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How to Know If You Have Shingles Blisters

Disclaimer:I am not a health professional. Please seek the advice of your health professional before you change your diet, exercise program, or make any other lifestyle change.

Herpes Zoster - Shingles

Herpes Simplex I - Fever Blisters

The Herpes Virus and the Immune System

The virus that causes Shingles is one of the Herpes viruses. Shingles is also known as Herpes Zoster. It is extremely contagious when the blisters are opened and until they scab over completely. According to, you are likely to get Shingles if:

  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have recently had surgery
  • You are over the age of 50
  • You are poorly nourished
  • You are overly stressed out
  • You have a serious or chronic disease (i.e. Cancer, HIV, etc)
  • You are taking medications or treatments to combat a serious or chronic disease (Radiation, Chemo Therapy, Inflixmab, or Etanercept).

The Chicken Pox virus is called Varicella, which is also a Herpes virus. Assuming the person who has Shingles is still contagious (see Signs and Symptoms of Shingles), those who have never had the Chicken Pox, and have not been vaccinated, will get the Chicken Pox, if exposed and infected. This group of people is at high risk for contracting Shingles sometime in the future. Those who have had the Chicken Pox Virus, if exposed and infected, are at a high risk of contracting Shingles also.

Herpes Simplex I virus causes fever blisters around the mouth and lower part of the face. It is contagious when contact is made with an open blister or sore.

Herpes Simplex II virus is a sexually transmitted virus that causes blisters on the human genitalia. It is also contagious when contact is made with an open blister or sore.


The Signs and Symptoms of Shingles

Herpes gets its name from the Greek word, herpein, which means “to creep”. All of the Herpes viruses have painful rashes and blisters. All of the Herpes viruses never leave your body. They lie dormant in nerve cells, usually at the base of the spine. They can reactivate at any time. Pain around the abdomen is a predecessor of the blisters that Shingles causes.

After the soreness starts, within a matter of days a rash will appear. The rash usually appears in clumps following along a line, or band, around one side of the torso. Since the nerve cells are affected, the virus usually follows one line of the nervous system. Occasionally, it will follow more than one. After the rash has developed, it will quickly turn into painful blisters. DO NOT pop the blisters. They will scab over on their own, and exposing the fluid inside will increase the risk of spreading.

Quite often, swollen lymph glands, fever, chills, and other flu like symptoms are present during an activation of the virus. The duration of infection usually lasts about 3 to 4 weeks. Once again, though, contagion is only likely when there is contact with open sores, or exposure to the fluid in the blisters. Be sure to recycle the sheets and towels used by the infected person frequently.

Hand washing is always a great habit to get into in daily life. If you are not the infected one, please be aware of possible Shingles exposure, and wash your hands often. If you are the infected person, please stay away from pregnant women, newborn babies, senior citizens, and those who have immune system deficiencies.

Treatment for Shingles

Since Shingles is a virus, there is no antibiotic that will cure it. Antibiotics only cure Bacterial Infections. This virus is incurable. The following are a list of medications (including the benefits) that your doctor may recommend, and possibly prescribe, to comfort you:

Antiviral Medication:

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Topical Treatment:

  • Calamine Lotion to relieve itching
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent secondary infections
  • Hydrocortisone or Lidocaine creams to relieve itching

Pain Medication:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) for pain and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain and fever
  • Narcotics like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Morphine for pain, and only in extreme cases

Additionally, use cool compresses for relief, and use baking soda or corn starch to help dry out the blisters.

Here’s hoping you or your loved one is feeling better soon, and as always, I certainly hope this was helpful.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan (


moonlake from America on February 02, 2013:

Just got my shingle vaccine on friday. My arm looks like it has a big red fried egg on it and it hurts. Good hub voted up.

Mmargie1966 (author) from Gainesville, GA on October 16, 2012:

Thank you for your information, infocity. This is really good to know.

Mmargie1966 (author) from Gainesville, GA on April 08, 2012:

Thanks for your input Cloverleaffarm! I appreciate you commenting.

Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on April 08, 2012:

And for those looking for a natural remedy, lemon balm oil or ointment heals herpes and shingles. The eugenol in lemon balm helps heal cold sores and shingles in 3-4 days. Much faster than OTC drugs.It's our biggest seller.

Voted up, useful.

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