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Some people who had chickenpox as children may develop shingles later in life. Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus in the body. The virus usually affects one of the large nerves that spread outward from the spine, causing pain and a rash that appears in a band around one side of the chest, abdomen, or face. The symptoms of shingles develop in a pattern.

First, there will be a tingling, burning, throbbing, or stabbing pain in the affected nerve. Pain is usually worse when shingles affects the face or scalp.

A rash, which develops into blisters, will appear two to three days after the pain begins. The blisters will dry up in a few days and will drop off in two to three weeks. About half of people over 60 who get shingles experience lingering pain (post-herpetic neuralgia) in the affected nerve for months or years. No one is sure what causes the chickenpox virus to become active again. Shingles may be more likely to develop when illness or medications have weakened a person's immune system, and it can recur.


If you have never had chickenpox, avoid exposure to people with shingles or chickenpox. 
A vaccine to prevent chickenpox is available. It may prevent shingles if you have never had chickenpox. However, it will not prevent shingles if you already have had chickenpox.

Home Treatment

Keep shingles blisters clean and dry to prevent infection. 
Reduce the pain caused by your clothing rubbing against the blisters by taping cotton gauze over the blistered area. 
Use aspirin or acetaminophen to control pain. 
Avoid contact with children, pregnant women, and adults who have never had chickenpox until the blisters have completely dried.

When to Call a Health Professional ?

If you suspect shingles, call your doctor immediately. He or she can prescribe drugs that can limit the pain and rash. 
If shingles blisters appear in or near the eye or on the tip of the nose or if facial pain develops. Your doctor can determine if the eyes are involved

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