ZocdocAnswersWhat do shingles look like?

Question

What do shingles look like?

I have what kind of look like chicken pox or blisters on my abdomen. From what I could find on the internet, it could be shingles. Is this what I have? How are shingles treated?

Answer

Shingle are a localized reactivation of the chicken pox virus. Once you have chicken pox, the virus never entirely leaves your system and, in times of stress or illness, the virus may reactivate causing shingles. Usually, the symptoms of shingles include a blistering, painful rash usually just affected a narrow defined strip of skin on one side of the body only. If the blisters you have are more diffuse or cross over to both sides of the body, then they are less likely to be shingles. There are, however, multiple other things that could cause blisters on the abdomen. First of all, this could be a contact allergy or reaction, called contact dermatitis. Common causes of contact dermatitis include new laundry detergents or personal care products, poisonous plants, or the metal in your belt buckle. Similarly, this could be eczema, which is a condition in which the skin becomes dried out, flaky, itchy, and red. Eczema can contain small blisters as well. I would suggest that, if the symptoms persist or do not improve, that you go to see your primary care doctor. They will be able to confirm a diagnosis for you and also suggest an appropriate treatment. Good luck!

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