Shingles: The overall feeling not related to a rash warning you may have an infection

Eamonn Holmes says his shingles ‘spoiled’ son’s wedding photos

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Shingles is a reaction to the same virus as chickenpox. There are several signs which may indicate the condition. Though rash is one of the defining characteristics of shingles there is a general overall feeling you may experience warning of an infection.

According to the NHS, the first signs of shingles can be:

  • A tingling or painful feeling in an area of skin
  • A headache or feeling generally unwell.

Most cases of shingles cause severe pain and itching and can leave scars.

Fluid-filled blisters develop, break, and crust over during and a few weeks after an outbreak. 

You also may feel sick or fatigued, with a slight fever or headache.

This general feeling of being unwell can last from three to five weeks.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Rash
  • Vertigo
  • Buzzing in the ears
  • Rapid onset weakness
  • Double vision
  • Face droop
  • Confusion.

The NHS added: “You cannot spread shingles to others. But people who have not had chickenpox before could catch chickenpox from you. This is because shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus.”

A shingles vaccine is available on the NHS for people in their 70s. It helps reduce your risk of getting shingles.

In 2013, there were about 50,000 cases of shingles in people above 70 in England and Wales, and about 50 of these cases resulted in death.

You can get shingles more than once, but this is very rare.

If your immune system is healthy, your chances of having shingles again in the first several years is lower than it is for people who have never had shingles.

Your chances of a second bout go up over time, but one study suggests within seven years the odds of getting shingles again are about five percent.

Your skin can be painful for weeks after the rash has gone, but it usually gets better over time.

If you get shingles after being vaccinated, the symptoms can be much milder.

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