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Open all pages about Shingles

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 rash starting, but not everyone needs it.

Taking paracetamol, wearing loose clothing and using a cool compress can help with symptoms of shingles.

A shingles rash can take up to 4 weeks to heal. Your skin may be painful for a few weeks after the rash has gone.

If you have shingles it's important to stay away from people who have not had chickenpox before or have not had the chickenpox vaccine.

Complications of shingles can include long-lasting pain, muscle weakness or eye problems. Shingles is not usually a risk if you are pregnant.

You can get shingles if you've had chickenpox in the past. The virus stays in the body and can be reactivated later, causing shingles.

You can reduce the risk of getting shingles by having the shingles vaccine. It's available on the NHS for some age groups.

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.

Page last reviewed: 23/11/2023
Next review due: 23/11/2026