Skip to main content

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

What causes shingles, what are the symptoms, and how is it treated?

What causes shingles, what are the symptoms, and how is it treated?

Shingles From the Chicken Pox Virus

Shingles is a viral infection causing a painful rash that looks like a band of blisters that can appear in many places on your body. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at a higher risk for shingles because after you have had chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain.

In the United States, 9 out of 10 people have had chicken pox. Years later, it may reactivate in the form of shingles. While not life-threatening, the annual incidence worldwide is 80-90 million cases.

About 1 million people in the US get shingles every year, and a person may contract shingles more than once. Shingles is very contagious during the fluid-filled blister phase and spreads through direct contact. Once the blisters crust over, you are no longer contagious.

Rate of Shingles by Age Group

Typical Ages for Getting Shingles

Typical Ages for Getting Shingles

Shingles Overview

The first sign of shingles is usually a burning or tingling pain, or it may be numbness, itch or a burning discomfort in a particular area of the body or face which includes eyes, mouth and ears. It only appears on one side of the body. A rash will appear a few days later. Fluid filled blisters, similar to chicken pox, appear on one side of the body. It can be so painful that a gentle breeze or touch may hurt, but it is not life threatening.

Shingles can occur anywhere on the body, but the most typical site of the rash is a band on the back called a dermatome, which may spread from the back and can reach to the breast bone on the chest only on one side of the body or face. The rash can last up to 30 days, and the symptoms usually disappear when the rash dries up.

Signs and Symptoms

Other symptoms can include abdominal pain, chills, difficulty moving some facial muscles, drooping eyelid, fever and chills, general ill-feeling, genital lesions, headache, hearing loss, joint pain, loss of eye motion, swollen glands, taste problems, and vision problems. It is uncommon to have all these symptoms, but it shows the seriousness of shingles.

Typical signs and symptoms can include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • Rash is very sensitive to touch
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching

Some people also experience:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stomach upset

In addition, postherpetic neuralgia may occur. This is nerve pain that occurs after the initial phase. It is typically caused by a damaged peripheral nerve by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.

Shingles Virus Explained

Unusual Severe Cases

There are rare cases where shingles can be severe and cause critical illness, including pneumonia or encephalitis which, of course, requires hospitalization. Some people can develop a long-lasting pain condition called postherpetic neuralgia which is more common in the elderly. Again, early treatment for shingles helps prevent this complication. Shingles in or around the eye can cause vision loss.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Healthproadvice


The severity of the disease can be lessened if you receive treatment within 72 hours of the blisters forming, although there is no cure for shingles. Antiviral medications are typically prescribed, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Over-the-counter medications may ease the pain, such as tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.

Blisters should be covered until they are crusted over, and don’t scratch the blisters as they can become infected. The blisters break and form small ulcers that begin to dry and form crusts, which fall off in about 2-3 weeks.

In addition, postherpetic neuralgia may occur. This is nerve pain that occurs after the initial phase. It is typically caused by a damaged peripheral nerve by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.

Prognosis of Disease and Prevention Vaccine

The prognosis for healthy people who receive treatment quickly is good. The lesions heal, the pain subsides within 3-5 weeks, and the blisters usually don’t leave scars. However, shingles is more serious if you are immunosuppressed, for example, an HIV patient, someone on chemotherapy, someone on immunosuppressive drugs for autoimmune diseases and people who have received organ transplants.

A vaccine to prevent shingles, Zostavax, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2006, for use in people 60 years and older, who have had chicken pox. A second vaccine, Shingrix, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is a two-dose shot in the upper arm. The second dose should be given from 2-6 months after the first shot. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts, even if you received the first vaccine. It is 90% effective, and it remains at 85% for 4 years after receiving the vaccine.

The vaccine is recommended for anyone over age fifty, even if you have had shingles. People who have had chickenpox have about a 25% chance of developing shingles if they are not immunized.

Shingles Vaccine-Mayo Clinic


Shingles is a serious and painful disease, and if you weren’t familiar with it before, you know what signs to look for now. The reason for shingles is still unclear. Having a lowered immunity to infections as you age is a contributing factor.

If you start to experience the symptoms I described, certainly contact your doctor immediately for treatment to lessen the severity of the disease.

As you reach the age of 50, discuss the preventative vaccine with your doctor. It is not always covered by insurance. I made the decision based on my particular medical background, and I have had no side effects from the vaccine.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: How long can the pain last from singles?

Answer: Typically, the worst of the pain is over after 72 hours with treatment, but the pain can last for a week or more until the blisters crust over.

Question: I have Shingles. I have taken Valacyclovir & Methylprednisolone pills since July 29th, 2018, so is it safe to have intercourse next week?

Answer: If the open sores are scabbed over, it is safe to have any contact with others.

Question: I have had shingles for about 2 years, is there anything else I can take besides what I take for nerve pain? They are no longer blisters but still red and painful. They are mainly on my back.

Answer: I know sometime Carbamazepine or Gabapentin are sometimes given for nerve pain, although they are anticonvulsive drugs. I am not sure they are prescibed for Shingles. Ask your doctor what he can give you for that pain. I do think there may be some over the counter ointments or creams available, and the pharmacist can advise you on that.

Question: With a mild case of shingles, can I still go to a pool with chlorine in it?

Answer: If you still have the rash, you need to wait until it is healed over.

Question: Are shingles contagious?

Answer: Shingles are contagious until the blister phase of the rash is gone.

Question: I had a very bad case of shingles in May. The scars are still on my thigh. I got the new vaccine four days ago, and I am having a terrible reaction. I feel like the shingles are under my kneecap. Also, the pain is going down the same leg where the shingles were I also have PHN. Is the shot reacting against me? I also had Guillian Barre Syndrome, and had a bad reaction to the flu vaccine.

Answer: I am sorry you had extreme reactions to these injections. I have had them all without any problems, so I can only answer based on my knowledge. I think a doctor should be able to help you.

However, Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) may occur after having Shingles, and sometimes it will resolve on its own. It occurs most frequently in people over 60. I know it can be extremely painful. A doctor can prescribe pain medicines, anticonvulsants or anti-depressants.

I have compassion for you as I have persistent nerve pain following back surgery, and there is a large nerve that travels down the leg. I have a lot of pain in my knee also. I have seen a pain management doctor, and I had an injection in my back, which contained some type of cortisone. It was an uncomfortable injection, but within 24 hours I started experiencing some relief. I don't know if this is the answer for you. I hope ultimately that having had the shingles vaccine will prevent further outbreaks of this awful disease.

I hope I have given you good information, but a doctor should be able to tell you more.

Question: When do shingles stop being contagious?

Answer: I believe you are not contagious once the blister phase is gone.

Question: I have fibromalgia and I was wondering if this will make the shingles I was resently diagnosed with worse?

Answer: I am not a doctor, so I can only give you what I have researched. If you had chicken pox as a child, shingles can be worse. Your immune system is compromised with either disease, so it may be worse for you. I hope not, but early treatment for shingles should help.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 08, 2020:

Hi Nell, It is good to know a bit about shingles as they are so painful and fairly common. I appreciate your comments.

Nell Rose from England on January 08, 2020:

This is interesting as I never really knew what it looked like and what to look out for before, so great information, thanks

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 06, 2020:

Hi MG Singh, I am glad you found this article informtive. I appreciate your comments.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on January 05, 2020:

Very knowledgeable article. You have a wealth of information to educate people like me. Thank you

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 13, 2019:

Hi Cynthia, Some diseases are more difficult to diagnoses, but I am sure mistakes are made sometimes.

I believe impetigo is easier to treat than shingles, and it is much more common in children. I imagine working in a daycare center puts you at risk for many different diseases.

I hope your friend with shingles recovers quickly as it such a painful disease, which is why I got the shingles vaccine. Thank you for sharing this article and for your comments.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 12, 2019:

Just on facebook with a friend who has shingles and forwarded this article to her since you write in a simple, clear way that is easy to get through without a lot of scientific diversions. A young woman I know also thought she had shingles and went to Emergency to discover that she has "impetigo" (she works in a child care centre). Sometimes I wonder if there are wrong/different diagnoses being made since we live in a fairly small community.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 12, 2019:

Hi Patricia, I am sure your father was in intense pain as this is such a painful disease. My heart goes out to those people also.

I appreciate your comments. I have missed you and was glad to read your new article yesterday. Thank you for the angels. God bless you.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 12, 2019:

My Daddy has shingles when I was about nine or ten. He was in bed for a while. For a man who was up before dawn every day and busy working around our place all day to be laid out I knew it was bad. My hearts go out to all who contract shingles Angels are headed your way this morning ps

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2018:

Hi Peg, I know this is so painful. The medications are a blessing. I hope your family got the injection to prevent a recurrance. Thanks for your comments.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 16, 2018:

Your explanation of the cause and symptoms of shingles was understandable and thorough. I recall when my mother and her sister came down with a bad case, how painful it was and how terrible they felt in general. Thankfully, there are medications to help.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2014:

Reddog, Thanks for sharing these alternative methods of curing this painful disease. We are all different and what works for one may not work for another. I apreciate all your methods and comments.

Reddog3 on September 25, 2014:

I am a generally fit & healthy 53y/o female suffering from my second bout of shingles in 2 months. I haven't found any of the alopathic medicines to be very helpful. As a matter of fact, the medicine I was prescribed for PHN shingles pain, Tramadol, actually inflamed my hiatal hernia & gave me severe gastritis. So beware! What I have found helpful are a few more natural remedies, ie. oatmeal/baking soda lukewarm baths followed by lavender essential oil on actual blisters which helps keep scarring minimal, licorice root (anti-inflammatory & anti-viral) can be drunk as a tea or taken in capsule form, and acupuncture sessions w/a skilled practitioner. I just felt I had to share and hope this helps someone else who is suffering. And I do mean suffering!

Good luck and good health.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 02, 2013:

Theater girl, I am sorry to hear your father suffered so much from this disease. There are treatments now, but some people have a more serious case than others. It is a sad fact that if you had chicken pox you do have a chance of getting this disease. I appreciate your comments and the share.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 02, 2013:

Linda, It is a strange but very painful disease. I think everyone needs to be informed about this disease. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 02, 2013:

Audry, Shingles is a very painful disease. I am glad there is one injection you can get that helps prevent the disease. Thanks for your comments.

Jennifer from New Jersey on December 01, 2013:

My dad had shingles in 1990when he was 41 Not only was the illness painful for him, it seemed to set off a subsequent series of health issues that culminated in his diagnosis of MS in 1995. There are some theories that suggest that the shingles/chicken pox virus is related to MS. I am not a doctor, but I do know that as a child, my dad had chicken pox twice and had shingles. Interesting article. Thank you for sharing!

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on December 01, 2013:

Thanks Pam for an incredibly informative hub on shingles. I remember when David Letterman talked about getting them. He said it was the most painful thing he ever went through. It's strange to think this virus is sitting in any of us that have had chicken pox.

Audrey Howitt from California on December 01, 2013:

What an informative hub! This just sounds awful though!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 30, 2013:

Jackie, I got the vaccine as I think it is worth trying to prevent this painful disease when you have had chicken pox. Thanks for your comments.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 29, 2013:

They have a vaccine...I did not know that, glad I read this, something to think about. Great article. ^

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 25, 2013:

DDE, It is a painful disease. Thanks so much for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 25, 2013:

Shingles -A Serious, Painful, Viral Disease the photo says it all. A well approached hub on this topic. Shingles sounds a painful experience. I knew of someone who had shingles but did not hear see much of her or hear much of shingle until reading this hub. Interesting, informative, and useful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 11, 2013:

elayne, I have had friends that had shingles and they always talk about how painful it is. I know a lady that had it for a whole year, but I do not think that is typical. It sounds like you are on the right medicine and you definitely need that pain med. Thanks for sharing your experience and I wish you a speedy recovery,

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on September 10, 2013:

I was just diagnosed with shingles last week. I had been having pain in my right shoulder and itching under my arm and right breast before the rash came. I thought it was flea bites, but then it started erupting in a line from my mid backbone all the way under my arm and over my right breast to my breastbone. Believe me, it is painful. I wish I had had the vaccine, but my doctor put me on Valacyclovif and hydroco/apap to help. The itching is the worst and the rash bubbling and spreading. Hopefully it will recede soon. Two of my daughter in laws have had it while they were younger than 60. Certainly not a predictable disease and quite painful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 19, 2013:

denden, This virus stays formant in most people. It is usually older people who get shingles, and there is a vaccine you can get when you are 60 years old. The disease is painful, but it does not kill you. I hope I answered your questions. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 19, 2013:

pinto, I am glad you found this hub helpful and I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 19, 2013:

Mary, I took the vaccine also, as I have know people that have really suffered from this disease. I hope we are both safe from this disease. Thanks for your comments.

denden mangubat from liloan, cebu, philippines on July 19, 2013:

what! the chicken pox virus will stay with us.we work,play bringing with us that dormant virus at our back.why don't they die?.

Subhas from New Delhi, India on July 18, 2013:

Hi Pamela! You have written a thorough guide to this dreaded disease. Very enriching and very helpful.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 18, 2013:

I've had several friends who have had Shingles and they told me the pain was unbearable. I have taken the Shingles vaccine, and I sure hope I never get this horrible disease.

Great info here, voted UP and shared.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 18, 2013:

Careermommy, I am glad you learned some things about this disease, as it is very painful. I agree - God bless those that suffer. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 18, 2013:

midget, This disease occurs because of having chicken pox as children. I have talked with people about the awful pain and sometimes it takes a long time to subside. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on July 17, 2013:

I've often wondered what shingles was. This was a very educational and thorough hub. God bless the people who have to endure this disease.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 17, 2013:

My grand dad suffered from this. It was extremely painful, and not to mention he'd had chicken pox as a child too. I guess the virus mutated. Thanks for sharing, and I am passing this on for those who require more information about the disease.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 10, 2013:

Chris, Many insurances pay for the vaccine now also as it is about $100. Thanks for your comments.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 09, 2013:

I've known people with this, and it's dreadfully uncomfortable... I'm happy to hear they've got a vaccine for it ! Great hub !!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 01, 2013:

georgiasky, Since I am not a doctor, I would encourage you to seek his opinion on this pain to rule out another problem since the pain is in your stomach with coughing. That does not sound like what I have read about shingles.

I know for some people, the shingles pain goes away fairly quickly and for others the pain can last for many months. The longer the shingles pain lasts, the less chance that it will resolve completely. I am sorry you are suffering from this problem and wish I had something more positive to share with you.

georgiasky3911 on January 01, 2013:

I am 64 yrs old and I came down with what I think was a mild case of shingles, I saw a few bumps on day one. I thought that I had been bitten by a spider on my right side, on day two the rash appeared and was moving towards my back. on day three I showed it to my son, and he said that what ever it was i needed to have my doctor take a look, so I went to the doctor and from his first glance, he said, " I can tell you one thing, that's not a spider bite, that's Shingles". I was given medication for the rash and pain. Three days later the pain was so acute, I had to be given a stronger pain med. Its a month later and I have very bad pain in my stomach when I cough, is this common? My back pain that was horrible, but has gone, but the stomach pain is lingering.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 24, 2012:

Moonlake, The shot is a good idea, especially when others in your family have had shingles. Thanks for your comments. Merry Christmas/

moonlake from America on December 23, 2012:

My aunt and my dad had shingles and I know how they suffered I have to get my shot after Christmas. Your hub remined me. Voted Up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2012:

Wendy, I am so sorry to hear you are having this problem and burns are so painful. Shingles are caused by a virus, so the Valtrex should help. Since the burn was minor, it should not have looked worse a couple of days later, plus the other symptoms are not normal for a burn. A short course of steroids may be the answer. The side effects of steroids usually only occur when you take them for more than 6 weeks. If this is shingles, it is treatable, but it is painful until then. Maybe he can also give you some pain pills or something to help you relax until you are better. Since he also took blood to test, it sounds like he is being thorough. I think this will pass and you will probably never have this happen to you again. I hope you are well soon. Let me know if you wouldn't mind. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Wiendy on December 11, 2012:

I burned my chest 11 days ago (today) with hot boiling water while cooking.. the burn was minor.. I put neosporin on it and bandaid to cover it up... the last couple of days the wound looks worst.. right on my chest :( .. It looks like a bad rash. I went to urgent care today and he says it looks like I may have shingles.. Im scared :( .. they took my blood to find out for sure and gave me valtrex and some ointment to put on it until i get the results back in a few days.. if it is shingles he said he wants to put me on steroids.. I hope all this stuff works.. my chest is very itchy and tingly/ painful.. i can't relax at all..

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 10, 2012:

Rolly, It is certainly a painful disease from what people have told me. Thanks for your comments and the hugs from Canada.

Hugs and blessings from FL

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on December 10, 2012:

Hi Pamela... in depth research and information is always helpful. I have never had this but I know a few who suffer with it and I sympathize with them as I have seen the pain they suffer.

Hugs and Blessings from Canada

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 23, 2012:

Millionaire Tips, You can always get some soreness at the injection site with most any injection. I read where a runny nose or even a respiratory infection were possible side effects. I don't think side effects are too common. Thanks for your comments.

Shasta Matova from USA on September 23, 2012:

I saw the commercial on TV about it, but I didn't know much about it. Thank you for enlightening me. I know you didn't suffer any, but what are possible side effects of the vaccine?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 18, 2012:

smileyfacexo, Thank you for the information and your comments.

m from New Zealand on September 17, 2012:

That's very informative. It can be painful and dabbing organic apple cider vinegar can be used to ease the pain because it's an antiseptic.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 17, 2012:

Peggy, My insurance did end up paying for my shingles injection in full. I was so glad. I know some people who suffer from this painful disease and I sure didn't want to take a chance. I appreciate your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2012:

Hi Pamela,

It is a shame that insurance does not pay more for the one time injection to ward off getting shingles. My husband and I should both take that preventative measure. You have just reminded me and it will be put a bit higher up on our "to do" list. Up votes and sharing!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 13, 2012:

Eddy, This is an awful disease. I have the vaccine for shingles, which you can receive one time after the age of 55 I think. Thanks so much for your comments.

Eiddwen from Wales on September 13, 2012:

Thanks for this one which I am sure will benefit many. My daughter had shingles when she was around 12 or 13 years old.

It was quite nasty from what I remember but because she was younger it probably passed a little quicker than it would in an older person. thanks again for sharing.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 03, 2012:

editorsupremo, Shingles can hit at any age but is much more common in older adults and the vaccine is typically given after the age of 60 only once. Thanks for your comments.

editorsupremo from London, England on May 03, 2012:

A very well written hub that explains the nature of shingles in a way that one can understand. Well done. However, it does appear from the comments that shingles is no respector of persons and can hit you at any age.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 25, 2012:

skiball, I have a friend who has had shingles a couple of times and she said the same thing about the pain. I guess all the medical personnel definitely learned a lesson from your pain. I got the shingles vaccine just to try and avoid this painful disease. Thanks for your comments.

skiball on April 24, 2012:

I had shingles in my early 20's. While serving in the Military on a field problem in the early 1980's I felt pain in my chest. One morning I had my shirt off changing into a different uniform when a buddy made a comment about these ugly blisters. Being in the field, right away I thought some kind of bug or something got under my skin and laid its eggs. Don't ask where I got that idea but I did. I ended up at a MASH unit where after being looked at by many younger doctors this older Cnl. Saw it and actually got all of the young dr.s and nurses around me and gave them a class on shingles. Hmmm. I guess I made a great live training aid. I felt much better knowing it was not some parrisites eggs under my skin but boy was it painful. Just the sun hitting my T-Shirt felt like fire on my skin.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 19, 2012:

Vinsanity, Thank you so much for your comments.

Vinsanity100 from Michigan on April 18, 2012:

This a very good article pamela99. I am working on an article about chicken pox. Voted up!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 10, 2011:

Denise, I am sorry to hear that you have shingles as I know it's terribly painful. The drugs that I am most aware of are the ones I listed in the which are Acyclovir, Valcyclovir, or Famcyclovir. Gabapentin is also used to treat shingles and I don't know if it's more any more effective than the other drugs. I have a friend who get shingles occasionally and rest seems to help it resolve more quickly. I wish I had something better to suggest but unfortunately I don't. I sure hope it doesn't take any 3 to 5 weeks for you to get some relief.

Denise on June 10, 2011:

I just got diagnosed with Shingles. It started as severe back pain on the left 8 days ago. My Dr. thought it was a pinched nerve from a motorcyle accident 5wks ago. For 2 days now,I've been on Gabapentin and Naproxen every 12hrs. I can't sleep more than 20mins an hour, the pain is extremely burning and my stomach is swelled up bad. My anxiety and stress levels are gone. I am not gonna be able to feel this way for 3-5 weeks, ugghh! Is there anything that can help faster?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 03, 2011:

Joseph, Symptoms typically last about 2-3 weeks so I think your son is still recovering at a normal rate. I am not a doctor, so if you have concerns it never hurts to check with your doctor. This is a tough, painful disease and I wish him a speedy recovery

Joseph on May 03, 2011:

Hello, my son got the shingles over a week ago and his doctor put him on anti-virals. his rash and blisters are gone, but there is still a little swelling and a little pain at night. is this normal

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 16, 2011:

Christine, It has become a fairly common disease and it's very painful. The pitchers do seem a bit graphic but that is what shingles looks like. Thanks so much for your comments.

ChristineVianello from Philadelphia on February 16, 2011:

Wow! Those pictures gave me a horrible chill down my back. Very scary to think that there are alot of people that suffer from this.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 20, 2011:

Tarah, Yes, it can affect the face. That happened to my mother-in-law. Thanks for your comment.

Tarah_ on January 20, 2011:

Great description of how shingles can affect us. I’ve heard of shingles affecting the face but had not seen any photos until checking out this Hub. Thanks so much for putting them up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 16, 2010:

acaetnna, It is an awful disease due to the pain. I hope this hub helps her. Thanks for your comment.

acaetnna from Guildford on December 16, 2010:

I just checked this out because I have a friend who has just been diagnosed with this unpleasant disease. Excellent information, thank you and I shall encourage her to read this too.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 18, 2010:

Sherrylou, I appreciate your comment.

sherrylou57 from Riverside on October 17, 2010:

Thank you Pamela, for this great info!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 16, 2010:

brightforyou, I just got the vaccine about a month ago after having a friend who was sick for a month and had a terrible time. Thank your so much for your comments.

Helen Lewis from Florida on September 16, 2010:

Excellent hub pamela99, as someone who has had shingles this is a brilliant hub. It is important that people know there is a vaccine. I would definitely have the vaccine if I hadn't already had Singles. Well done for bringing attention to such a nasty and debilitating condition which now has a vaccine!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 12, 2010:

Lita, It sound like you have been through an awful time. I hope they don't come back again. I appreciate your comment.

Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on September 12, 2010:

I was infected with shingles the first time almost 2 years ago. It was the subject of my first ever written hub here at HP. Piercing, stabbing pain, I thought my right thigh would end up dead with the virus. The pain still recurs but is tolerable now. These ugly scars will be the reminder all my life. I will be more careful now that I have working knowledge of shingles. Thank you for this added information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 09, 2010:

Nancy, Everyone I've known that had shingle told be how painful they were. You should be okay. I got the one time injection about a month ago. Thanks for your comments.

nancy_30 from Georgia on September 09, 2010:

Thank you for sharing this very informative hub. I know a lady who had shingles on her head. She said it was very painful. I've never had chicken pox so maybe I'll be lucky and not get shingles.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 02, 2010:

Vi, It is sad for young people. Stress is certainly a factor. Thanks for your comment.

Vi on September 01, 2010:

Hi, thanks for the info! I'm 21 now, but I got shingles on the left side of my pelvic bone when I was 18, a freshman in college. Obviously it must have been the stress that got to me. I learned later that a friend of mine (same age as me) got shingles on her hand too! Sad that so many young people are getting it these days...

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 26, 2010:

Katiem, I hope this article will be useful to them. It seems to be that shingles have become more common or at least I know of more people that have suffered with them recently. Thanks for your comments.

Katie McMurray from Ohio on August 26, 2010:

Just learned one of my uncles has shingles and I'm forwarding this to him and his wife. Thanks you never know when such information will be very useful in your own world.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 06, 2010:

Springboard, I hope you won't experience it either. I never have but that's why I got the vaccine. It is good to know the symptoms as if you or a loved one had them you could get treatment faster. Thanks so much for your comments.

Springboard from Wisconsin on August 06, 2010:

Does NOT sound like a very fun experience. I've actually known two people that had it. Hopefully it is something I will never have to experience myself.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 04, 2010:

Expand your mind, I am glad the hub showed you how serious this disease can be and glad your going to the doctor. Thanks for your comments.

ExpandYourMind from Midwest USA on August 04, 2010:

Wow, very interesting. I know several people who have had shingles and I remember them describing how painful it was. I will be on the lookout for symptoms and run . . . not walk to the doc. Thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 04, 2010:

Hanna, Three months is awful. Maybe you can get the vaccine so if you don't get them again. Thanks for sharing.

HealthyHanna from Utah on August 04, 2010:

Great article. Shingles are truly a miserable disease. I know. I've had them. The pain lasted for 3 months.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

K9keystrokes, You're right about age and illness. Thank you so much for very nice comments.

India Arnold from Northern, California on August 03, 2010:

Nice job Pam. So often people forget that aging can become a device for illness. This hub is truly informative and important for all. I will be saring this read with some friends.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Sandy, Thank your for your comment.

Katiem, I am glad you are more fully informed since it seems like it is more common than I thought judging by the comments. Thanks for your comments.

Katie McMurray from Ohio on August 03, 2010:

It would seem I've taken much for granted about Shingles, I thought I knew what it was and yes had the basic understanding but Pamela as always you have revealed very detail information which brings much light to this subject. I appreciate how you research so deeply bringing the entire facts. Your great!

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on August 03, 2010:

This looks like a terrible disease to get. Thanks for the information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Chris, Thanks so much for you comments. i am amazed at how many people know someone that's had it or they have had it themselves. The research doesn't make it sound that common.

Hello, Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Prrster, That is quite a story with a wonderful outcome. What a miracle and it just shows that looking at other options besides traditional can really pay off. I will definitely consider the naturopath for some of my problems if I can find one in my area. I missed your comment at first probably when I was answering other comments but I am so glad you shared this story. Thanks so much.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 03, 2010:

Thank you for the good news and I wish her all the best and speedy recovery.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on August 03, 2010:

I never had it, but I've known plenty of folks who have.. some great info here!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Lorlie, Thanks so much for stopping by.

Vocalcoach, Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 02, 2010:

My Doctor vaccinated me. I know people who went through hell with this terrible condition. Great hub with good photos. Thanks

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on August 02, 2010:

What a well-written hub on such a painful subject! Really, this is very well researched and clued me in on information I was not yet aware of.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 02, 2010:

Jim, I had no problem with the vaccine either. I hope everyone else stays free of the disease I never expected this type of response from this hub. Thanks for your comment.

bayoulady, The comments really have been unexpected by me also. I wonder if they don't need to do some more research. I am really glad I got the vaccine now and I hope it works. Thanks for your comment.

Audry, I think the point it you had the chicken pox so you could get shingles, but when you are older you will probably do fine with the vaccine. I don't always do well with various medications or vaccine either but the only problem I had with this one was a sore arm for a couple of days. I wish you the best. Thanks for your comments.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 02, 2010:

I keep hoping and praying since I got CHICKENPOX when I was 30 years old that I will not get 'lucky' and also get shingles but I understand that the same virus can also cause that in us 'older' people. I can only say I thought I had it bad with chickenpox at 30 - I definitely don't want to try shingles on for size - but I know so many people who have had it - and multiple times! Great info....I might break down and go have the vaccine although it seems every time I get a vaccine, something goes wrong - go figure! What are the chances?

Related Articles