Chickenpox is a difficult condition to endure at any age, but the virus that causes it, varicella zoster, has a nasty surprise in store for about ten percent of people who have gone through it: shingles. This condition occurs when the dormant virus re-emerges. Doctors still are uncertain as to what reasons lie behind this re-emergence, but when it comes back, it does so brutally, causing a rash that is painful and blistering.

Shingles strikes about one million people annually in the U.S. and can come in one or more episodes, although one breakout is the average. Low immune system functionality has the appearance of a key role in its occurrence. Some health conditions place their sufferers at a higher risk for shingles. Some vaccine options are available, and early treatment can be successful in saving patients with diagnosed shingles quite a bit of pain. Knowing the early signs is key.

The symptoms of shingles can come in the appearance of other conditions, so can be difficult to spot. Some resemble migraine headaches; others, the flu. Sensitivity to light is one that tends to accompany the former health issue. Headaches can also be a symptom; these are triggered by shingles to produce pain affecting just one of the head’s sides. This could be around the crown of the head, around a single eye, or near the forehead. As for resembling the flu, shingles sufferers often experience upset stomach, fever, chills, and aches, just as in that other uncomfortable condition.

Shingles can even make people first experiencing it think that they are having a heart attack. When the condition strikes the area of the chest, the pain can be burning or sharp. Sometimes the skin is sensitive, itching or being painful to even light touches. When it comes to shingles pain, the discomfort often arises before there is any faint sign of a first rash. For up to five days prior to the development of the rash, people with shingles can experience itching, pain, or tingling.

Shingles pain typically is found developing on just one side of the body, even when it occurs on the face, stomach, or back. Pain and the other symptoms of shingles are often indicators of other health problems or conditions. Consult a doctor for these signs.