, also known as herpes zoster
, is a viral disease affecting nerves and surrounding skin. It is characterised by a painful rash, usually on one side of the body and most often on the trunk or torso, but it can also develop on the head and neck. Sometimes shingles can develop in the eye, causing severe pain and impacting vision.
Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chicken pox virus within your body. If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus never leaves the body but becomes dormant in the nerve cells.
About one in three people in the United States will develop shingles at some point. Experts recommend that people 60 and older receive a vaccine against shingles.
This animation explains what shingles is, what the symptoms are and where it can occur on your body. We also tell you when you should contact your family doctor and what kind of treatment options you have.