Signs and Symptoms
The first symptoms of shingles vary widely from person to person and can resemble other sources of pain, including muscles strain or a heart attack, watch for:
1. Fever and headache.
2. Mysterious pain (sometimes pulsating or seemingly unbearable) and tingling, itching, or extreme sensitivity in an area of skin on only one side of the body or face.
3. A red, blistering rash. This rash may show up one to three days after the first symptoms; if confined to one side of the body, it almost always indicates shingles. In very rare cases, the rash may appear n both sides of the body.
4. Fluid-filled blisters that scab over, usually in two to three weeks.
5. Pain and sensitivity to touch that may last longer than the blisters.
What to do now
1. Call your doctor for advice when you notice the first symptoms of shingles. The earlier you take an antiviral medication, the better your chances of avoiding the pain that shingles can cause.
2. Use cool compresses or ice packs to dull the pain.
3. Take known pain relievers.
4. Relieve the itching with calamine lotion.
5. Ask your doctor about using over-the-counter capsaicin cream. Use it only after the blisters are completely healed.
6. Do not scratch; the blisters can become infected or leave scars.
When to call a doctor
1. If you develop symptoms of shingles.
2. If the pain becomes too great to bear.
3. If you have eye pain or a fluid-filled blister on your face; you may be at risk or getting herpes in your eye, which can lead to blindness.
4. If you have a fever over 101 degrees or swelling, redness, and pus; this can signal a generalized infection or a bacterial infection in the blisters.
How to prevent it
There is no known way to prevent shingles.