Shingles start with itching, burning, tingling, or painful feelings in a band-like area. The skin rash appears 3 to 4 days after you notice these symptoms.
Early symptoms happen about 3 to 4 days before the rash. During this time, you may have:
- Muscle aches
- Anxiety, nervousness
Discomfort in the skin, usually on one side of the face, torso, trunk, back, or buttocks. You may feel:
- Shooting pain
- Electric shock
- Sharp pain
- Extreme sensitivity to even light touch
This period starts when you first notice a rash in the same area as the early symptoms:
- The rash begins as a reddish band or individual bumps in a line.
- The bumps get fluid-filled centers.
- Over the course of 7 to 10 days, the bumps dry and crust over.
- You may have pain and itching in the area of the rash; the pain may be severe.
- If the rash is on the side of your nose or other parts of your face, you should call your doctor right away. This can be a sign that your eye is affected.
The rash of active shingles should be gone within a week to a month. About 20% of people have pain after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. It can be severe and limit activities.
- Reviewer: James Cornell, MD
- Review Date: 05/2018 -