Shingles is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox the first time you're infected. During chickenpox, the virus collects in the nerve cells in your spine and brain and stays there even after you recover. Usually it doesn't cause any symptoms again, but in some people, it reactivates and travels through nerve cells to your skin. This causes the symptoms of shingles, most commonly pain and a red rash with blisters that usually develops on one side of your torso. For some people, shingles may cause complications like nerve problems and skin infections.
- Q What percentage of shingles patients will develop complications?
- Q What is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)?
- Q What research is being done on shingles and shingles-related conditions?
- Q What is herpes zoster oticus?
- Q When should I call my doctor if I have shingles?
- Q Why is shingles so painful?