How Do You Recognize Shingles Symptoms?

Shingles symptoms generally begin as pain, numbness or burning on one side of the sufferer's body. Pain is sometimes intense before the rash or blisters appear, according to MedlinePlus. Healthcare providers usually diagnose the condition by looking at the skin without testing, although tests of the skin reveal the virus, and blood counts show elevated white cells.

Mayo Clinic reports that the rash usually takes several days to appear after the pain begins. The pain is severe, and sufferers sometimes mistake it for lung, heart or kidney problems. The rash usually appears as stripes that wrap around the patient's torso. The blisters that form usually crust over in a few days and flake away without leaving any scars. The rash sometimes appears on the sufferer's face. If it is near the eye, the patient should seek medical attention, as it can cause blindness.

WebMD recommends seeing a doctor any time an individual suspects an outbreak of shingles. It is a viral condition, and antiviral medications are available that help to reduce symptoms. For best relief, the patient should take these medications as early as possible in the outbreak. While the shingles outbreak does not respond to antibiotics, secondary infections are common. With a secondary infection, the patient requires antibiotics to stop the spread of the infection.