Also called herpes zoster
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. After the chickenpox clears, the virus stays in the body. If the virus reactivates (wakes up), the result is shingles — a painful, blistering rash.
Shingles is most common in older adults. A vaccine, which can prevent shingles, is available to people ages 50 and older. Dermatologists recommend this vaccine for everyone 50 and older.
If you get shingles, an anti-viral medicine can make symptoms milder and shorter. The medicine may even prevent long-lasting nerve pain. Anti-viral medicine is most effective when started within 3 days of seeing the rash.
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.