How to Identify Whether You Have Shingles
Shingles is a virus that many people have because it is part of the chickenpox virus. It lies dormant in most people but can suddenly activate at any time causing problems. The symptoms of shingles are not always clear in the beginning. Here is how to identify whether you have shingles.
Pain and Other Unpleasant Sensations
One of the defining symptoms of shingles is pain. Patches of your skin can start to hurt intensely. Many people find the sensation similar to burning. Others describe a sensation like needles being poked through the skin. The burning and pain could also be accompanied by periods of numbness.
You will develop a rash as the shingles virus takes hold. This is a red rash often containing raised areas on the inside. It can appear anywhere on your body. The majority of people, however, get the rash between the back and sides of the torso. It often wraps around under the arms.
Shingles can eventually cause the area where there is a rash to start blistering. The blisters can be numerous and fill the entire rash. Those blisters normally contain a large amount of fluid. They can burst over time and ooze the fluid onto your skin. The blisters can increase the pain of shingles.
Unusual Sensitivity to Skin Contact and Light
The shingles virus is closely tied to the nerves in your body. This means you could start to experience an unusual sensitivity to skin contact and light. Touching your skin can cause you to feel pain, tingling or discomfort. This might persist for some time. Similarly, your eyes could become sensitive to bright light. Even normal sunlight might cause you pain or lead to headaches.
Cold or Flu Symptoms
Your body will attempt to fight the shingles virus when it activates. This will cause you to have symptoms similar to a cold or flu. You will likely develop a fever. You can have nausea, headaches, cramping and diarrhea. It is important to seek medical attention if these symptoms persist for a long time or the fever keeps getting worse.
Most people who get shingles must deal with an unexplained itch. The itching can appear even before a rash forms. Your skin will start to itch frequently and sometimes severely. Scratching can cause pain. The itching often persists even during the blistering stage of shingles.
Tiredness and Fatigue
Your body is going to be working very hard to fight the shingles virus. This can ultimately lead to feelings of tiredness and fatigue. You might wake up with no energy and tire out quickly during your normal daily routine. The fatigue can grow worse the longer you have the virus active in your body.