For anyone who has experienced shingles, you know this condition is painful and highly uncomfortable. The worst symptoms tend to last approximately two to four weeks, however, in some cases, early warning signs develop before a painful rash develops.
If you believe you may be developing this virus, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. Following are five potential warning signs to reduce the severity of symptoms through early intervention.
5. A Headache
More than a sign of dehydration or exhaustion, shingles can cause headaches that are more like migraines in terms of severity. Some experience ‘ice pack headaches,’ which are sharp – often compared to a stabbing sensation. This is often due to pain, resulting from cranial nerves.
As these headaches persist, many experience a heightened sensitivity to light, resulting in potential vision issues. Regardless of other symptoms, if you experience migraine headaches, it’s important to discuss symptoms with your doctor. Blood work can be administered in order to help pinpoint the direct cause.
4. Burning, Tingling, and Itching
Although some areas are more commonly affected in comparison to others, shingles can affect many parts of the body. This is often the very first symptom, as sensitivity to pain increases. This dull sensation is what causes individuals to experience itching and burning.
Some will feel a dull tingling, however, others will experience sharp pain. It’s important to seek medical attention regardless of the affected area, but symptoms affecting your face require immediate medical attention. On average, once this dull pain begins, a rash will surface one to three days later.
Numbness is also a common warning sign, even though you may expect the opposite – as the shingles virus is known to be a painful condition. As this virus develops, inflammation occurs under the skin and your nervous system is affected. As the virus becomes activated, it travels down nerve fibers to your skin.
In many cases, sensory nerves swell and become damaged within a localized area. This is what results in numbness and the tingling and burning sensation that many experience. Some patients will develop a form of neuropathy after their rash subsides – better known as nerve damage. If you experience persistent pain or numbness, work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan to reverse the symptoms.
2. A High Temperature
When the shingles virus begins to develop and early symptoms surface, many experience a fever of 100 degrees F or higher. Alongside a fever, individuals typically experience chills before the rash appears on their skin. This leaves people feeling fatigued and worn out.
A fever is a good indication that your immune system is trying to battle an infection or virus. Your body naturally raises your temperature, because certain viruses and bacteria cannot live at higher temperatures. Once your temperature rises above 100.4 F, it is considered to be medically significant.
1. Flu-Like Symptoms
Many individuals experience an overall ‘unwell’ feeling, including symptoms such as nausea. In some cases, those affected believe that they’re developing the flu, however, when some of the other warning signs are experienced alongside these flu-like symptoms, singles may be developing.
Although nausea and an upset stomach are fairly common, you may also feel achy. Before a rash breaks out, some individuals experience a dull ache throughout their muscles. For elderly individuals, this pain can be serious enough to interfere with daily activities, forcing them to stay in bed.