The shingles infection is caused by a virus called varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After an individual recovers from chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in their body, which can later be triggered, causing shingles.
For those who have never had chickenpox, coming into contact with someone who has fluid oozing from shingles blisters can cause chickenpox, not shingles. Although that individual could go on to develop shingles in later life.
Chickenpox symptoms, unlike shingles, appear as an itchy spotty rash anywhere on the body. The rash develops in three stages, but new spots can appear while others are becoming blisters or forming scabs.
In stage one, small spots appear. These spots can:
- Be anywhere on the body, including inside the mouth and around the genitals, which can be painful
- Spread or stay in a small area
- Be red, pink, darker or the same colour as surrounding skin, depending on your skin tone
- Be harder to see on brown and black skin.