Skip to main content
Shingles

Shingles is a painful condition caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone can get it, but it's most common in older people.

The main symptom of shingles is a painful, blotchy rash on 1 side of your body. It mainly affects the skin, but can sometimes affect the eyes too.

Medicine from a doctor can help speed up your recovery from shingles if it's taken within 3 days of the symptoms starting, but not everyone needs it.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of shingles is a painful, blotchy rash on 1 side of your body. It mainly affects the skin, but can sometimes affect the eyes too.

Check if you have shingles

The first signs of shingles can be:

A rash will appear a few days later.

Usually you get shingles on your chest and tummy, but it can appear on your face, eyes and genitals.

A red, blotchy rash on 1 side of the chest.The shingles rash appears as red blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles.

Patches of red blisters oozing fluid.The blotches become itchy blisters that ooze fluid. A few days later, the blisters dry out and scab.

A red, blotchy rash in a band on 1 side of the body.The rash can form a cluster that only appears on 1 side of your body. The skin remains painful until after the rash has gone.

Red, swollen eyelid with a red rash on the surrounding skinShingles can also make your eye red and sore, affect your sight or hearing, or make it difficult to move 1 side of your face.

Read more on the NHS website.

Medicine from a doctor can help speed up your recovery from shingles if it's taken within 3 days of the symptoms starting, but not everyone needs it.

Self-care


Do

  • take paracetamol to ease pain
  • keep the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection
  • wear loose-fitting clothing
  • use a cool compress (a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or a wet cloth) a few times a day

Don't

  • do not let dressings or plasters stick to the rash
  • do not use antibiotic cream – this slows healing

Read more on the NHS website.