3 Early Signs You've Contracted Shingles

May 7th 2016

Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox (VZV) reactivates later in life. According to the Center for Disease Control, about half of shingles patients are 60 or older. Those that have HIV, cancer, high levels of stress, or are organ transplant patients have a higher risk of developing shingles. Symptoms appear in stages, and the early stage is called the prodromal stage, which occurs right before the rash or as it appears. Learn what signs to watch for in order to catch the viral infection before it gets worse.

Sign 1: Sensory Symptoms

Pain, burning, numbness, and tingling are felt around the area of affected nerves several days or weeks prior to a rash. This discomfort will most likely occur on the chest or back, but may arise on the stomach, head, face, neck, or one limb. The sensation can be sharp, stabbing, and intense, with general hypersensitivity. These symptoms are most common and are directly related to the on-coming rash.

Sign 2: Flu-Like Symptoms

Adverse conditions similar to the flu often occur, such as a stomach ache, chills, and diarrhea. Fevers don't usually come along with these symptoms. A person will often experience signs of the flu right before or as a shingles rash appears.

Sign 3: Symptoms of the Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes may become swollen. This can occur in the neck or elsewhere, such as the leg. The sensation is tender, and the area is often hot to the touch and red.

Sign 4: Other Small Symptoms

More general symptoms include tiredness, aching muscles, nausea, and an overall unwell feeling. These issues normally come along with the more common symptoms previously mentioned.

The issues of the prodromal stages occur right before the active stage, when rashes appear on the skin. Although there is no cure for shingles, seeing a doctor during the early stage can reduce pain and prevent complications, since medication can be prescribed as soon as the diagnosis is made.

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