Shingles is a painful, itchy and scarring skin condition resulting from reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (the chickenpox virus). Shingles most commonly occurs in people 50 years old or older, or people with otherwise weakened immune systems. Cases in younger individuals are unfortunately becoming more commonly seen.
An outbreak typically starts with a tingling sensation in a focal area of the skin limited to one half of the body. A band of redness with small blisters then develops within that area. The rash develops over a narrow strip of skin called a dermatome.
It is important to be evaluated as soon as possible if you think you have developed this condition (within 72 hours) so that appropriate treatment plan can be developed by a doctor. This is especially important if the rash occurs on your face, as shingles in this area can occasionally involve the eye and cause permanent visual damage.
If you are aged 60 or above, we recommend discussing vaccination to reduce your risk of developing shingles with your primary care doctor.
We are seeing teledermatology through the end of the month.