What are shingles?
Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash and oozing blisters. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster) and is also called herpes zoster. Early treatment of shingles can shorten the outbreak and reduce your risk of complications. Shingles is not life-threatening but it can be extremely painful. Most people get over shingles in about a month, unless complications develop. The most common complication is pain for months or years after the blisters heal. Vaccines can prevent it. If you’ve already had shingles, vaccines reduce your risk of another outbreak.
Varicella-zoster or herpes zoster should not be confused with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores. HSV-2 is the virus that causes genital herpes, a painful infection with sores in the genital area. Although they share the group name of herpes, they are separate viruses.