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How Long Does a Shingles Rash Last?

By J.D. Wollf ; Updated July 27, 2017

A bright red rash of shingles is probably the best-known marker of shingles--other than the shooting pain it can make you feel. A shingles rash isn't forever, and taking good care of your skin while the rash is present can make you feel better and possibly reduce the risk of scarring.

Identification

Shingles is a viral infection that happens when the chicken pox virus, which can lie dormant in the body for years, reactivates.

Early Stages

The early symptoms of shingles include headaches, light sensitivity and flu-like aches. You may also feel itching, tingling, burning or shooting pain in an area of the body.

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Rash

After a few days of the above symptoms, a red rash appears where there was itching or tingling, usually on one side of the body. Blisters can form and crust over, although not everyone with shingles develops such a severe rash.

Length

A shingles rash can last anywhere from 1 to 14 days, although the blisters can take longer to heal.

Treatment

Shingles can't be cured, but antiviral medications and steroids can shorten its duration. Pain relievers, anti-itch creams, compresses and cool baths can ease rash itching and pain.

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