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How does shingles affect the body?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.