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What does a mild shingles rash look like?

A:

Quick Answer

The shingles rash usually appears as a small band, strip or patch of red skin with blisters, states WebMD. The blisters contain a clear fluid, yet after three to four days, the fluid becomes cloudy. It is usually more painful than itchy.

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Full Answer

The shingles rash either occurs on the right or left side of the body but never both, reports WebMD. It can also occur on one side of the face or around the eye. In most cases, blisters scab over in five days, and the rash dissipates within two to four weeks.

Burning, itching, shooting pain and tingling can also precede the rash, reports MedlinePlus. Other symptoms of shingles include headache, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. Although WebMD reports that shingles usually occurs without a fever, MedlinePlus states that a fever is another possible symptom of the virus.

Shingles (herpes-zoster) is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), states MedlinePlus. After a chickenpox outbreak, the virus stays inactive in the body; however, when it reactivates, it causes shingles. Shingles usually affects people over 60, those who had chickenpox before age 1, and those with weakened immune systems.

A person with shingles can spread the virus to someone who has never had chickenpox if the two have direct contact, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this case, exposure causes a chickenpox outbreak.

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