Shingles is definitely cause for concern. While only those who have had chickenpox can get shingles, the virus that causes this infection is highly contagious and can be spread to anyone that comes in contact with it.

Our AFC Urgent Care TN team provides further important information on shingles below, so read on!

What Exactly Is Shingles?

Shingles is an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not cause problems for many years; however, as you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles. If you aren’t sure whether you’re currently dealing with shingles, we’ve listed its most common signs and symptoms below.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Shingles

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching

How Serious Is Shingles?

Technically, shingles isn’t considered a dangerous health condition. Each year about 1 million new cases of shingles are reported in the United States, and most people recover and resume their normal activities once they’re no longer infectious.

However, it is true that particularly severe cases can lead to death. People with autoimmune conditions and people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk for shingles complications, which is why it’s important for older adults to get the shingles vaccine if they have had chickenpox in the past.

When to Call Your Doctor

  • The pain and rash occur near an eye. If left untreated, this infection can lead to permanent eye damage.
  • You’re 60 or older, because age significantly increases your risk of complications
  • You or someone in your family has a weakened immune system, due to cancer, medications or chronic illness
  • The rash is widespread and painful

Want to learn more about shingles? Reach out to any of our AFC Urgent Care TN centers!