79 year olds to benefit. If I contract shingles before I am 79 and offered the shingles immunisation I shall be able to sue the NHS for their failure to protect me.

I would prefer to just have the immunisation - please reconsider this ridiculous policy.

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Lettie B said on 15 September 2013

I had chicken pox at the age of 31, caught from my three years old daughter. Despite having had just about every other childhood illness, including scarlet fever, I do not ever remember experiencing such pain as when I had chicken pox. Despite being the age of 72, might I be eligible for NHS vaccination?

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Purplegeranium said on 17 August 2013

This website helped me diagnose shingles and get prompt treatment. Three weeks ago on a Saturday morning, I awoke with a pain in my side like I had been punched in the ribs, and noticed a rash in a line along one side of my body from under my breast to the middle of my back. Although I do not like taking medications, I felt that in this instance it was important to get a diagnosis and take anti viral medications ASAP, to avoid post Herpetic Neuropathy ( post shingles nerve pain that can last a while).
I phoned the NHS service 111, a doctor rang me back and called me in for an emergency appointment confirming that I had shingles. Along with the medication, I also took a homeopathic remedy (Rhux Tox), and used a 100% aloe Vera gel to soothe. I also needed to take pain killers for about two and half weeks. Every case is different, a friend of mine was off work for 7 weeks with shingles and you need to do what is right for you . Try not to scratch! Wear something in bed at night to prevent night time scratching.
I am 57, did not feel particualry stressed and this was my first bout of shingles. I did not need to take time off work, fortunately I had a holiday booked after a week. Three weeks on and the blisters are hardly visible and the pain is slight. Good luck!

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Shingles01 said on 07 September 2012

Build up your imune system: I suggest:
[] zero junk food, zero junk drinks
[] lots of fruit and veg
[] gentle exercise in the fresh air every day
[] study your favourite art or music or science
[] brief encounters with your favourite people every day
[] 7 hours sleep at night plus a long nap midday
" a little bit of what you fancy does you good"

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Pixi2900 said on 12 August 2012

Had shingles when i was 8, got it again now (age 21)

Hate it. pretty sure i suffer from depresson but nothing confirmed.

Felt rough for a couple of days before, like a cold.

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fletch09 said on 13 July 2012

im 36 year old male, with out going into detail im going through a very bad patch in my life, feeling very down and low, iv been on meds for this for the last mth now, this last monday i had an appt with the doc for a check up, to see how i was and how i was coping, after asking doc to change my meds due to consent side effects, while i was there i asked about what i thought was bed soars, to be told i had shingles. iv had the pain and rash now for over 2 weeks, no sign of blisters yet(thank god) after reading other peoples comments a lot makes sence, regarding what iv gone through, not only the pain and rash, but also the tiredness and lack of intrest, i cant belive i wasnt given any help of doc, just told theres no cure you have to sit it out :-(

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dangali said on 04 July 2012

I also have shingles since the 27th of june and I went to a Dr on monday and he gave me injection and painblocks an AD Amoclav,my concern is I m 19weeks pregnant can It harm my baby in anyway?anyone who had shingles while pregnant please help.

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itansley said on 03 July 2012

I am 23 years old and today I have just found out that I have shingles!

No pain, just the rash and blisters! Feeling active and still working. However, ive started to become exhausted at times!! Hopefully this will be it for me.

Eating oatmeal can help with energy and the problem itself! Ive been eating good plus eating good portions of fruit and veg will help too! It will build up the vitamins in your body so you can have a stronger immune system!

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angelina001 said on 04 March 2012

I am a 35 yr old female n have suffered wiv shingles for over 2 yrs,1st the rash was just my right buttock now my back gets in on the left n this is every couple of mths,the aching,loss of appetite,stabbing pains,fatigue is always there,my docs not really gave me much advice,ive had all the blood tests n things n they were all fine.Its really getting me down now,im after any advice on wat i should or shouldnt have,ie; foods,drinks,vitamins,what extra cud I do 2 try n help my situation. Ive read up lots of things myself ie; dont eat chocolate,fish. Do eat beans,yogurt, fruit & veg, Vitamins C,B12,E n Plant Sterols are supoosed to help. Please is there any proof of anything that may help me.

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MASKT said on 27 February 2012

I've had shingles for the first time (54 year old male). It's a miserable affliction but I hope I can see the end of it. But it does take time. Hope the following is useful.

It developed in mid-January. Started as dull ache in torso. Distinctive rash appeared on right torso a few days later on 14 January and I knew it was shingles.

I was abroad at the time and saw a Doctor who prescribed aciclovir and naproxen (500mg 2 x day and/or tramadol (100mg 2 x day) for the pain. naproxen first, and then tramadol if naproxen didn't do the trick. Rash had largely gone after about a week, but neuralgia continued. Came back to Britain and saw doctor here who continued the prescription but recommended reducing the tramadol. I asked for a light sleeping pill to help me get through the night - I had been having disturbed nights of sleep which hadn't been much fun. They gave me some zopiclone.

It's now 6 weeks on and the neuralgic discomfort continues. It's irritating and depressing rather than disabling. I also feel very tired, though not every day is the same. Some days I feel better than others. Usually wake up feeling ok and then feel gradually more drained and neuralgic as the day progresses.

I have stopped the tramadol, naproxen and zopiclone and am trying to get by with nurofen. 400mg 3 x a day. Stopping the tramadol was not a nice experience, so my advice would be to either avoid starting taking it if you can, or reduce it slowly rather than trying to stop it in one go as I did. I was working when I was abroad and the tramadol did help me keep going during the day, but I paid the price in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms for a day or so.

I'm still not better. Do not feel like doing very much. Can work at home at desk/writing, but anything more than the most light physical activity is really not on. Can't wait to get rid of remaining neuralgia. Hope it doesn't become the dreaded post-herpetic neuralgia (e.g when it goes on for more than 3 months)

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Mrs JJM said on 20 February 2012

I have shingles but it really isn't all that bad. I'm a 53 year old female. Had Chickem Pox as an infant and one incident of shingles aged ten on my right thigh. None since. Four days ago found a shingle type rash on my right shoulder and side under my armpit. The next day was a Saturday so I called our doctor's practice out of hours service, answered questions and had details taken. Within ten minutes I was called back saying the GP wanted to see me that day. Two hours later I was back at home having being diagnosed with shingles and a weeks worth of Aciclovir. Some mild discomfort and "chill" sensations. Rash continuing to develop but less uncomfortable, now more itchy, but I don't feel at all unwell. As I work in a college I have been advised to stay away from work. I have an GP appointment this Friday when my medication runs out to see if I need more and if I am allowed back to work. My worry is that there are two pregnant women in my office one at 8 weeks the other at 10 weeks. I do hope I haven't passed chicken pox to them. I know shingles can be nasty, but my experience so far is that if your rash is not on/in the head, you catch it early and you get the medication it's not too bad.

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MASKT said on 01 February 2012

I've just had my first attack of Shingles (male, age 54). Rash appeared on 15 January after a few days of an aching torso (I thought I'd strained an intercostal muscle from coughing...). I went straight to a doctor and got some Aciclovir and painkillers (Tramadol and Naproxen). This enabled me to carry on working (I was working abroad with a team and didn't want to let colleagues down). Got home and saw GP and got some sleeping pills to help me rest. Rash has subsided now - a few scabs left. Some remaining allodynia and neuralgia, but I'm weaning myself off the painkillers and sleeping pills as dependence on those could end up being worse than shingles. I think I'm getting slowly better. But the estimates of at least 4 weeks to get over it (I'm in the middle of week 3) sound about right. I'm interested to see that stress can bring on attacks. Never thought of myself as particularly suffering from stress, but I'll have another think...

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thatmh said on 30 January 2012

oh and I have also felt very stressed and down over the last few weeks due to exams, and revision so I think I have got shingles from stress.

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thatmh said on 30 January 2012

oh and I have also felt very stressed and down over the last few weeks due to exams, and revision so I think I have got shingles from stress.

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thatmh said on 30 January 2012

I am 15 and For about 3 weeks I felt painfully itchy in my ears, on my back, on my face and arms and wasnt quite sure what the issue was. about 4 days ago rashes have appeared in a band round my back and stomach. I have had memory loss forgetting very basic things, I have felt exhausted no matter how long I sleep or nap and have had sore eyes. I also am quite active and have had aching muscles all over and put it down to sports but now I'm pretty sure I have shingles. It was very itchy but its getting better as I bought some pure aloe vera gel which I highly recommend for shingles sufferers. It cools the rash down a lot!

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Juniper5 said on 24 January 2012

On Wikipedia it says that you can be immunised against shingles. Have none of the poor repeat sufferers on here been offered this?

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Rembrandt said on 31 December 2011

I had severe stabbing pains in my leg and eventually the rash came out - I felt dreadful. I went to the local doctor in a big town who told me I had shingles and there was NO TREATMENT and that I wasn't contagious! Caught the plane home to Oz and the doctor at Singapore airport belatedly gave me Aciclovir. Why didn't the English doctor prescribe this and save me all this pain/tiredness? It seems to be standard practice! There is also an innoculation which wasn't mentioned in the UK either! It's dismal to read others' comments that I can keep getting this repeatedly. I have had such a severe dose this time!

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xxcaitlinrose said on 20 December 2011

I had shingles a few months ago when I was 16. My experience was pretty much the same as what Redden said on 26 May 2009, my pain itself also wasn't that bad unless I touched it or if it rubbed against a surface, and I just felt really weak and a bit down, rash is almost completely gone but I still have little white faded dots (not raised and their not a problem at all). Not a nice thing for anyone, at any age.

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MissPickle said on 07 December 2011

Posting my Shingles experience in hope this can help someone else to speedy diagnoses and recovery. Reading posts on this and other websites, experiences between people can be different and I was puzzled for 2-3 days over my mine until I researched it.

Day 1 and 2 - Localised short head pains/aches. Insect bite or cyst 'like' little lumps and bumps on middle forehead hairline which grew larger.
Day 3 - Right lymph gland swelling and general achiness, lethargy and washed out. One or two red lumps and bumps under right eyebrow.
Day 4 - More lumps and bumps in a patch on forehead, all lumps and bumps a bit sore, itchy, tingly. Still felt very peaky.
Went to the doc and got aciclovir
Day 5 - Stabbing, needling sensations all over affected areas. Some lumps and bumps starting to blister (but not all). Still felt peaky.
Day 6 - Meds started to kick in as lumps and bumps stopped getting worse and even started retracting. Sensations in head still occurring and gland still swollen. Felt better in my self.
Day 7 - Well and truly on the mend apart from some red blotches and itchiness.

I recommend anyone who feels like this go to the Doc and get the meds as soon as possible because it was good to get a diagnoses to put ones' mind at rest and like the gentlman below they really helped.

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Dodsworg said on 05 December 2011

I just wanted to add something 'positive'. Not to gloat, but when you first get something like shingles, all you appear to read is desperate stories which exacerbate the diagnosis. 40 year old male - I realized I had shingles (from this website) and got acyclovir within 72 hrs. This seems to have minimized the symptoms and bar a shocking 48 hours where I was permanently knackered with flu like feeling am, I think 10 days on, getting better - rash nearly gone and with a couple of paracetmol a day to get red of worst discomfort, hopefully not that far off normality. This hasnt been fun, but if you read this a few days in, it perhaps isnt always as horrific as some of the postings here

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me myself and I said on 16 October 2011

I am now experiencing my 5th occurence.I have not been diagnosed with shingles - i am being treated for a cold sore!!! prescribed aciclivor! The occurences are getting more frequent, in fact the last time I had an episode was only two weeks ago!! My rash is also on my right buttock. I have absoloutely no idea as to why this may be happening. It is helpful to know this I am not alone in this. What is everyone else being prescribed to combat this?

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Pavlova9 said on 06 October 2011

A week ago I went to my Dentist as I had clumps of blisters inside my mouth.He said I had a viral infection, and prescribed an antibiotic!(Not an anti viral). The pain and tingling was awful, and the blisters turned into revolting looking sores, and yesterday the left side of my face started swelling, with almost unbearable pain leading to my ear and side of head. I am tired out, cannot eat properly or sleep, and my left side of my top lip is so swollen with forming blisters, it looks like a botox in jection gone wrong! I had Shingles many years ago on my abdomen, but it was nowhere near as bad as in my mouth and on my face. I will not be going out at all, till the blisters and swelling have gone. I saw a Doctor today who prescribed Steroids, plus Aciclovir, which should have been prescribed within 72 hrs of the spots etc appearing. He hopes it will still work - so do I.This is so miserable. Most women panic if a single spot appears on their face. They ought to experience facial/oral shingles.Give me a spot any day.

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Annachadwick said on 20 September 2011

I went to my GP today and i have shiungles, i'm 14 years old and it's horrible! sharp pains in the whole affected area, fever, headaches, and its so horrible , i'm in so much pain! got them on my birthday aswell:(

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austina40 said on 05 September 2011

It has been reassuring to read others experiences with shingles. I am in the middle of an outbreak at present. This is the 4th time I have had it. It has shown up at the back of both my thighs. In the past I've had it round my waist and on my buttocks too! - twice. I agree with DMN that if you have a susceptability to it then every time your are under the weather out it comes!! One of the things I find hard to cope with apart from the obvious pain and headaches is the tearfulness - does anyone else feel like this? I too like other sufferers get fed up when people say you can't have it more than once and look doubtfully at you. Now through this site I realise I'm not alone and that in itself has made me feel better! So thank you to all my fellow 'shinglelites' for sharing your experiences and good luck against this pesky virus - each and every one of you! x

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wrecked said on 25 August 2011

I am now into my 5th week of suffering from shingles and I cannot see an end to this dreadful disease any time soon.I was misdiagnosed from the outset having visited a nurse,GP Hospital and back again.After 5 days of sheer agony in my groin area the pain travelled down my left leg and round my buttocks.I was then diagnosed.The rash has dried up but I am still very weak even after this amount of time.How long this will continue I have no idea but last night it was like I was right back at the beginning with the same pain (milder but enough to send me in a panic)I am almost 60 years old,have always had a bad diet due to stomach problems ie: PDU 20 odd years ago so my immune system is very low.I just want to get better but I feel as if I'm a little better one day and the next I am back to square on.When is this going to end?During the height of the virus I suffered from severe constipation (18 days)and this exacerbated the illness and my health to such a degree I contemplated committing suicide on a few occasions.I pray to God that this horrendous Virus disappears now as I'm at the end of my tether.I don't want to take any other medication for this recurring pain because I believe the constipation has set me back so much I cannot see the light at the end of a huge tunnel..I feel as though I am being buried alive.Depression has set in and every day is getting harder to get up!I wouldn't wish this terrible illness on my worst enemy.what a God awful disease.

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mich75 said on 24 May 2011

My mother in law is 80 and has never had chicken pox, my son has chicken pox and have been in contact with her , could she still get shingles seen she's never had the chicken pox virus?

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robyn21 said on 27 February 2011

i have had shingles 4 times in the past year. it comes out in the exact same place everytime. (right buttock)
i notice it after stressful periods and being run down and ill. i find it very itchy and it burns. i am only 21 and cannot understand why it keeps happening. can anyone help?

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DMN said on 12 May 2010

Oh one more thing I forgot to mention... I have an under-active thyroid (take thyroxine daily) and have vitaligo - both of which are auto-immune disorders. I don't know whether there's a link at all? But I imagine I'm more susceptible.

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DMN said on 12 May 2010

This is now my third attack of shingles in 14 months (6th time in total) and I'm only 32! I truly believe that once you've had it (much like if you suffer from cold-sores around your mouth when you're run down) that you're more susceptible to getting it again. I find it annoying when you read info on the web about it, saying how rare it is to have it more than once. But I don't think that's the case at all. I think it'll just keep rearing it's ugly blistered head each time you feel a little under the weather or have an emotional encounter!

I must admit I'm my own worst enemy at times and worry and wittle over the silliest of things. I can get quite anxious and have a very small appetite (all self perpetuating I know!) So I guess it's not surprising I suffer from Shingles.

So, like the lady in the video clip says, I think the only thing you can do is to keep your immune system in check and be happy!

I'm an exhausted mummy and make little time for myself. After this last bout I'm definately going to make sure that I eat better, make more time for myself, not get so stressed and perhaps take a vitamin supplement with Ginseng in it to boost my energy levels. I guess I'll just have to live with the little blisters! At least when I do get them, they're not so much painful but just incredibly itchy and more of a hindrance really. My other worry is that I'll pass the virus onto my son (19 months) who'll then get chicken pox and I'd hate to think I was responsible for him being poorly. But trying to look on the positive side, I guess it's better he gets it now as it'll be much milder than if he got it as an adult.

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Angelvoice said on 04 May 2010

My 5 year old son has shingles it would appear. At first I thought it was insect bites as the rash appeared like a small group of red raised bumps on his chest almost like slightly red goose bumps. As he had been playing on the school field that day I assumed an insect had got inside his shirt and bitten him.

I kept an eye on the rash over the following days. It did not spread but he was in tears at some points as it was itching and hurting so much. It then turned to flat scabs within about 5 days.

6 days after the first rash appeared he got a 2nd rash very close to the 1st appearing next to it on his chest. It was at this point I noticed 2 much smaller areas of rash on his back on the same side but slightly higher. It was at this point I called the doctors for an appointment.

2 days later we went to the GP's. She was unsure of the diagnosis and called another doctor in to look for a 2nd opinion. They both then came to the conclusion that it was shingles although they had some doubts because of his young age and the fact that the spots on his back were slightly higher on his body than the ones on his chest as they are normally in a band around the body as the same nerve is effected.

I had been sending him to school all this time as I had no idea that it was shingles.

He has not had any other symptoms apart from the ithcy painful rash which he still has after 12 days. I am now convinced that it definitely is Shingles as my 2 year old is very out of sorts today and appears to be developing a chicken pox rash.

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JaneHemm said on 15 March 2010

I was diagnosed with Ramsay Huny Syndrome which is Shingles of the ear/mouth/face May 2009, this is quite a nasty very painful illness. It affects your hearing and causes Bells Palsy, I am still recovering from this but making good progress. I have about 90% of my movement back in the side of face that was affected. You need early diagnosis for a quicker recovery and need to get the correct medication as soon as possible within 72 hours. I was very fortunate and was diagnosed early. There is a Ramsay Hunt Web Site with a very helpful forum which gives lots and lots of good advice and names a lot of the medication that is recommended. Also it advises that you see and ear nose and throat and eye specialist to monitor your hearing and your eye if this is affected. The specialists that I saw were fantastic and very sympathitic as was my GP as this kind of shingles can be very distressing and extremely painful. It also causes severe fatigue I was off work for 4 months and it is just a matter of rest, rest and more rest, and I have my fingers crossed that it does not re-appear!!!!!!

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dawn0478 said on 02 March 2010

I would love to know how many times overall the lady in the video has suffered from shingles. I am currently suffering from my 12th attack in less than 3 years! This is not something I want to learn to live with! My GP is not sure why I suffer so frequently and also she is not sure who to refer me onto. In the past I have taken acilorvir for long periods of time and still they keep coming back, even while I am taking the medication! Very fustrated and at the end of my tether, people look at me like I am some sort of freak when they discover how many times I have had it or even worse they assume I am lying which is even more fustrating.

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dawn0478 said on 02 March 2010

I would love to know how many times overall the lady in the video has suffered from shingles. I am currently suffering from my 12th attack in less than 3 years! This is not something I want to learn to live with! My GP is not sure why I suffer so frequently and also she is not sure who to refer me onto. In the past I have taken acilorvir for long periods of time and still they keep coming back, even while I am taking the medication! Very fustrated and at the end of my tether, people look at me like I am some sort of freak when they discover how many times I have had it or even worse they assume I am lying which is even more fustrating.

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bw59 said on 31 January 2010

I have had 4 outbreaks of shingles since July 09. The last 3 since beginning of Dec. Each outbreak is mild and in the same area (left buttock). The pain is mild and is causing discomfort, but is not debilitating. Am wondering why I am having recurrences. My immune system perhaps?

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littleva said on 12 January 2010

I have had Shingles three times to date. I have it on my face at the moment, but had it on my head many years ago. That was so painful, thought I had a brain tunour. Went to A&E & they said I had a migraine headache. When I went to my GP following morning, he diagnosed Shingles. It does occur when I have been ill & more so when I have had a stressful period. I guess keeping your immune system in check must be the answer.

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ega95jch said on 10 January 2010

My understanding is that shingles only occurs once for the vast majority of people. Joanne's video gives the misleading impression that shingles will necessarily reoccur and will need 'managing' and 'living with'.

Am I mistaken?

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lana92 said on 04 January 2010

is it normal to get shingles when you are about 14?

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elephants57 said on 17 December 2009

i have had shingles for two weeks now .its very sore and i cant sleep still have the rash i just wish it would go away so i can get back to the gym.what can i do to build my immunie system back up again

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Redden said on 26 May 2009

Last year i suffered from shingles and this was when I was 14. My GP told me that when you are younger, it is not as painful and you may recover from it quicker.
The pain itself wasn't that bad unless I touched it or if it rubbed against a surface. I wasn't physically sick, but I'm an active person and for the week I had shingles, I struggled to move and just felt weak. It's not a pleasant thing to get at any age.

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