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Shingles (herpes zoster) causes pain and a blistered rash. The rash can appear anywhere on the body but will be on only one side of the body, the left or right. It will be in a band, a strip, or a small area. The pain can be very severe. Shingles can also cause tingling or itching in the area of the rash. The blisters scab over after a few days and heal in 2 to 4 weeks. Medicines can help you feel better and may help prevent more serious problems caused by shingles.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. When you have chickenpox, the virus gets into your nerve roots and stays there (becomes dormant) long after you get over the chickenpox. If the virus becomes active again, it can cause shingles.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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