Shingles is a skin rash that is often quite itchy and painful. It is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (the virus that causes chicken pox). Shingles most commonly occurs in people 50 years old or older, people who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly, or people who receive immunosuppressive drugs.
An outbreak typically starts with a tingling sensation in a focal area of the skin, and then a band of redness with small blisters develops within that area. The rash develops on only one side of the body, and within a fairly narrow strip of skin (called a dermatome). Shingles is also known as herpes zoster.
It is important to be evaluated as soon as possible if you think you have developed this condition (within 72 hours) so that appropriate treatment plan can be developed by a California Skin Institute provider. This is especially important if the rash is on your face.
If you are aged 60 or above, we recommend you discuss with your primary care physician the option of getting a vaccination to reduce your risk of developing shingles.