The varicella virus, after remaining dormant for years in individuals who have been affected by chicken pox, can occasionally be triggered by a weakened immune system, stress or natural aging. This results in the presentation of a skin rash that looks like blisters in a limited area on the side of the face or the body. Indications of the onset include headaches, sensitivity to light, itching and a sensation similar to having a flu, but without a fever. If the rash spreads, or is accompanied by reduced mental clarity, complications may develop. Antivirals are used to treat the disease.
HOW IS SHINGLES DIAGNOSED?
Shingles are not contagious, but may cause chickenpox in an exposed person who hasn't had chickenpox and has not received the vaccination for it either.