What is shingles?
If you had chickenpox as a child, you will never contract it as an adult. But that doesn't mean you won't have to deal with shingles, which is caused by the highly contagious varicella-zoster virus, the same one responsible for chickenpox. Shingles, which affects an estimated one in five people, is a painful, blistering condition. It can show up at any time, but is especially alarming if it strikes during pregnancy. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is rare. And, for most women who develop shingles during pregnancy, the outlook is good.
What are early symptoms of shingles?
Early symptoms of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching, generally on one side of the body or face. For some people, the pain is severe. It may be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, and difficulty urinating. The pain and tingling are followed by a rash, which begins with reddish bumps, most often on the trunk. In a few days the bumps become fluid-filled blisters, which usually crust over and fall off after seven to 10 days.
How do you diagnose shingles?
Shingles is typically easy to diagnose. Your health care provider will suspect shingles if you have a rash on one side of the body, along with sharp, burning pain and a history of chickenpox.