Herpes Zoster (Shingles): What You Should Know

What Are the Stages of Shingles?

What Are the Stages of Shingles
What Are the Stages of Shingles

There are four stages of shingles: the prodromal stage, the active stage, the healing stage, and the postherpetic neuralgia stage.

  1. Prodromal Stage: This initial stage of shingles can last for several days before the rash appears. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, and a tingling or burning sensation in the affected area.
  2. Acute Stage: This is the stage when the rash appears, and it is usually accompanied by severe pain. The rash consists of small blisters filled with fluid and appear in a band or strip on one side of the body. This stage usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks.
  3. Healing Stage: As the blisters begin to dry up and crust over, the pain and itching will gradually decrease. The crusts will eventually fall off, and the skin will start to heal. This stage can take several weeks to complete.
  4. Postherpetic Neuralgia Stage: In some cases, the pain can persist even after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia, and it can last for months or even years. This stage is more common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

Seeking prompt medical attention is necessary as early treatment can help reduce the severity and duration – and boost the recovery process.