Shingles is a viral infection that shows up in almost one of every three people. Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. That’s because the virus that causes chickenpox stays in your body and can reactivate later in life to cause shingles. It’s most common in older adults. Unlike chickenpox, it is possible to get shingles more than once.

Shingles typically causes a painful skin rash on one side of the body or face. The rash forms blisters that often look like stripes. A typical case lasts between two and four weeks.

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What are symptoms of shingles?

The most common symptom is a painful rash on one side of the body or face. Others may include:

  • Pain or tingling before the rash develops
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fluid-filled blisters

Less common symptoms or complications can include:

  • Skin infections that develop from blisters
  • Pain that can last after the rash disappears
  • Scars from healed blisters
  • Shingles can affect the eye, causing painful inflammation

Is shingles contagious?

You can’t pass singles to someone else. However, if you have open blisters, you can pass the virus that causes shingles to someone who has never had chickenpox. That person could then develop chickenpox and would be at risk for shingles later in life.

How is shingles treated?

There’s no cure for shingles, but a healthcare provider can prescribe an antiviral medicine to help you heal faster. Cool compresses on your skin may provide some pain relief. Healthcare providers may also recommend medications to treat pain.

A shingles vaccine is recommended for anyone age 60 or older. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but it can greatly lower your chances of getting shingles in the future.

Shingles should be treated as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage. If you think you might have shingles, find your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic. Our clinics are open seven days a week for walk-in patients.

Our CareNow® urgent care clinics are open seven days a week and welcome walk-in patients. Or, try our Web Check-In® feature to avoid wait times from the comfort of your home.

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