Shingles is a skin infection caused by varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. This virus remains dormant in our system and usually becomes reactivate later in life and causes shingle outbreaks. Most people with the dormant virus are not likely to experience shingles outbreak or any other problems if they have already been exposed to chicken pox. But in some individuals, this virus may become reactivated.
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Here are some warning signs of shingles that indicate that the viral infection has been reactivated in your system.
1. Sensitivity to light
If you feel sudden sensitivity to bright light - be it sunshine or any other fluorescent light, it could be a sign that you can’t ignore. According to Larisa Geskin, MD associate professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, you may feel a mild migraine attack during this sudden light exposure.
2. Line of red bumps
If you notice a line of red bumps on certain parts of your body, it may be an early indication of shingles. These rashes begin with red bumps on your body and generally take a shape that’s medically termed as "dermatomal." Stress can also trigger shingles as it has a strong effect on the immune system.
3. Chest pain
Chest pain that feels quite itchy and painful to touch could be an early sign of shingles. You’ll feel a bit heavy in the chest area. You may feel you’re having a heart attack, but all chest pains are not actually associated with a heart attack.
Usually, a headache can be a reaction to certain allergies or stress, or onset of shingles. A shingles-onset headache is felt only on one side of the head. It may be felt around the eye, on the top of your head or the forehead.
While we easily ignore some minor pains, but pain in certain areas with no evidence of a rash can also be one of the common symptoms of shingles. There are a few patients who have shingles but no rashes appear on their body.
6. Pain around one eye
People who get a migraine may ignore it as another headache, but this could be one of the symptoms of shingles. A headache along with tingling in the eye and appearance of rashes on the body is a warning sign of shingles. If left untreated, it could cause blindness. So, you must see a doctor immediately.
7. Sharp, stabbing pain
A sharp stabbing pain that feels like burning or needles pricking your body is another sign of shingles. This type of pain usually occurs in the chest and upper or lower back.
8. Painful blisters
You’re likely to mistake some blisters as spider bites but painful blisters could be a sign of shingles. You need immediate medical attention as the medication to treat shingles works best if it’s started within three days of the rash.
9. Skin irritation on one side of the body
Shingles irritation is only on one side of the body. This is one prominent sign of shingles and is termed as herpes zoster. This irritation never crosses the midline, however, rashes may appear on different parts of your body.
10. Flu-like feeling
If you’re feeling your flu is not curing even after getting the right treatment, it could be one of the symptoms of shingles. It feels like having the flu, with body aches, fatigue, and chills without a fever.
On noticing any of these symptoms, you immediately need to see your doctor and follow the prescribed medication.