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What is shingles

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. After you get chickenpox, the virus remains inactive (becomes dormant) in certain nerves in the body. Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in these nerves years later. If an adult or child has direct contact with the shingles rash on someone and has not had chickenpox as a child or a chickenpox vaccine, they can develop chickenpox, rather than shingles.

Impetigo versus shingles

Chicken pox and shingles are caused by the same virus. However, impetigo is bacterial and is completely unrelated. Impetigo is extremely contagious but harmless. Outbreaks usually occur on the face, under the arm-pits, and around the groin. Shingles occurs around the stomach whereas chicken-pox is spread all over the body.

Cold sores and localized shingles, following secondary bacterial infection, at times, resemble impetigo rashes.


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